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7 Great Gift Ideas for Writers and Bookworms


Are you looking for a great gift for a writer, bookworm or booklover? Here are some fun, functional and unique gift ideas for the holidays, birthdays and other special occasions all year round.

1. Favorite Snacks

Writers have rituals that include having handy snacks nearby. F. Scott Fitzgerald loved canned meat and apples, Nora Ephron could down three Krispy Kreme doughnuts in one sitting, and Julia Child’s favored red meat and gin. What’s your writer’s favorite snack? Give the writer in your life a supply o their favorite munchies or a gift certificate. They’ll enjoy fond memories of you every time they indulge.

2. Writing Inspiration

How to Write Shop

Point your favorite writer to writing prompts, starters or ideas that you’ve created or have been created by others

3. Stress Relief

Since writers spend many hours working in one position, carpal tunnel neck and body cramps are occupational hazards. If you’re skilled enough, give a personal massage. If not, invest in a gift certificate from the local massage school or parlor in the area. Groupon may even have a great deal available http://www.groupon.com/local/massage


4. Classes and Training

Whether your writer is new or experienced, she will enjoy taking a class to sharpen skills. Here are some ideas:

5. Literary Clothing

Out of Print Clothing –t-shirts, gifts, accessories, totes, journals

6. Postertext

Posters with the entire text of a novel.

7. Top 50 Literary Magazines

Writers will enjoy reading these, as well as discover places to submit their own writing.

Surprise your favorite writer with one of these not-so-typical gifts now or any time of year.


Writing for publication is a business. There is a wealth of information available in your community and on the Internet to help you, but it can be overwhelming to locate and wrap your arms around what you need. For sure you won’t find exactly what you need all in one place.

For this reason, three other successful business women and I teamed up to share our over 80 years of combined experience and make what we’ve learned easily accessible to serious entrepreneurs.The result is a 4-part audio series, “What We Know Now That YOU Should Know From the Start.”

This audio series is immediately downloadable as individual audios or as a set of all four. Get details here and start learning right away.

Self-Published Authors Must Act Like APEs

I had the pleasure of being a beta reader for APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. It is easy reading, packed with tips, tools, links, actionable steps, and a supporting website (APETheBook.com,) along with warnings of the pitfalls of self-publishing.

Historically, traditional publishers successfully blocked the door to publication for many authors until digital publishing changed the game. With direct access to their readers via platforms such as Amazon Digital Publishing authors can now enjoy faster success and higher profits.

Why Self-Publishing?

Kawasaki turned to self-publishing when he discovered that a traditional publisher could not handle an order for 500 ebooks. He became a convert, and enlisted the aid of Shawn Welch to help him understand the complexities of publishing ebooks, who created and and produced Kawasaki’s book, What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us

Kawaski strongly believes

“. . .self-publishing enables you to determine your own fate. There’s no need to endure the frustration of finding and working with a publisher. You can maintain control over your book and its marketing, receive a greater percentage of revenues, and retain all rights and ownership.”

But he does not suggest that self-publishing is easy. Without guidance, it can be confusing,  inefficient and unnecessarily expensive.

APE makes it clear that to self-publish successfully, you must be willing to don all three hats: author, publisher and entrepreneur.

Becoming an  APE

APE begins with four good reasons and two bad ones for becoming an author. The desire to make lots of money is one of the two bad ones since earning great wealth from book sales, though possible, is rare.

Whether you are writing your first book or fifth, APE will enlighten and empower you. It is loaded with  details about preparing your manuscript, ballpark costs of self-publishing, publishing options, copyright issues, digital rights management and valuable self-promotion techniques, such as how to pitch bloggers and reviewers.

APE offers us publishing Plans A, B and C and urges us not to get stigmatized when we can’t find a traditional publisher. He chucks out the stigmatized phrase “vanity publishing” and ushers in a new one.

“Self-publishing could change from stigma to bragging point–maybe we could change the term to “artisanal publishing” and foster the image of authors lovingly crafting their books with total control over the process.”

By crowdsourcing the editing of APE, the authors attracted hundreds of writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and bloggers in the field who gave priceless input to help catch errors and build in real-life examples, anecdotes and sources.

You will learn in one chapter details on navigating Amazon and from another chapter, tactical and practical guerilla marketing techniques.

The section on becoming an entrepreneur is the most valuable section for the self-publisher.  Here you will learn how to create your profile and platform using the major social media sites, as well as details on creating a press release, virtual book tours and using social networks designed especially for writers and readers.

While APE shows us how to self-publish, it does not discourage traditional publishing, nor harnessing the power of  a traditional PR launch.

If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick road to self-publishing, this isn’t it.

If, on the other hand, you want a content-rich, user-friendly, comprehensive and up-to-the-minute guide for navigating the self-publishing waters, get APE today. It’s the new self-publishing bible.

