Showing posts with label gift books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gift books. Show all posts

Hoping to Inspire You to Give Back to the Publishing Industry

Early Year Resolutions: 
Tis the Season for Supporting the Industry

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Aha! You may not not be aware of it, but it's resolution time!

It's resolution time so you don't miss an opportunity to support the book industry.

I love to give authors advice on setting goals for the New Year. Here’s the thing: I’ve done that and—in the doing of it—realize that no one author can help another set goals because each author and each title is so different. And I also realize that it's easier if we start thinking about how we can help now,
rather than on January 1st.

I gave authors a whole book of possible resolutions when I finished the second edition of TheFrugal Book Promoter. I got general and told authors to pick and choose their goals from the book. That they wouldn’t be able to do everything that is in it to help themselves and their industry--and that they shouldn’t. I mean the whole idea behind writing that book was to keep other authors from falling in the same potholes I did. I advised them to choose promotions based on their personalities, the titles of their books (different books call for different kinds of marketing campaigns!), and the health of their pocketbooks.

The same goes for your early resolutions. Each of us is different. Still, I’m tackling this subject because I do think there is one thing that almost every author could and should put on his or her resolution list. Are you ready?

Number one is: Buy books!

I often get e-mails from authors saying that their fellow authors don’t buy their books. And I do understand how that can happen. The longer we’ve been writing, the more author-friends we have and, at some point it’s impossible to support them all. Having said that, we as authors shouldn’t expect fellow authors to buy books that don’t interest them. Books they don’t have time for. Or books that aren’t published the way they want to read them (paperback or e-books, anyone?)  That’s why we promote rather than just depending on friends and relatives—which, after all, isn’t the biggest pool of buyers in the world.

Still, we authors should buy some books each year and I think we should set aside a budget for that. It’s about Zen. It’s about supporting the industry that we expect to support us. I even tell authors that they shouldn’t limit themselves to buying only my book on, say, editing or book proposals or wordtrippers or the marketing of books. Even authors who have read extensively on a particular subject may very well get new ideas from a book on a similar subject or be inspired by it.

But there are other ways to support our industry besides buying books we want to (or need to) read. Authors on strict budgets should find books make relatively inexpensive gifts for holiday giving, for hostess and thank you gifts, for birthdays, and even to give to business associates on appropriate occasions.

We all know that we tend to get lax with our resolutions. So, to make your “Buy Books” resolution work all year, go to your gift-giving list for last year and see how many people on that list could get the gift of reading in this year instead of something that will be promptly tossed in the Goodwill bin or re-gifted. Staple your gift list to your resolution list. And then make another resolution to read your resolutions and that attached list of gift-giving idea list at least once a month.

Heck, you could even give your own book to folks on that list. You are proud of it, aren’t you?
If every author gave books as gifts, I could see a bright, shiny year ahead. A year where agents take on more clients because more publishers are selling more books. And when that happens, just think! Books will be the gifts that keep giving. Books will be the gifts that give back!

Here's another, less expensive gift to the industry. Nominate a few helpful websites, blogs, and newsletters for a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites nod. I would love it if you'd include mine among them but there are many other great ones, too.

One of my favorites is Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound (Letting you know about it is sort of my holiday gift to you. It offers ideas from other industries that authors can easily apply to their own campaigns.) 

Here are Writer's Digest suggested categories for nominations, just to help you get your thinking cap on:

Agent Blogs
Writing Communities
Publishing Resources
Jobs and Markets
Creativity and Challenges
General Resources
Fun for Writers
This WritersontheMove blog

Send comments and nominations for next year’s list to with “101 Websites” in the subject line (deadline is Jan. 1, of each year. Learn more at

My is a 101 Best Website pick and Ithank readers who support the industry for that. If you read or just love to pile sweet-smelling books on the stand near your bed, a nomination like this is one of the best gifts you can give.  Second only to reviewing a book you love or think will help others on Amazon.

