Holiday Gift-Giving Guide For The Writers In Your Life (Or, Where To Send The People Who Want To Get You Presents!)

As you are no doubt aware (due to incessant media inundation :)) we are but days from the Holiday Shopping Frenzy known as Black Friday, to be closely followed by Cyber Monday, and then a couple weeks of generally frantic gift buying.

I decided, as a public service, to make a list for you 🙂

And by “for you”, I mean “FOR you” 🙂

Banner designed by Katie Hill

Of course, if you happen to have a lot of people to shop for who are writers, then this list will come in handy.  BUT, if you, like many of us, are surrounded by friends and loved-ones who long to get you the perfect present but have no idea what that is, it will come in even handier because you can send them over here to this list and end up with something you actually want!

Their worries will be solved, you’ll be sure of getting something awesome, and everyone will be happy 🙂

So here you go.  Awesome gifts for writers.  And since this blog is primarily focused on picture books, the gifts are often most appropriate for picture book/children’s writers, but many of them are valuable to all writers.

I’m going to try to be really organized (stop laughing!) and list them by price within category 🙂  In most cases the name of the gift is a link that will show you what it is and one place to shop for it.  In some cases (books) there are cheaper Kindle prices and more expensive paperback options.  Categories include: writing materials, books, ideas, classes, critique services, memberships, subscriptions, conferences/retreats, writer’s software, promotional materials, and fun stuff… with a few subcategories :)… so take your time and browse 🙂

Oh, and by the way, everything on this list is either something I’ve read/used/taken/done myself or that has been recommended from a trusted source, so the quality should be good!

Free – and something every writer wants 🙂

Time To Write!

Every writer appreciates uninterrupted time to write, so give this certificate, rolled in a scroll and tied with a bow to the writer on your list.  Take the kids to the zoo, or the dogs for a walk, or yourself to the movies, and leave your writer with a couple of blissful hours of peace and quiet to pour those words onto the page!

Writing Materials: Writers love paper!  They can never have enough post-its, memo pads, notepads, or notebooks.  No doubt one or more of these will be right at home on your writer’s desk… or in their car… or wherever they need to write!

     Fun Post-It Notes and Memo Pads: Writers like fun office supplies 🙂

     Pink and Orange Flowers Post-Its ($2.99 on Amazon)

     Apple Memo Pad ($4.18 on Amazon)

     Pear Memo Pad ($4.36 on Amazon)

     Cupcake Memo Pad ($4.93 on Amazon)

     Red and Green Apples Post-Its ($5.08 on Amazon)

     Pink Hearts Post-Its ($6.31 on Amazon)

     Orange and Yellow Stars Post-Its ($9.21 on Amazon)

     Notebooks/Journals/Notepads: Writers need notebooks for everything! Idea notebooks, reading logs, dream diaries, quote books, scrap books, log books, character sketches, and free writing… explore the options!

     Aqua Notes – Waterproof Notepad ($7.95 on Amazon)
     Ideas don’t wait for writers to be at their desks!  Get the writer on your list this waterproof notepad in case a brilliant idea strikes in the shower 🙂

     What You Write Down Journal ($9.95 at Barnes & Noble)

     Soar Journal ($9.99 at Barnes & Noble)

     Mead Spiral Notebook 4-pack Assorted Colors (8.5 x11) ($10.52 on Amazon)

     Mead Spiral Notepad 12-pack Assorted Colors (3×5) ($14.19 on Amazon)

     Inspire Dream Journal ($14.95 at Barnes & Noble)

     Night Time Notepad With Space Pen ($14. 95 on Amazon)
     Middle-of-the-night idea?  No problem with this lighted notepad and pen that writes at any angle!  

     Classic Moleskine Notebook ($18.95 at Barnes & Noble) – lots of color options 🙂

     AshenFire Handcrafted Leather Journals – extra-special, fancy, gorgeous… and worth the splurge 🙂 ($85-$165, custom designs can be requested)

     Pens: Writers need great writing utensils:

     Pilot G2 Pro Retractable Gel Ink Roller Ball Fine Point Pen (black ink, assorted barrel colors) ($2.88 on Amazon)

     Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Fine Point Pen (8 pack of assorted colors) ($9.03 on Amazon)

     Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Fine Point (12 black, blue, green, purple, or red) ($13.99 per dozen on Amazon)

     Glow Pens (for writing in the dark :)) ($14.88 for 12 on

     Penlight Night Writer (light up pen…also for writing in the dark) ($16.95 on Amazon)


     Writing How-To Books: Writers love to study their craft:

