by Meredith Maslich
‘Tis the season for gift giving, which also means making lists of gifts to give, which, if you’re like me, means googling “gifts for…” and then scrolling through endless lists of things that are too expensive, too complicated, or too weird.
This is not another one of those lists. This list of gift ideas for the author in your life is very, very simple, and it fits all budgets and tastes.
Gifts for authors:
- AMAZON REVIEWS. It doesn’t have to be a magnum opus; the 20-word minimum that Amazon requires is sufficient. The point is to get the review up there. Reviews are like currency for authors. More reviews = a higher Amazon ranking. A higher Amazon ranking = more people who are exposed to the book. But possibly more important, many, MANY people make buying decisions based on reviews (sometimes just the number of reviews, without even reading most of them). Even if they aren’t buying from Amazon, most readers still go to the site to check out reviews before purchasing from another source. Unknown authors with less than 30 reviews barely even exist in the Amazon universe.
*Pro tip: If you did not buy the book you’re reviewing from Amazon, note where you got it in your review so it is more likely to get through Amazon’s filters. Say something like “I bought this book at a local bookstore” or “I received this book as a gift.” If you just say, “Great book. Enjoyed it. Author is a genius” without Amazon knowing you bought the book from its site, the review runs a high risk of being tossed. Amazon is obsessive about weeding out fake (paid) reviews, and legit reviews often suffer in the process.
- SOCIAL MEDIA LOVE. Talk about the book on your social media platform(s) of choice. Ideally, you’ll give it a personal endorsement or review and then post a link to buy the book. But at a bare minimum, a link to the book will do. You can also make a point of resharing what the author and publisher post on their social media sites. The name of the game is exposure to new audiences, so every like, favorite, reshare, or retweet is helpful.
- GIFT THE BOOK. If you want to support a favorite author or a writer you know personally, consider buying the book as a gift for a friend who might not otherwise discover it. (But obviously only if you think he or she will enjoy it.) Then encourage them to write a review/post on social media about the book.
The best thing about these gift ideas is that they are inexpensive or even free, so you can go crazy and give ALL OF THEM!
Happy Holidays from everyone at Possibilities Publishing!
Meredith Maslich is president and CEO of Possibilities Publishing Company. She is also on the faculty at Story District (formerly SpeakeasyDC), where she has been teaching the art of storytelling for more than eight years.