Today’s topic is gifts for writers, but we’re not talking about word processing software or fancy pens or Kindles or gift certificates to book stores or anything like that. The best gifts you can give a writer are the ones that don’t cost a damn thing. What I’m talking about here is two things most writers never get enough of – feedback and support.
Is there a writer out there who’s work you really enjoy? Send them an e-mail, or if you’re so inclined, an actual letter letting them know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a lousy day turn into a good one just by getting a message from someone saying they enjoyed something I wrote. Feedback means a hell of a lot, especially to those of us writers who are still working in the minor leagues, who don’t have the fame and fortune that go along with being a Stephen King or J. K. Rowling. To folks like us, the words “I really loved your book” are worth their weight in gold.
Do you personally know a writer? Then be prepared to give them your support. If they’ve got a book signing coming up, show up for it! And bring as many of your family and friends as possible. There’s nothing more abysmal than having a book signing and then no one shows up. Unless it’s writer’s block. If the writer in your life is having problems with a nasty case of writer’s block, sit and listen to them hash out their story lines. Even if nothing they say makes any sense to you, the act of talking about what they’re writing may help them get through that block. Hell, the Hubster usually has no idea what I’m babbling on about, but he always listens when I’m trying to figure out how to make a story work.
Other things you can do – recommend your favorite writers to other folks. Don’t pirate their books, but if you’ve got a copy of a book to loan or give away, then go ahead and do that. No, we don’t make any money that way, at least not at first. But maybe the person who reads that borrowed or second-hand book will then go out and buy the rest of our books, and bingo! We’ve got a little financial love coming our way.
Pass on links to blogs, retweet announcements, post honest reviews of a writer’s work. These are all things you can do for the writers you love, and they don’t cost you a thing. Heck, if you love me, send folks over to the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast, or get them to listen to the Good Parts podcast. Both are free for download, so your friends get no-cost entertainment, I get new listeners, and you get brownie points for spreading the love. Win all around!
Seriously, this holiday season, think about the writers you love and find a way to let them know. We’d all really, truly appreciate it 😉