About the Authors

Guy Kawasaki is the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Shawn Welch is the author of From Idea to App, iOS 5 Core Frameworks, and iOS 6 for Developers as well as the developer of several iOS apps. Previously he worked as a senior media-editor for Pearson Education.

He also helped pioneer many of Pearson’s earliest efforts in iPad solutions. Welch has a BS from Kansas State University.


Are you encouraged to try self-publishing again  or for the first time? Share your thoughts.

Not Quite All In: Ghostwriter of Petraeus Biography Breaks Silence

Since the Petraeus scandal broke, we have gotten ever-changing pictures of the whole affair (pun intended.)

First, biographer Broadwell and Petraeus admit to their affair and he resigns; then we learn of her threatening emails to Jill Kelley and Kelley’s connection to Allen; and now we learn that while Broadwell was the reporter of record, her book was actually ghostwritten by Vernon Loeb.

It seems that the full story is not all in after all.

What does this all mean for biographers, ghostwriters and publishers?

We can be sure that Penguin Press is popping the cork on the champagne. Not only did Penguin recently merge with Random House to create the biggest publishing house ever, but now they have a sizzling sex scandal to fuel the sales of Broadwell’s and Loeb’s All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

The problem with a sex scandal is that you see inuendos every where. Check out where your mind goes when you read these otherwise glowing reviews of the Petraeus biography posted on Amazon:

“General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting, insider’s account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring.”
-Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; author of The Greatest Generation

“This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership.”
(-Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time )

“Anyone seeking to understand the nature of American warfighting in the 21st century, how it is both like and utterly unlike that of any previous one, needs to understand Petraeus, his remarkable career, his thinking, and his character. All In is an excellent place to start. It is fascinating and insightful, informed by remarkable access to the man both on and off the battlefield.”
(-Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down )

Much will hit the fan before this story settles as folks argue about breach of national security, infidelity and who knew what when.

After you watch the first interview below that Loeb has given since this story broke, I ask you to consider what this means to you as a writer. Share your thoughts in the Comments.

While you’re at it, what advice do you have for Holly Petraeus?

Is MindMapping for You?

Have you used mindmapping to organize the thoughts for your book?

Some writers love it. Others think it’s useless rubbish.

The image below was created in ThingLink by Jennifer Ramirez and is loaded with information about mindmapping.

Mouse over the image to see the small colored circles. Then click on them to get information and links to other sites about mindmapping. Like it?

Leave your comment, then go create your own image at www.ThingLink.com


Rock your book now!

Mindmapping is just one of many techniques and ideas I share in the ecourse, Rockin’ My Book. This four-week ecourse is the easiest and most affordable way to kickstart your book. The course starts when you do.  Get details and register now at http://addauthortoyourresume.com/ecourse/

Are You a Lunatic to Think Your Headlines Should Be Tweet-Worthy?

A headline has only one job: to grab the reader’s attention and get her to read the first sentence of your post.

If you succeed at that, and follow with quality content, you may hold your reader’s attention all the way to the end of your post.

OK, maybe the headline has a second job: to get readers to tweet, share, or otherwise spread your post.

Something interesting happened this week to show the power of a headline.

Jon Morrow, Associate Editor of Copyblogger (and at his request being lovingly dubbed “His Royal Awesomeness,”)  published a post on his blog called “How to Triumph in a World of Naysaying Party Poops.”It is a powerful post that quickly got about 30+ comments.

But don’t go looking for it under that title.

When I went back the day after it appeared to read the comments, the title had changed to  “Are You a Lunatic to Think You Can Make a Living from Your Blog?”


Just like that!

I did a double-take, rubbed my eyes and questioned my memory, but Carol Tice from MakeaLivingWriting was the first to call Jon out and question his motives. Only then was I brave enough to chime in.

  • Hey Jon — I’m fascinated by something. When I read this story yesterday, it had a different headline! What nefarious tricks are you up to here? For the record, I liked the Party Poops headline. Did you just do a different one on email/RSS? Could have sworn that one was here yesterday.

    Did you swap it out because you didn’t like how it was performing? Mwahahaha…I think it’s Dr Evil/His Royal Awesomeness at work behind the curtain here…

  • Good catch Carol. The title was different yesterday. I remember liking it too.

    What gives Jon? Are you testing titles? If so, what’s the verdict?


  • Yep, I changed it. I really liked the earlier headline too, but it was doing terrible for sharing. Not enough of a clear benefit, I guess.

    So, I tested out a couple of different headlines on Twitter, and then I changed it to the one that got the most retweets. Then I emailed everyone on my list who didn’t hadn’t read the blog post yet.

    The result:

    Traffic has nearly doubled. :-)


So there you have it from His Royal Awesomeness.

Here’s what I learned:

1. No matter how clever your headlines, don’t get attached them. Click to tweet

2. Test your headlines. Click to tweet

3. Keep the headlines that generate the most tweets (or other shares you’re going after.) Click to tweet.

Call me crazy, but if your goal is to get engaged readers I call this freakin’ genius.

What do you think?