As I started to write this article, I had a ton of ideas! Before I go too far, I want to qualify what I mean by the word “best” – I know all authors would love a their own private Island to write from or Han Solo’s original blaster from Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (anyone have 200-300k to buy this for me?), but I really wanted to:
- be somewhat practical
- Include something in everyone’s price range
- show some cool author things that will at least give you some ideas.
As with all my recommendations, don’t be afraid to look around, check ebay, and compare prices. The standard gifts for authors are Pens, notebooks/journals, and bags. These are always great gifts if you can’t think of anything else.
1. A good printer – During the editing stage, a good printer can be one of the best tools an author can have. If you’ve always edited directly on a computer, try printing out your book and editing it page by page – odds are you’ll never want to go back! You can get by on a basic ink jet printer, but I’d look for these things to make sure it’s easy.
- Inexpensive ink. I’ve had a printer that would burn a $25 ink cartridge every time we’d print a book to edit… OUCH!
- High pager per minute (ppm). The top-selling ink jet on Amazon right now prints 9 pager per minute… which means on the lowest quality setting it would take more than 30 minutes to print a 250 page book! Not a deal breaker, but a pain having to tend the printer while you’re trying to do other things.
- Higher capacity paper tray. Think about this: a 50 page paper tray means you might need to fill it up 5 or 6 times while printing a book…
True, none of these things are deal breakers, but for only $99 you can get something like the Brother HL-2270DW Laser Printer which is wireless, prints 27 pages per minute, has a 250 page paper tray. The starter toner cartridge is only 700 pages (hopefully a couple books :)) but a high capacity cartridge for 2600 pages is only $40.
2. Books for Writers – I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about On Writing by Stephen King, which is one of the best books about craft available. I also think it’s good for struggling authors to hear about how much King was struggling before he broke through… and along the way he gives some excellent advice on improving and becoming a better writer. I’d also suggest checking out Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
3. Pajamas, like these Adult Onesie Animal Pajamas from http://www.kigu.co.uk/adults-view-all-animal-onesies – OK, hear me out on this one. Every author I know loves to write in their pajamas. Think warm, comfortable pajamas to get you in the creative mood to write magically awesome things. They also have kids sizes if you have children and they demand one. Of course, regular pajamas are also an acceptable and awesome gift – just be sure to
4. Distraction avoidance software – Ever had that simple plan of writing a few pages and instead find yourself on the Facebook for 2 hours? Available for both the PC and the Mac, Freedom ($10 https://macfreedom.com) lets you block Internet use for up to 8 hours at a time. If your problem is more about social networks, Anti-social ($15 http://anti-social.cc/) lets you disable Twitter and Facebook so you can get some good writing time in. Don’t worry, you can turn the Internet back on if you need to 🙂 but when you do want to turn it on, you’ll know you’re there to work.
5. Wearables and Coffee Cups – Every year it seems like there is a new “funny” quote about being an author. Luckily, sites like cafepress group them in one place: http://www.cafepress.com/+writers+gifts. You can find shirts, coffee cups, bags, stickers, jewelry, posters and much more with quotes like “Oh, this is SO going in my next Novel” and “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.”
6. Charm Bracelet – I think it’s a good idea for authors to commemorate completing a book or hitting a major milestone. They have charms for EVERYTHING. If your main character wears sunglasses – get a Sunglass Charm
. street fighter? Knife Charms , love Pizza? 183 choices of Pizza Charms. Most are in the $5 to $10 range. If you want an even nicer gift, you can actually order mostly everything in gold, silver and platinum at your local jewelry store. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for – don’t be afraid to check out etsy.
Yes, most writers are also readers as well 🙂 These tend to be awesome choices if you’re not sure:
7. Super sweet book cover notecard set. There is one incredible website you must learn: http://outofprintclothing.com that includes book cover t-shirts, iPhone cases, bags, and jewelry. This notecard set is my favorite and includes covers of books I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Great Gatsby and Moby Dick. At $12.50, Pretty cool deal: http://shop.outofprintclothing.com/Notecard_Set_p/z-cardset-1001.htm
8. A new e-reader. I know everyone probably already has one of these, but I’m pretty blown away at the sales this holiday Season. As of this writing, a Kindle Fire is only $135! – A basic Kindle for $56! These are holiday sales, so I’d expect that by the time some of you read this – Amazon will be on to something else. I’d keep an eye open and I think you’ll be able to find some great prices for these this holiday season.
9. Bookends. Bookends are very personal, so you’ll need to think about the personality of your reader and pick a style/design that you know they’ll love. They have changed so much from when I was a kid to being very stylish, interesting ways to keep your books from falling over. For example: Star Wars AT-AT Bookends ($200-ouch, but very cool), Wide Eyed Owl Bookends ($30) , A guy getting crushed by a book (The End Bookend) ($15), and many more – look around and I’m sure you’ll find ones that your author loves!
10. Box of the month. How cool is it to receive a pack of AWESOME every month? Pretty dang cool. For an author, it can be a box full of inspiration, stress relief, or just a reminder that it’s all going to be ok. Jess bought me LootCrate ($20/mo) and I bought her Nerdblock ($20/mo) – and we both get super excited when we get the email that says it shipped! Your author isn’t into geeky stuff? No worries, check out http://www.quarterly.co ($25 to $100 per shipment, often every “quarter”) that has boxes of every sort – from cooking to Vera Wang to Science, there is something for everyone (plus several contributors are big authors!).