13 Must-Have Gifts for Writers + How YOU Can Earn the Friend of the Year Award

13 must have gifts for writers BLOG.png

I see you, friend. You’re scratching your head as you ponder about what you’re gifting those special writers in your life. You don’t want to get the usual notebook and pen (although, who can resist another cute notebook and pen?). 

That’s why I’m here. I’m bringing you 13 gift ideas that are sure to knock the socks off any writer and earn you that coveted Friend of the Year Award. 

#1 New books

What writer doesn’t like to read? That’s why you’re gonna score big when you present your friend with that book they haven’t made time to purchase yet. You know, the one they’ve been meaning to get for forever. Let me suggest, however, that you’ll walk away with the Friend of the Year Award by also gifting an awesome new read by some crazy talented indie authors, too. Grab the first book in Angela J. Ford’s Four World Series or Stephanie Bwabwa’s TheAwakening if you know your friend needs a little adventure in her life. Or if your friend needs a bit of inspiration or encouragement to continue writing and pursuing her dream, grab a copy of Alisha Nicole Robertson’s Living Over Existing.  

#2 Online E-Book Subscriptions

So, your friend is the type to simply buy whatever new reads she wants when she wants them, huh? That’s okay. You can still purchase a Kindle Unlimited subscription for her so she can choose whatever book tickles her fancy. She gets choices, and you get the satisfaction of knowing your friend will actually use your gift. 

#3 Monthly Book Box Subscription

You know your friend like the back of your hand. That’s why you’ve been searching for the latest good reads by writers of color. Of course, your friend will read any good book she can grab, but writers of color hold a special place in her heart. Since you’re working on that Friend of the Year Award, it’s time you pull out all the stops. Why not pay for a monthly lit box subscription that highlights writers of color? That’s exactly what My Lit Box provides to readers. Each month, readers receive a new book written by a writer of color, in addition to one or two writer-related items. How cool is that?

#4 Writing Prompt Book

Write Reflect Create Mock Up.png

Listen, your friend can only consume so much. You’ve got to encourage and nudge her to get to writing that new book already! What better way to do that than by gifting her a writing prompt book? Write. Reflect. Create. is a writing prompt book filled with 250 prompts for creative and introspective writers. There are 75 one-word prompts, 75 prompt phrases, 50 story starters, and 50 introspective questions. Your friend is bound to find the inspiration she needs to finally put some words on the page with this writing prompt book. 

#5 Mugs

just journal it pencil mug

If your friend is anything like the average writer, she’s gonna need a beverage to keep her going during her writing sessions. Don’t just buy her the coffee or tea, though. She deserves to drink in style. Why not order a stylish mug like these

 

#6 Music subscription

Now that your friend has some new books on the way and a stylish new mug, you’ve got to find a way to keep her spirits up as she’s writing. That’s where you come in. You can purchase a music subscription from Spotify or Tidal to help your friend create the perfect scene in her novel or short story. 

#7 Apparel

PUrchase your tee at www.permissiontowrite.com/shop. 

PUrchase your tee at www.permissiontowrite.com/shop. 

What can I say? Comfort has a way of bringing out the best creative juices. Whether it’s a pair of sweats or a tee, I’m sure your writer friend will be filled with glee when she sees her new writer-inspired apparel from you. Check out this tee inspired by the G.O.A.T.S. of the literary world. 


#8 Jewelry

There is a misconception that we writers only live for sweats (who can pass up comfort?). However, I will have you know that writers like to look nice, too. This means you should consider looking at some new jewelry, friend. The cool thing about ordering jewelry from places like the Keep Collective is that you can customize the items. Get creative and gift your friend a bracelet with a cute tagline from her blog or book. 

#9 Bookscents

Your writer friend is on the verge of releasing her book (yay!). Now’s your chance to show her how much you deserve the Friend of the Year Award. Why not pay for your friend to have a custom candle scent made in honor of her new book? Think about it. A custom candle scent. Who else can top that idea, huh? Head on over to Book Scents Candles and check out how you can help your friend create a memorable book launch experience with this unique gift. 

