Thursday, December 01, 2011

What NOT to Give a Fiction Author for the Holidays

As holiday giving season approaches, those of you who are close friends or relatives of fiction authors may be wondering what kind of gift to give those authors. I'm here to tell you what NOT to give a fiction author for the holidays. :-)

1. Don't give a fiction author a sweatshirt that says "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel." If your writer friend has been writing fiction for over a year (even unpublished), it's guaranteed that s/he already has one. Every fiction author I know has at least one of these, given to them by a well-intentioned friend or relative. Yes, many of us wear them proudly, but we don't need more than one.

2. Similarly, don't give a fiction author a blank journal, even one with a lovely leather cover. We all have multiple blank journals, again given by well-intentioned friends and relatives, but most of us don't write in them. We write on computers, because our manuscripts need to be delivered in files, not on paper.

3. Don't give a fiction author a fancy, expensive pen to use at signings. It will just disappear, in some reader's hand, accidentally or not. Authors are very distracted at a signing, having conversations with readers while trying to remember names so they can be written in books. The last thing a hassled author needs to do is try to keep track of an expensive pen. Instead, give the author a box of inexpensive Sharpie permanent markers. I find the extra fine point to be the easiest to sign with.

By now you may be wondering what the ideal gift for a fiction author is. I'll tell you. It's very easy. Buy five or ten copies of his or her latest book for the other gift recipients on your list and ask the author to sign them!


Pamela Beason said...

Oh, I love your suggestion of an appropriate gift for an author--yes, yes, buy our books! (It makes me a bit crazy when some people tell me how they're passing my book around their circle...I guess I should be flattered, know...) Actually, I'd take any of the other gifts, too! I haven't been at this business long enough to have accumulated all that author "bling." Nice holiday post!

Andrea Gonzales said...

Very great advice Beth, couldn't have said it better myself!