     Picture Books The Write Way by Laura Purdi Salas and Lisa Bullard ($2.99 on Kindle)

     How To Query An Agent Or Editor by Laura Purdi Salas and Lisa Bullard ($4.99 on Kindle)

     The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi ($4.99 on Kindle, $12.37 paperback)

     The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi ($5.99 on Kindle, $14.68 paperback)

     The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi ($5.99 on Kindle, $15.29 paperback)

     Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman ($9.99 Kindle, $10 e-pub, $20 PDF)

     Writing Irresistible Kid Lit: The Ultimate Guide To Crafting Fiction For Young Adult And Middle Grade Readers ($9.99 on Kindle, $15.30 on Amazon)

     Writing Children’s Nonfiction Books For The Educational Market by Laura Purdi Salas ($9.99 on Kindle, $49 print version)

     Writing Picture Books: A Hands On Guide From Story Creation To Publication by Ann Whitford Paul ($11.99 on Amazon)

     The Writer’s Guide To Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb ($12.77 on Amazon)

     Anatomy Of Nonfiction by Margery Facklam and Peggy Thomas ($18.80 on Amazon)

     The Giblin Guide To Writing Children’s Books by James Cross Giblin ($22.75 on Amazon)

     Marketplace: Writer’s need to find markets for their work:

     2014 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market by Chuck Sambuchino ($9.90 on Kindle, $21.66)

     Book Markets For Children’s Writers 2014 published by the Institute Of Children’s Literature ($26.95 30 day free trial)

     Magazine Markets For Children’s Writers 2014 published by the Institute Of Children’s Literature ($26.95 30 day free trial)

     Writer Autobiographies: Writers love to read about other writers:

     Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life by Anne Lamott (12.36 on Amazon)

     On Writing by Stephen King ($12.64 on Amazon)

     Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide To Loving The Craft by Jane Yolen (but you’ll have to find a used copy 😦 on Amazon)

     Picture Books, Literary Fiction, Suspense Novels, Romance, Biographies etc. – writers love to read!

     A local indie bookstore/Amazon/B&N Gift Card for the amount of your choice will always be welcome!

     Support your favorite authors by gifting their books!

Ideas: Writers need inspiration!

     Rory’s Story Cubes – Actions ($7.77 on Amazon)

     Rory’s Story Cubes – Original ($7.83 on Amazon)

     Rory’s Story Cubes – Voyages ($8.22 on Amazon)

     Storyworld: Quests And Adventures: Create-A-Story Kit (paperback) ($8.80 on Amazon)

     Storyworld: Fairy Magic; Create-A-Story Kit (paperback) ($8.99 on Amazon)

     The Storyworld Box: Create-A-Story Kit (cards) ($10.33 on Amazon)

    The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood ($10.95 on Amazon)

     The Amazing Story Generator ($11.52 on Amazon)

     Rory’s Story Cubes – Complete Set (Original, Actions, Voyages) ($24.95 on Amazon)

     The Storymatic ($29.95 on Amazon)

Classes: Writers need education!

     Making Picture Book Magic Online Writing Course (Susanna Leonard Hill) ($99) (You can email, snail mail, or wrap and present this beautiful personalized gift certificate! – which you can see larger if you click the link for the course)

sample – certificate designed by Katie Hill

     Just Write For Kids (Emma Walton Hamilton) ($297)

     Video Idiot Boot Camp (Katie Davis) – videos are helpful for promotion and for making your website more interesting.  Learn how to make them!  ($297)

     Institute Of Children’s Literature (price is not listed on website but I believe it’s $500 or more)

Critique Services: Writers need feedback on their work:

     Rate Your Story (all info about all levels listed at this link)
          Free Non-Member Services
          Basic: $8/per month
          Pro: $12/per month
          Speedpass: $24.95 (single)

     Heather Ayris Burnell – PB non-rhyming up to 1000 words $55, Query letter critique one page any genre $35, PB and Query letter critique at same time $80

     Susanna Leonard Hill – PB $75 (You can email, snail mail, or wrap and present this beautiful personalized gift certificate! – which you can see larger if you click the critique link)

sample – certificate designed by Katie Hill

     …and proofreading/copyediting services!

     Beth Stilborn’s Flubs 2 Fixes Service – ($2 per page proofreading, $3 per page copyediting – Canadian $)

Memberships: Writers like to belong to groups of writers:

     12×12 in 2014 Membership join other picture book writers in the quest to write a picture book a month.* (Bronze approx. $25/year, Silver approx. $60/year, Gold approx. $150/year)
* 12×12 information is not yet listed on Julie Hedlund’s website so for your convenience, details are listed at the bottom of this page.  Please scroll down.