#10 Stock Photography Subscription

Writers who blog don’t always have time to scout the interwebs for images that align with their blog posts and brand. That’s where you come in. You can purchase a monthly stock photography subscription to help your writer friend use professional photos that make their brand pop. Many companies provide this kind of service. A few of my favorites are Create Her Stock and Ivory Mix

#11 Social Media Scheduler Subscription

Look, it takes a lot of work to run a blog or book launch campaign successfully. Writers want to maximize their promotion efforts, but the truth is, they can’t be everywhere simultaneously! Promoting is literally a full-time job. Here’s how you’re gonna save the day. You’re going to swoop in like the superhero you are and pay for a monthly social media scheduler subscription. Why? Because with social media schedulers like SmarterQueue, your friend will be able to spend more time doing what she loves: writing. SmarterQueue allows users to loop their content, which is AH-MAZING for us writers. Your friend won’t have to spend 10+ hours per week scheduling out her content anymore. This means you get to sport your Friend of the Year Award as you two sip a cup of hot chocolate--you know, with all that new free time she has.

#12 Graphic Design Program*

Believe it or not, many writers create their own social media graphics. It’s not always feasible to pay a designer for every single image you need for your blog, book, or social media accounts. That’s why writers like myself look for easy-to-use graphic design programs. Of course, you’ve got your Adobe products like InDesign and Photoshop that the pros use. However, you also have providers like Snappa and Canva that provide a platform for users to create professional-looking graphics and workbooks with less of a learning curve and a smaller monthly investment. Since you’re positioning yourself as the recipient of the Friend of the Year Award, go ahead and snag a class or online course to teach your friend the ins and outs of any of these graphic programs. You could also offer to pay for a monthly subscription for any of these programs, too. 

#13 Hire Professional Services

Here it is. The BIG Kahuna of all gifts. Gifting your writer friend professional services for her business will surely earn you that Friend of the Year Award. Check out which services your friend may need.

Book Outline Coach

Your friend loves writing and may even have her own blog. However, she’s not too sure how to move beyond blog writing and actually create a book. She’s got ideas for what she wants to write about, but she needs help organizing those ideas and structuring them into the coherent roadmap or outline she desperately needs. That’s where a Book Outline Coach comes into play. A Book Outline Coach will help your friend get the clarity, motivation, and encouragement she needs to finally write and publish that masterpiece she’s been sitting on for far too long. You don’t have to look too far for this kind of coach either. Check out my services here.

Editor

If your friend is writing a book, she’ll be in the market for an editor to professionally polish her masterpiece. There are different types of editors who appeal to different genres and editing needs. Here are some incredibly dope editors to meet your writer friend’s needs: R’Chelle Lynn, Tamika Sims of Ink Pen Diva, and Kendra Applewhite of Kym Writes. 

Business Coach

If your writer friend wants to move from personal writing to building her writing empire, she’s going to need some help from someone who knows how to do this. Take my friend, Alisha Nicole, for example. She’s helped me figure out how to transition from being a personal blogger to becoming a book outline coach for nonfiction writers, among other things. Trust me. I would not recommend someone I didn’t think could help your friend get her ducks in a row. Check out Alisha’s services here

Virtual Assistant

Listen, we hear so often how we (women, in particular) can do it all. I just want to say it’s important to have help when trying to meet our writing goals. We can certainly try to do it all, but we will not have the same level of effect as we would with help. Virtual assistants are like fairy godmothers who come along to take care of those tasks that take away from what we writers love doing the most: writing. Just like any other professional, each virtual assistant has strengths and limitations. Depending on what your writer friend’s needs, you’ll know what kind of virtual assistant you can hire to help her with building a social media presence or even marketing her upcoming book and services. There are lots of bomb dot com virtual assistants out there. You may even want to tell your friend what you’re planning on doing and have her shop around with you.

Now that you’ve read through this list, you can’t tell me you won’t earn that coveted Friend of the Year Award. You’ve got all the ideas you need. All you need to do now is make your selections and deliver those goodies to your writer friend!

*This article contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you should you decide to purchase; however, I will earn a small commission. 