Please let me know if you buy books, nominate literary websites for awards, or pass along books you love via reviews. I would like to thank you and mention your favorites in my newsletter.  It's part of the marketing fun, part of helping one another, part of the way to keep our marketing efforts rolling along. Part of our industry-aiding resolution putsch.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books, a series for writers and a series for retailers. Learn more about them at You can subscribe to her #SharingwithWriters newsletter in the
window at the top right of nearly every page on the website.

And yes, she does give books for gifts. She often gives her how-to books to clients. She gives her poetry chapbooks on most any occasion, from Christmas to Valentine’s to Mother’s Day. And, she does buy others’ books for her own shelves or Kindle reader but only when she actually yearns to read them or needs to read them.

Writing Themed Gift Books

It’s that time of year again when people struggle to find just the right gift. This is especially so in tough economic times when people can't afford big lavish presents. Beautiful holiday themed gift books are always welcome gifts, especially when you match the gift to the recipient. So as authors, this is a ready market and one that you can fill with your own personal talents.

You could, for example, write a children’s book, a novel, or a nonfiction book of essays built around a holiday theme. Or, as Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have done, you could create an attractive poetry book. What Carolyn and I have done is to keep our books to greeting card size and greeting card price, so that people are encouraged to purchase the book to tuck into a stocking or give with a box of Godiva chocolates or a bouquet of flowers. This way the books fit all budgets and provide a beautiful gift that can be customised for any recipient. We even offer Blooming Red (our Christmas themed book) in quantities of 25 or more, just like cards, at a 40% discount. The cover by Vicki Thomas is certainly pretty enough for a card--or a basket.  

You can find more information on the many holiday themed booklets that we've created on Amazon or on at Carolyn’s Web site at Many of the books have won or been shortlisted for awards and have not only been fun to create, but have proved to be very popular promotional tools for us, some even hitting #1 on Amazon.  Although writing a book is never easy, building a book around a holiday theme is a great way to create work that is easy to promote and will meet a market niche. Why not drop by Carolyn's site, which is full of samples, videos, ideas and freebies. Have a look at the many themed gift books we created, and of course, steal the idea and customise it to suit your own particular area of expertise.  You have my permission.  Of course if you’ve got hard-to-buy people on your list, you might even like to grab a copy or even a set to giveaway as cards.  Happy holidays! 

Poetry for Christmas (again)

Is it too early to start thinking of Christmas?  Not really if you want to send personalised greeting to family, friends and colleagues - now is the perfect time to begin planning your greetings.  Are poetry and Christmas at odds?  Of course not, especially if you avoid the syrupy cutesy cards you pay huge $ for and choose a beautiful book full of real, award winning poetry. Instead of a card that will end up as landfill, you'll give a gift and card in one that people will keep.  My co-author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have pulled together just such a book, and you can order them, with their beautiful full-color cover by prize wining water-colourist Vicki Thomas, for only $3 each.  That's less than the cost of a card (only $75 for 25 of the most memorable holiday greetings you've ever sent to your family, friends, and colleagues), and will make a significantly more powerful impression, especially if you write a personal note inside.  The book was a USA Book News finliast and a Military Writers Society of America Silver Award Winner.  To order, just send an email to with HOLIDAY ORDER in the subject line, and Carolyn will make direct payment arrangements with you. Or you can drop by Amazon (click on book cover above) and buy the books individually for $6.95.  Here's a sample:

Silent Symphony

Though it’s calm in the dark room
where you sit on Christmas eve
reaching for familiarity

I’ll take you down
to that imperfect place
of tone and sound

beyond culture’s skin, language
hard wired clickity clack
auditory parasite

multiples of frequencies
simple-ratio harmonies or complex
carols of memory

down there
in the consonance of memory
walking the cobblestones of imagination

your black heart finds light
melodic intervals
of sensation more pervasive than chance

open your ears into the silence
 a symphony
vibrating  the universe of your illusory body.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

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