     CBI Clubhouse Membership: (Children’s Book Insider) ($5.49 per month, $49.95 per year)

     SCBWI Membership: (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) ($85 per year, membership benefits)

Subscriptions: Writers need to keep up with the world of writing:

     Children’s Writer Newsletter Subscription ($15 per year)

     Writers Digest Subscription ($19.96 per year)

     Publishers’ Marketplace Subscription ($25 per month/$300 per year)

Conferences/Retreats: Writers like to go places and hang out with (and learn from) other writers!

     1-Day Local Conferences/Workshops: Check SCBWI for your region to find out what’s available near your writer.  Cost for 1-Day conferences is usually in the $100-$150 range for SCBWI members with an added cost for a professional manuscript critique if you choose one of about $50-$75

     SCBWI New York, February 21-23 2014 (non-member early bird registration $500)

     SCBWI Los Angeles August 1-4 2014 (no info yet)

     Highlights Foundation Workshops: a long weekend or 5-7 days, multiple subects/topics, most expensive workshops are for whole novel writing ($990 – $2390 scholarship/financial aid available)

Software For Writers: some writers find computer programs helpful…

     Story Weaver ($29.95)
          For PC ($40 on Amazon)
          For Mac ($45 on Amazon)
     Snowflake Method ($100)

Promotional Materials: Writers need to publicize their books!

     Bookmark/Postcard/Flyer Package from Alison Hertz: Alison will design these promotional materials to your specifications and deliver files that are ready to upload to GotPrint, VistaPrint, or whatever option you choose.  ($400)

     Book Trailers by Carter Higgins: unique custom book trailers made just for your book! ($100 – $1000)

Fun Stuff!!! (games, mugs, candy, tea, beverages, pajamas, t-shirts, clocks, jewelry)

     Games: Writers like to play word games 🙂

     Bananagrams (word game) ($12.99 on Amazon)

     Scrabble (word game) ($15.94 on Amazon)

     Tapple (word game) ($19.84 on Amazon)

     Taboo (word game) ($30.99 on Amazon)

     Mugs: Writers need caffeine to stay hydrated 🙂

     Assorted Writer Mugs – lots to choose from ($12.99-$13.99 at Cafe Press)

     Fuel: Writers need chocolate to keep up their energy!

     Customizable M&Ms! 🙂 – Choose up to 3 colors and a message like “Write On Sarah” (1 lb. bag $29.99)

     …and hot beverages!

     Yogi Organic Tea – good and good for you,  with inspirational quotes (though not specifically writing-related) ($4.99 per box)

     Gourmet Coffee from New York Gourmet Coffee – assorted delicious flavors ($7.99 per lb whole bean or multiple grinding options)

     Gourmet Hot Chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates – assorted delicious flavors! ($10.50) (you could give some with a writers mug above!)

     Pajamas: some writers like to say they can work in them, all of us like to sleep in them 🙂

     PJs For Writers (assorted designs $29.99-39.99 at Cafe Press)

     T-Shirts: Let the world know you’re a writer!

     T-Shirts For Writers (assorted designs $21.99-$46.99 at Cafe Press)

     Clocks: all writers need more time!

     Clocks For Writers (assorted designs $16.99-$32.99 at Cafe Press)

     Jewelry: Writer’s like jewelry too:

     Vintage Typewriter Key Charm Necklace ($49.95)

And if you really want to go hog wild, you can get your writer a brand new computer… but I won’t venture to guess types or styles or prices – that’s up to you! 🙂

If anyone has items they feel should be added to this list, please email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I will be happy to check them out and add if appropriate!!!  Don’t forget, the information about Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group is below.

I hope you (and all the people who want to buy you presents) will find this list useful!

Now get ready, get set, SHOP! 🙂

Information on different levels of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Membership

Margaret Wise BRONZE — Write. (approx. $25?)

