As a writer of historical romances, and an amateur historian, I know that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, not the days before. The celebration of Twelfth Night occurs on January 6th, 12 days after Christmas, the day the Wise Men were said to have found the Christ Child and given him gifts. These were things every mother of a newborn Messiah wishes for, Pampers, teething rings, and onesies. But since that didn’t make for much of a story, someone changed it to gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Now we also like to include as many traditions and cultures as possible, because let’s face it, we are one planet and one people, and the more you know, the better future we have to give to our children.
So here are 12 awesome gifts for the writers on your gift list. If you are the writer on the gift list, hand this to your relatives with appropriate notations.
1. Writing Software. If you have this already, or your writer has it, just cross it off. No problem. However, if I were going to ask for something, I would want Scrivener. This software comes highly recommended by the folks who write whom I asked about writing software. What, you may ask, is writing software? It’s software designed to keep chapters in place and properly numbered, keep track of characters and what they look like, which chapters or scenes they appear in, and so on. Believe me, I’m working with an ordinary word processing program, and it’s a real pain to keep everything straight. Scrivener has a free trial download at Latte and Literature: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/ Other candidates for good software for writers are reviewed here: http://creative-writing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ Writeway was mentioned to me as also good.
2. Pay for a year’s membership in Romance Writers of America, or a year’s premium membership on Scribophile. RWA has National (http://www.rwa.org/) and then you find the local chapter. You don’t have to join a local one, but it is the best way to network. Scribophile will help a writer network, too, and gives you both a place to learn how to critique and also get your work critiqued. You have to put in a little time to get to know the critiquers, because some just want to play nice, but a few will really dig in and tell you what’s what and what’s wrong. I try to do this in a humorous way so that the writers don’t feel critiqued, but learn something about their work. http://www.scribophile.com/
3. Books on the craft often come in handy, especially if they are inspirational. Here are some recommendations, by no means a complete list. Judy Reeves was a speaker recently at RWA-SD. I like her Book of Days for Writers, as well as the Daily Appointment Calendar for Writers. Here’s the link to her page:
Barbara Ueland’s If You Want to Write:
Ann Lamont’s Bird by Bird:
The Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman:
Finally, Around the Writers’ Block by Roseanne Bane.
4. No matter how long one has been writing, even published authors, there is always something new to learn. Since writing good books isn’t a matter of publishing the same story over and over with different names, writers need to evolve. On-line classes are great sources of new information and inspiration. If you or your writer are members of RWA, there you will find a wide vista of classes offered. Another good place to find the training you seek is Writer Univ. (http://www.writeruniv.com/)
5. Most of the suggestions I have will take some financial outlay. Here’s one that will only take some of your time. Be available to read. You might be needed to look over a rough draft, be an editor, or a beta reader. Most writers like to have people they know and trust as beta readers, so if you fit that description for your writer, make up a certificate on your computer entitling Name of Future Famous Author to X number of hours of your time as a reader. Okay, so it does cost a little for the ink and paper.
6. Now we are going to be talking multiple hundreds of dollars to get much needed services. Not all writers need this, not all writers are ready for this, but again, a promissory note saying you will shell out X number of dollars when the time comes would be an awesome idea. I am talking about the services of a professional editor. Cathy Wilson has one of the best web sites I’ve seen for editors. She gives some awesome advice and perspective on writing and publishing. (rockyourwriting.com) I took an on-line class in self-publishing, and here is the huge list of editors recommended by the instructor, Karen Ritter:
Jim Thomsen: Thomsen1965@gmail.com He is very good, but his rates have gone up a bit since I’ve used him.
Linda Style; http://www.EditingwithStyle.net
Copyeditor at Entangled Publishing, experienced writing professional, author, journalist, writing instructor at Bootcamp for Novelists
Ebook Editor Pro: http://www.ebookeditorpro.com/prices.htm
Line Editor, proofreading, formatting. *Really good prices.
Sydney Baily-Gould: her email is Sydney@catwhiskerstudio.com
She has a masters in English Lit and edited for Time Life Magazine.
Beth Hill: http://www.ANovelEdit.com
Yvonne Glanville: One of the editors at- The Phrase Doctor: http://www.thephrasedoctor.com
Helen Woodall: email@example.com – She’s expensive, because she’s a trained and qualified editor (she has a masters in history and degrees in literature)
Emily Eva: http://emilyevaediting.weebly.com/ She’s in the UK, but the exchange rate is really good for her prices. $9.95 per 1000 words.
Annie Seaton: http://www.annieseatonromance.com/editing-service.html She’s in Australia. Charges $100.00 Australian for every 10,000 words. That comes to about $90.00 American.
Linda Ingmanson: Edits for Saimhain Publishing. Email her for rates and availability. Catalyst8@aol.com
7. Once your writer has the manuscript clean and corrected, it’s time to format it for ebooks and for publishing the traditional way. A few places to try include
Lee: at Iron Horse Formatting: http://ironhorseformatting.com/
Steena Holmes: @ http://www.theauthorsredroom.com
Lucinda Campbell: -company name is LK E-book Formatting Service at-Booked two weeks in advance.http://design. lkcampbell. com/
Carol Webb at: bellamediamanagemen firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her
site at: http://www.bellamediamanag ement.com
8. Do you get the idea that writing can be a very expensive line of work? Remember that until the books are out there and the funds coming in, the writer has no health benefits, no days off or holidays that are paid for. So help from family and friends will be greatly appreciated. One of the more expensive but worth the money invested elements is cover art. I know exactly what I wish for the cover of my first Regency, but I don’t have the cash to lay out for it. Here are some of the good designers to check out:
Tamra Westberry: http://www.tarawest.com/indiecovers.html
Audrey Harcher: http://www.littlelady.com
Kelly: at customgraphics. etsy.com,
Kelli Ann Morgan: of Inspire Creative Services
Amy Lynch Hallenius: (amykathryn@live. com) of Photo Art by Amy
Amanda Kelsey: of Razzle Dazzle Designs (www.razzdazzstock. com).
Lyndsey Lewellen: lewellen3@gmail. com
The Authors Red Room: http://www.authorsredroom.com
At The Authors Red Room you can find all the services in one place; editors, formatters, cover artists, etc.
9. Once the book is a reality, the job of product support kicks in. You can become part of a street team! Wikipedia has a great definition of the term, but basically it’s a group of folks who go around to stores asking for the writer’s book, buying it on Amazon and doing a positive review, talking about the book on Facebook, Twitter, and any social media group they belong to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_team
10. Does your writer have a Facebook page? Offer to establish and maintain one. The page should include fairly regular updates on the progress of the book and the writer, and some cute things that are the hallmark of Facebook. Cats reading the book would be awesome!
11. Does your writer have a blog? Blogs are great, lots of fun, and keep the writer’s name in front of a particular audience. Follow the writer’s blog, and give the posts reviews on Facebook.
12. Everyone Tweets, right? Your writer must be on Twitter, and must be looking smart, witty, and classy in 140 characters. Yeah, I don’t tweet very often. But if your writer does this, be sure to follow them on Twitter and again, spread the information on your Facebook page or any other social media you use.
I hope this has given you some ideas on how to best support your writer. If you can only do one of these things for the Winter Holidays, remember Valentines’ Day is just around the corner!