The One-Size-Fits-All Writer Gift

Wednesday, December 04, 2013
It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to fancy.

Fancy gifts, that is. And since we’re all about writing here, I thought I’d share my never-fail gift for the writers on your list. But honestly, it’s nothing fancy. In fact, it’s pretty simple. And it’s free, too.

It’s the sparkly and fun book review!

Wait—what? You never considered it? Then it’s time to take a closer look at the joy of the review.


Gosh, it’s hard being a writer. Day in, day out, you write, write, write—and deep down, you wonder, wonder, wonder if your writing is any good. And getting daily rejections certainly doesn’t help. But then, miracle of miracles, you get published! Maybe it’s a long-awaited contract for the manuscript you’ve spent five years writing. Or maybe it’s a story, accepted for an anthology like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Or maybe it’s the book you believed in so much that you went the self-publishing route. So now your words are out there in the world—oh, the thrill!—but something’s missing. And that’s a sweet note of validation.

There’s validation, of course, when friends and family and people you don’t even know buy your book, but nothing beats a sincere, “I really enjoyed this book!” You can make someone’s day with just a few words of validation in a thoughtful book review.

But you can also make someone’s book sales soar with a book review.

Marketing Boost

In a perfect world, writers could spend all their time writing. But writers must succeed in the business world, too, and that means marketing their books. They’ll schedule tours on blogs or dash around to book signings or sponsor giveaways. They want to sell books, but they also want people talking about their books. A book review can make quite an impact.

Reviews on Amazon or Goodreads affect a book’s ranking; they influence buyers. So your review—which costs you nothing but the twenty minutes or so to write a few words—can boost sales.

But, But, But

But what if your writer friend hasn't got a book? Be creative—you’re a writer, right? Send a note of encouragement, or leave a lovely comment on her blog.

But what if you truly didn’t like your writer friend’s book? You don’t have to gush. Find something nice to say, even if it’s just that you loved the title. And if you can’t find the words, click on a couple stars. Stars are shiny support, too.

But what if you have a book? Put a book review on the top of your Wish List. Spread the word to friends and family. Ask nicely. Because honestly, it’s that time of year when people want to do something good.

And something good doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple and heartfelt as saying, “I really enjoyed this book!”

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I really enjoyed your story "Better Safe Than Sorry" in the recently published CS for the Soul--Think Positive for Kids. (I really did.)

Anonymous said...

Aw, Sioux. *blushes* Thanks!

Now see, writers? Sioux just made my day! :-)

(And P.S. Sioux, I loved your "Help by the Bagful" in the same CS Think Positive for Kids. And your blog always cheers me, too.)

Unknown said...

I don't know a writer who doesn't do what they do just for the moment that a reader tells them, "this really resonated with me". Bam. Our little writer souls just soar!

Marcia Peterson said...

Very clever gift ideas! I always love your posts, Cathy. :)

Hope Clark said...

Spot on Cathy! Good post. Nothing makes my day more than hearing someone read my book and loved it, or my editorial in FundsforWriters helped them. Screw the pretty packages. Tell me you've reviewed my book on Amazon, and I'm thrilled!

sally said...

Great ideas! Thanks!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Brilliant as always, Master Y. Offering book reviews for authors we want to support sounds like a good New Year's resolution and a lot more fun than the usual "going to the gym" or "lose 10 pounds."

Anonymous said...

Thank for this great post. I'm sharing it via FB today...

Renee Roberson said...


This is such a simple yet wonderful gift idea for writers. I'm sharing this with all my social media friends and will get cracking on the book reviews I've had on my to-do list.

Your posts here and on your writing blog always bring a smile to my face. Happy Holidays!

Angela Mackintosh said...

I find book reviews incredibly hard to write, but what better gift to give a writer than acknowledgement of all their hard work? GREAT idea, Cathy!

Margo Dill said...

Before I read this brilliant post, I was thinking this was going to be about time--that is the gift I want this year and my hubby and I are trying to figure out ways that I can get more work time and KB can spend more time with him and/or Grandma/Grandpa. So far, it's working great! HOWEVER, I love your idea even more--what a great idea. I really, really, really need to be better about taking the reviews I do on my blogs and for the newspaper and add them to Goodreads and Amazon--then I'm back to time. :) Thanks for the reminder.

Victoria said...

I LOVED your story in Chicken Soup! And guess what? I have a story in that book too - The Real Popular Table! We're anthology sisters!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Victoria, I loved your story, too! So thrilled to be an anthology sister with a WOW! reader--and I've been smiling all day from the lovely comments y'all shared.

See how easy it is to make a writer smile? :-)

Linda O'Connell said...

The gift of validation and appreciation costs nothing and is something to hold dear to one's heart. I appreciate your wonderful posts.

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