In the great big Internet, there is a writing group, where folks commune, and write picture books like — A Dog Jamming on the Bassoon…If what you need is the motivation to get your drafts written, along with the accountability of a deadline and the company of a communityof writers dedicated to improving their craft, this level is for you!
Margaret Wise BRONZE includes:
  • Full access (view and post) to the Main 12 x 12 Forum and Critique Connect (where you can find critique partners)
  • Access to the members-only 12 x 12 Facebook Group
  • Ability to view the Events, Member Books, Videos/Trailers and Help An Author Out (HAAO) sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • Opportunity to win craft-related prizes from the monthly featured authors
Shel SILVERstein — Write, Revise. (approx. $50-$60?)
Perhaps you already have a stockpile of manuscripts drafted, and you would like to challenge yourself to revise some of them while also writing new ones. The Shel SILVERstein level gives you the ability to get feedback on YOUR work — queries, pitches and manuscripts — perfect for writers want to focus on both writing and revising.
Shel SILVERstein is also perfect for agented, published authors who would like access to an instant platform. A place to share your books, events, trailers AND to get promotion assistance (in the Help an Author Out section of the Forum) from fellow members.
Shel SILVERstein includes:
  • Everything in the Margaret Wise BRONZE Level, but with full (view and post) access to the Events, Member Books, Video/Trailers and HAAO sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • FULL (view and post) access to these additional sections of the 12 x 12 Forum: Query Corner (get feedback on your query letters), Pitch Perfect (get feedback on loglines and pitches), and Manuscript Makeover (get feedback on the first 250 words of your ms)
Little GOLDen Book — Write, Revise, Submit (approx. $150?)
Do you have submission-ready manuscripts? Are you looking for an agent or editor (who accepts picture books!) for your work? If so, Little GOLDen Book is for you! Each month, one agent or editor will accept submissions from 12 x 12 members for the duration of that month, enabling you to bypass the slush pile.*
Little GOLDen Book includes:
  • Everything in the Shel SILVERstein Level
  • Access to the Submission Station section of the 12 x 12 Forum, which will provide information about that month’s agent or editor and instructions on how to submit to him or her.

85 thoughts on “Holiday Gift-Giving Guide For The Writers In Your Life (Or, Where To Send The People Who Want To Get You Presents!)

  1. Genevieve says:

    What a well thought out list. Wow! But you left out one thing. How about an iPad Air? Would it kill somebody to get me an iPad Air, for crying out loud??!! Ugh. I need new friends.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm sorry, Genevieve! I wasn't specific enough. I said “brand new computer”… which technically could sort of cover an iPad 🙂 I just realized I didn't put Kindle or Nook either – they'd make good gifts for some readers! I hope Santa (or SOMEONE! for heaven's sakes!) brings you an iPad air! 🙂 For that matter, I don't have one either…. 🙂


  3. Tracy Campbell says:

    Oh my, Susanna, what a fabulous list. I can just imagine the time it took to put it together. I'll be saving this list. Thanks again!

  4. Clarbojahn says:

    Thanks, Susanna! this is great! I book marked it and when hubby or anyone wants to know what to get me.. ? I know just where to send them. 🙂

  5. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    WOOOOOO!!! (and actually I am in my PJs – today was PJ Day at school) I have a list of wants too. 🙂 Took heed from Ms. Bowman-Jahn and bookmarked it!

  6. pennyklostermann says:

    I feel like Lilly in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse!!! Wow! That's just about all I can say, wow!
    This is such a great list and reference! Thanks 🙂

  7. Pamela Courtney says:

    My gracious!! The time and research it took for this absolutely, awesomely, amazing list. Ok, you've started something else this community is going to be expecting each year. You're a mindful resource, wrapped in comprehensive references, tied with a perfect bow of creative genius! WHAT A LIST, Lady! Thank you!

  8. Teresa Robeson says:

    LOL, Susanna! I have an agreement with my friends not to exchange gifts. Many don't live near me and it got crazy trying to mail pkgs in addition to buying the gift. Hubby an I don't buy each other anything because we buy for ourselves what we need; less stress and pressure that way. So, maybe one day, I'll buy myself an SCBWI conference near you! 🙂

  9. Patientdreamer says:

    Wow! and, Wow! I came back to your blog to check out something else, and found this amazing list. Mmm…. gonna print it off right this minute. You are so damn awesome lady. How do you do it? It's like dipping into the suprise chest every time I come here. Just never know what I might find. 🙂 Happy Thanks Giving to YOU!

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, I am jealous, Teresa! Every year I lobby for no gifts – so much pressure, you're right! For me it's enough just to get to see my family! But we should still make a plan to go to the same conference somewhere 🙂

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you 🙂 They come in a box with a window on the front. There's a pack of cards and a booklet. I didn't find the booklet particularly helpful (though that could just be me) but I really like the cards. They are beautifully illustrated with interesting characters and details, and have thought-provoking questions on the back. For the price, I think they're pretty fun 🙂

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, I would use them for story ideas! They are meant that you can play a storytelling game with 2 or more people, but I probably wouldn't use them that way. I don't know how many PB ideas I might get out of them… hard to tell… but I think there's a lot of spark to be had 🙂

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