Which gift(s) do you think you'd purchase for your friend or for yourself? Which items would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Writers Who Journal - part 2

writers who journal BLOG DENA (1).png

What did you want to be when you were a child? Oftentimes, those of us who wanted to be a writer met opposition from those we love. We were told to look for a more profitable career. We were told writing wasn't a calling, but instead, a hobby.

Today's guest, Dena Rodgers of Grace in the Crossroads of Life, has a similar story. In this interview, Dena takes us through her journey of writing to document ideas, cope with life, create public writing pieces, and reflect on events that transpired in her life. I especially love Dena's words of advice for writers who journal: be honest, be flamboyant, be fearless. We also talked about what writers can do if they fear being honest when journaling. 

Check out Dena's journey and advice on how to improve your life and writing through journaling in our interview below!

 

Want to stay in touch with Dena? Catch her on one of the social media platforms below as she talks about living life more abundantly and having more grace for ourselves and others.  

Featured writing piece referenced in our interview: The Gift of Grace 

Websitehttps://gracexroadslife.com/
Email: sweetd.ahc@gmail.com
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SweetD_AHC & https://twitter.com/gracexroadslife

 
Write Reflect Create Mock Up.png

If you're looking for additional writing prompts to spark your creativity for your next book, blog post, personal essay, or podcast series, be sure to also pre-order your copy of my second book, Write. Reflect. Create. These 250 prompts were designed especially with the creative and introspective writer in mind! 

 

Comment below with your biggest takeaway from our guest interview with Dena Rodgers! 

Writers Who Journal - part 1

writers who journal BLOG.png

When you hear the word “journaling”, you probably think of someone writing in their diary about their daily activities. While this is certainly one type of journaling, there are many more types, too.

Today’s guest, Jen Evangelista of Grace in Color, talks about how she infuses art into her journaling. Jen also shares how journaling helps her with memory-keeping and with studying God’s word. I especially love Jen's journaling approach to dealing with hurts and dark moments in life. 

Watch this incredible interview for a wealth of ideas to help you embrace your inner creative during your next journaling session. (Since my hubby wasn’t home, you may or may not get a peek at my youngest daughter towards the end!)
 

Want to stay in touch with Jen? Catch her on one of the social media platforms below. Also, be sure to check out her amazing FREE journaling challenges on her site!

Websitehttp://www.graceincolor.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/gracencolor/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/gracencolor/
Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/gracencolor/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/gracencolor

 

If you're looking for additional writing prompts to spark your creativity for your next book, blog post, personal essay, or podcast series, be sure to also pre-order your copy of my second book, Write. Reflect. Create. These 250 prompts were designed especially with the creative and introspective writer in mind! 

Write Reflect Create Mock Up.png

Comment below with your biggest takeaway from our guest interview with Jen Evangelista! 

What I Learned About Reaching Book Launch Goals

I've learned quite a bit about book launching since my first book baby was released in January 2016. Let's talk about the number one thing every author needs for a successful book launch.

When I was five or six years old, I spotted the coolest ad I had ever seen in the weekly newspaper. It was an ad for 8 Dr. Seuss classics plus an insanely adorable red book carrying case. Immediately, I did what every child does at that age: I begged my parents to buy the set for me. 

It felt as if an eternity went by but the day finally came. I was sitting on the bottom bunk of my caramel colored bunk bed set when my parents entered my room. My mom was carrying that coveted book carrying case and those soon-to-be life-changing books.  

Now that I am an adult, I still enjoy waiting impatiently for a new book to grace my mailbox. However, I’m not waiting for pretty, red carrying cases or a set of classic children’s books these days (although, who can resist a good Goosebumps or Nancy Drew book?). Instead, I’m waiting for copies of my own creation. 

For months, I have worked tirelessly to put together my latest creation, Write. Reflect. Create.: 250 Writing Prompts for the Creative and Introspective Writer. If you’ve been following my journey for a while, you’ll know that in October 2016 I started a writing prompt challenge called “Write. Reflect. Create.”

