It’s my birthday this week and the question ‘What do you get an author for their birthday?’ has been on my mind quite a bit. Many a post has been written about this, filled with fun, practical, and clever gifts to let the writers in your life know you see and support them.
…did you know the perfect writer gift doesn’t have to cost anything?
Five FREE gifts any writer will love
Yes, you’re absolutely right. Writers shouldn’t be caring about external validation.
…don’t we all appreciate some acknowledgement from time to time? Don’t we all like to hear that new T-shirt we’re wearing looks great, the dinner we made was delicious, the work we’re doing is brilliant?
If you happen to have read and love the work of the writers in your life, there’s no greater gift than telling them how much you liked reading it. Don’t think they know just how great they are. Unfortunately, imposter syndrome seems to come with the job.
So hearing from our friends they took the time to read our book(s) AND enjoyed it, too? Five stars, highly recommend. I can’t think of a better way to make a writer’s day.
None of author friends is published yet? Or you haven’t read any of their writing? No problem! You can still let them know how amazing you think they are for having committed themselves to being a writer.
2. Review their books
If you did read and enjoy your author friend’s book(s) and haven’t left a review yet, this is the time to do it.
What most non-writers don’t know is that reviews are vital. Not only do they tell potential readers whether or not the book is worth the time and money, but the more reviews a book has, the higher it will rank on any given platform. Some platforms even freely advertise books that have reached X number of reviews.
However, reviews are extremely hard to come by. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I once heard that only 1 out 500 readers actually leave a review.
Can you imagine the look on your author friend’s face when they see they’ve received a new one? From you? Don’t think your friend doesn’t need your review, or that your one review won’t amount to anything, because it will.
And reviews don’t have to be a twelve-page essays, trust me. A simple ‘Fun story, would definitely recommend!’ or ‘Can’t wait for the next one!’ goes a long, long way, so there’s no reason to break into a sweat about it.
However, whatever you do and no matter how helpful you think you’re being, never ever leave a fake review. Those always come back to haunt us, and the consequences can be disastrous. Many a writer has been banned from, for example, Amazon because their reviews weren’t deemed genuine. It’s simple really: if you haven’t actually purchased and read the book, don’t leave a review. It will do more damage than good.
Bonus gift idea for writers who provide author services
Does your writer friend, aside writing awesome books, also provide author services, and have you—being a writer yourself—used any of those services?
Leave a review! If they have a Facebook page for their services, go recommend them. If they have a website, email them some kind words so they can put them on their testimonial page.
3. Leave your review(s) everywhere
If you’re certain you’ve already left a review where you bought your author friend’s book—and do check; I’ve lost count of how many books I thought I’d reviewed already—you could copy/paste those words and leave the same review on a different platform.
If you have a Goodreads profile, that’s an obvious place to leave your review as well, but have you thought about your friend’s author page on Facebook? If not, go on over there right now and recommend them!
Bonus gift idea for Goodreads users
If you know your way around Goodreads, another really thoughtful way to celebrate your author friend is by adding their books to appropriate lists so that more readers can find them.
4. Recommend their work
If you like their book(s) and/or the author services they provide, recommend your author friend’s work to other readers and writers you know. Even if you haven’t read their book(s) or never purchased any of their services, you can still drop their name when someone asks. Word of mouth remains the single best kind of advertising there is.
Plus, there’s no greater feeling—and I know that from experience—to hear from a reader or a potential new client that they got your name from so-and-so.
5. Share your platform
Are you active on any social media platform? If your author friend’s book(s) or author services fit your audience, consider sharing your online space with them. Perhaps you can interview them for your blog or podcast, or your YouTube channel? Or you could mention their work on TikTok or Instagram.
Most writers are introverts and struggle with visibility, so give them a little shoutout on their birthday! They might flinch a little at first, but that’s just that old imposter syndrome kicking in 😉
It doesn’t take much to make a writer happy, and it doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny either! With these five free gift ideas, you’ll definitely make your author friend’s (birth)day.