12 Gift Ideas for Aspiring Writers

About ten days ago, I posted 12 Gift Ideas for Aspiring Speakers. Since I am the Chairman of a publishing company, several people wrote to say, “What about writers? What do you suggest for them?” So, I pulled together a list of my best gift recommendations.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/cclickclick, Image #10676336

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/cclickclick

Like my gift ideas for speakers, I have tried to include ideas at a variety of price levels. I have arranged the list from least expensive to most expensive. Hopefully, you can find just the perfect gift for a friend or maybe even yourself!

Gift Suggestion Amount
On Writing by Stephen King On Writing by Stephen King provides a behind-the-scenes look at the life and philosophy of writing. This is really two books in one: the first half is his autobiography. The second half contains his thoughts on writing. The first part is inspirational—you realize that nothing in your life is ever wasted. The second half is practical. One reviewer described is as a “writer’s toolkit.” The book is one of my favorite writing books ever. $7.99
Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins The thesis behind Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins by Theodore M. Bernstein is that grammar rules are made to be broken. This book is a great review of those grammar rules and when it is appropriate to break them for the greater creative good. It takes the form of a dialogue between Bernstein and Bertha Thistlebottom, an archetypal grade school English teacher. The book is both fun and insightful. $10.36
Moleskine Ruled Notebook I have tried all kinds of electronic gadgets, but I keep coming back to the Moleskine Ruled Notebook (pronounced mol-a-skeen-a, not moleskin). I use it to take meeting notes and jot down blogging ideas as I think about them. Almost like American Express, I “never leave home without it.” They come in ruled, unruled, and grid designs. I personally use the ruled version. I explain how I use it in “Recovering the Lost Art of Note Taking.” $12.21
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White If you could buy one book on writing, this is it. To quote one reviewer, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White is “the Bible for good, clear writing.” Written in a funny and unpretentious style, this little volume will make you fall in love with grammar—even if you hated it while going through school. I wish I could get every wannabe author to start by reading this book before they begin writing. $13.57
Writing a Winning Non-fiction Book Proposal As a young publisher, I spent a good deal of time trying to get would-be authors to give me the information I needed in order to get their book approved by my publishing committee. I finally wised up and wrote Writing a Winning Non-fiction Book Proposal, a how-to manual for non-fiction authors who want to get published. This short e-book contains everything you need to know to get the attention of an agent or editor. I just completed this expanded new version a few months ago. $19.97
Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal For years, I have known that my original e-book needed to be re-written from the ground up to accommodate the special needs of aspiring novelists. As a result, I have just published Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal. It is completely different than the non-fiction version. However, it also uses a concrete example to illustrate the principles that will get the attention of agents and editors. $19.97
Chicago Manual of Style This Chicago Manual of Style is the reference book used by most book publishing houses. It is comprehensive and, in most cases, the final authority on matters of grammar and, more interestingly, style. It not only explains all the principles, it provides specific examples of usage. This is one book I keep within reach at work and at home. I refer to it frequently. $30.75

Increasingly, we are seeing word processors that are dedicated to specific kinds of writing. For example, I use ecto for blogging and OmniOutliner (see below) for outlining. In writing my current book, The How of Wow, I decided to give Scrivener a try. I love it. It is a fantastic tool for anyone writing a book, fiction or non-fiction. I know many writers, especially novelists, who use it and rave about it. $39.95
OmniOutliner Software I am an outliner by nature. I literally think in outlines. I always start preparing a speech by starting with an extensive outline. OmniOutliner Professional is the best outlining tool I have found. It is intuitive and easy to use. It also has enormous flexibility. It simply works the way my mind works, making it easy to get the thoughts out of my head and into a form I can organize and begin to package. $66.99
How to Write Best Selling Fiction Sadly, How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz is out of print. But you can still buy it used from Amazon. It is not cheap, but it is worth every penny. If you want to write successful, commercial fiction, this book will guide you through the process step-by-step. I only wish that Mr. Koontz would revise it and re-publishing it. I consider this a collectors item. Every novelist should own a copy. ~$70.00
Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Classic Ballpoint Pen The Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Classic Ballpoint Pen is the best pen money can buy. It’s the Mercedes-Benz of writing instruments. Granted, it’s not cheap. But it’s the last pen you will ever buy. It makes a terrific gift if you can justify the cost. Hint: you can find them cheaper if you do some shopping around. In fact, I bought mine on eBay. Just make sure that you are buying an authentic Mont Blanc pen with a bona fide serial number. $330.00
WestBow Press Maybe you’re tired of trying to get the attention of a traditional publisher. Or maybe you have your own specialized platform and don’t feel you need a traditional publisher. You just want to see your book get into print. It that’s true, then check out WestBow Press. This is a division of Thomas Nelson and we are offering a 20% discount as a holiday special. $799.20
Question: What other gift ideas do you have for aspiring writers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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