Eight or so women signed up to be part of the three-week writing challenge, and I was very pleased with the engagement. The most touching moment was when a participant expressed sadness at not being able to continue our challenge since the three weeks were done. I wasn’t expecting that response but it inspired me to create my next book. 

I’ve learned a lot since writing and self-publishing my first book baby, 11 Ways to Jumpstart Your Thinking. One of the major lessons I learned is that no author can reach her book launch goals without support. 

You may be wondering what “support” looks like.

Support doesn’t necessarily mean “purchase the author’s book” (although, we do want our readers to do so!). If you’ve ever wondered how you can garner support for your next book baby, I have a few ideas for you.

Create a Thunderclap campaign. 

I didn’t know about this when I self-published my first book but I’m glad I know about it now. A Thunderclap campaign is similar to a Kickstarter campaign although there isn’t any money involved. Instead of giving money, supporters give you permission to have an automated message post once to their Facebook timeline or Twitter feed on your book’s release date. You can check out my current Thunderclap here to get an idea of how to create your own.

The only catch, my friend, is that if you don’t have the number of supporters you wanted by your release date, the automated message won’t post to anyone’s social media platform. While you and I may be screaming about how beneficial our books are to the world, nothing beats having others scream it loud and proud for you. Once you set up your Thunderclap campaign, it’s time to think about other ways to garner support and meet your book launch goals. 

Host or attend someone else’s event. 

Selling books digitally is a great way to make passive income; however, authors can’t rely on the internet alone to make waves. Sometimes, you gotta host an event or agree to be part of someone else’s to reach your supporters. 

Think about the themes your book is centered around. If you can’t be part of someone’s event (as a vendor, speaker, etc.), consider hosting your own. As I mentioned earlier, no author can reach her goals without support. This means you may need to collaborate with a few author pals and host an event based on the theme of your choice.

Have a reading of each book and a Q & A segment. End your night with a few refreshments and a time for the event goers to purchase merchandise from each author. I’ve learned from experience that readers are more likely to purchase if they make a connection with you. What easier way to make that connection than through an in-person event?  If events aren’t your thing, there are other ways to garner support.

Create a book launch team.

I did not have a book launch team for my first book because, quite frankly, I was too afraid. I was afraid of asking others to pitch in and help me spread the word about something I created. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of a team. 

Can I just stop for a moment to tell you something? 

We will never be perfect. We will always have the opportunity to learn from our actions and find a better way to pull off our goals. Although I created a detailed written book launch plan for Write. Reflect. Create., I promise you, I haven’t been able to accomplish every single activity. Most of the items I haven’t accomplished are because I am realizing it’s quite difficult to do everything as a solopreneur who can’t quite hire out yet. For future projects, I will need to give myself more time to pull off a few more tasks. 

In the meantime, I can entrust my beloved book launch team to at least take care of some marketing efforts for me. 

What are some tasks a book launch team can accomplish?

Apart from backing your Thunderclap campaign (because you are doing one, right?), a book launch team can help distribute flyers. Yes, social media is important, and we should leverage its power; however, don’t underestimate good old fashioned flyers. 

If you know your audience, then your team can distribute the flyers to places around town where your readers frequent. If your book is for parents, see if your local library will allow you to post your flyer on their bulletin board. If your book is about fitness, have your launch team distribute flyers at local gym facilities or in sporting goods stores. 

Your book launch team can also help by spreading the word about your book release and launch party (you ARE having one, right?). Create shareable graphics with all the details about your upcoming book release and launch party. Make sure you create different sized graphics for each platform you choose to use. A Twitter graphic size is completely different than one for Facebook or Instagram. Trust me, the last thing you want is to have part of your graphic cutoff of Instagram because you went with one sized for Facebook! (Am I the only one who’s made that mistake?)

Another task your book launch team can handle is conducting a beta reading and providing critiques before you send your manuscript off to be professionally edited. That scene you thought would be a hit may actually cause confusion, and your team can let you know their thoughts. 

Your team can even write a review for you on Amazon or Goodreads on your release day. Sometimes, Amazon ratings can help authors land future gigs (ie. a speaking event, a book deal with a major publishing company). This is one reason many indie authors seek honest Amazon reviews. So, the next time you finish that amazing book, do your author friend a favor and write an honest review on Amazon. 

There aren’t any formulas for “the perfect book launch” because what works for one author may not work for you. However, you’ll never know what works for you and your readers until you give your launch all you’ve got. Write out your plan in detail and find the supporters you need to help you reach your book launch goals. 

If you're interested in helping me spread the word about Write. Reflect. Create., I have four different ways you can help:

book launch team EMBEDDED BLOG.png

Learn more about what you can expect to find in my upcoming writing prompt book here.


Have you published a book? What did you do to intentionally gain supporters/readers for your book baby? What worked well for you? What didn’t? Let us know in the comments below! (Remember, this is a no stone casting side of the Internet.)
 

3 Marketing Lessons Writers Can Learn from the Solar Eclipse

3 marketing lessons solar eclipse.png

21 August 2017 will forever be etched in my mind. I survived my first day of school as a school counselor (praise the Lord!). I also got to experience the epicness of the total eclipse. According to The State newspaper, my city alone welcomed visitors from at least 30+ states and 10 countries. This roughly two and a half minute event caused quite a stir in the United States, to say the least. 

20170821_133128.jpg

I didn’t want to maneuver through traffic with an extra almost million people in my town. So, my daughters and I enjoyed the festivities in the comfort of our backyard with our blankets and snacks. 

After this momentous occasion ended, I started thinking about what we writers can learn when building brand awareness and marketing. 

If there was any lesson to be learned from this event, it would be the reminder of how powerful marketing early is. I spoke with several people who said they had booked a hotel room or paid for a campsite at least one year in advance. Yeah, you read that right. ONE YEAR IN ADVANCE, people. 

Astronomy lovers aren’t the only ones who take advantage of marketing early though. The film industry has been doing a phenomenal job of letting viewers know about upcoming releases, too. It’s time we writers do the same. 

Even if you’re not ready to release an exact date, I don’t see anything wrong with saying “Coming Fall 2017”. In fact, that’s what I’ve been telling my readers about my upcoming writing prompt book. 

Marketing your book, workshop, and speaking engagements in advance gives readers the opportunity to get excited and it creates a buzz! This is exactly what every writerpreneur wants, right?

The solar eclipse also taught us about the power of promotional materials and supplemental items. None of us wanted to go blind looking into the sun. Fortunately for us, we could grab one of those nifty eclipse sunglasses. 

When’s the last time you thought of using a “stand out” promotional or supplemental item? You don’t have to break the bank, dear friends. Think about offering your readers something that aligns with your book or event’s theme. 

Publishing a book about money management? Why not offer an editable budget template? Maybe you’re writing a book about teens who get lost in the woods. Think outside the box and offer a unique candle scent to draw your readers in. The power of smell is nothing to sneeze at, friend. 

Have you ever walked by someone wearing the same cologne as your grandpa? Didn’t it take you back to the times he used to bounce you on his knees? Don’t underestimate the power of a good smell! If you need help with creating just the right scentsation, our friends at Book Scents Candle can help! (no affiliate, just passing along a great resource!)

What’s the use in having an event if you don’t have someone to share it with? Many families, friends, and co-workers got together to celebrate this festive occasion. Hundreds of thousands of pictures floated throughout the interwebs. Many of these pictures used eclipse-related hashtags.

As writers, we may not be able to host an event that captures millions of readers at one time (we can still keep our fingers crossed though!). Yet, we can host Cupcakes and Conversation events to spark some discussion about our latest release. We can create a hashtag for our book or event, too. Readers can share selfies with our products using our hashtag. 

Creating a community helps bring readers together, too. How cool would it be to have your readers share their excitement with fellow fans?

Unlike a total eclipse, every writer will not draw in a one million plus crowd to an event. That’s okay.

Writers can instead use the power of marketing early and creatively to build a community of raving readers who will bring life to the creations we’ve birthed. 


What other lessons do you think writerpreneurs can learn from a solar eclipse? Share your thoughts in the comments below!