The Ultimate Gift Guide for Writers

I have a big family, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to think of gift ideas for everyone. When I’m strapped for ideas, I usually just go to Pinterest and type in “gift ideas for…” and put in some descriptor that’s relevant for that person.

Perhaps that’s how you stumbled on this post…

If you have a loved one who is a writer (or if you’re a writer yourself and are looking for fun things to put on your own wish list), then look no further. This list has a variety of gift ideas in a wide range of price points.

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

Leuchtturm Hardcover Medium A5 Dotted Notebook

If you’ve heard about bullet journaling, then you’ve probably heard people rave about these notebooks. They are perfect for diaries and making notes. And they look cute, too!

Journal Planner Pens 

I own this set, and while I LOVE them, I will warn you that they do tend to bleed through to the other side of the page I’m writing on. Personally, I don’t care. But you’ve been warned. 🙂

The Healthy Writer

If you’re a writer and you haven’t been listening to Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn Podcast), stop what you’re doing and go subscribe. She is a wealth of information about the publishing industry.

Anyway… Now that that’s out of the way, this book is all about how writers can take care of themselves so that they can sustain lasting careers.

Tilting Sit-Stand Computer Desk 

On that same note, one thing writers are really bad about is sitting all day long. If you have a loved one who is in front of a screen all day, consider investing in a standing desk for them. Their back will thank you.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Another issue writers struggle with is hand and eye strain. This dictation software allows you to transcribe voice recordings into text. It takes a little while to train your brain how to write through speaking rather than typing, but it can be a big time saver as well as give your hands a break.

2018 Dell Inspiron 

If you’re the type of person who goes all out for gifts, consider gifting the writer in your life with a brand new computer. I use the Dell Inspiron and am quite happy with it.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft 

This is a must-read for any writer. If you’re shopping for someone who is just getting into pursuing their passion for the written word, grab this book for them. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Shakespearean Insult Bandages 

And finally, how can you resist bandages with Shakespearean insults on them?

How to Make Your Pinterest Views Explode

In just one month, my Pinterest views exploded. I went from a measly 1.2k monthly views to 12,000+ monthly views!

Want to know how you can increase your visibility on Pinterest, too?

Perfect! You’ve come to the right place.

 

Like most people, I started out using my Pinterest page just for fun.

 

Even though I technically had a business page, I used it mainly for pinning inspiration for my books.

 

But I’ve realized it can be a valuable tool for growing my blog and my author platform. 

 

After all, it’s free marketing!

 

Yes, it does take time to create content, images, etc. But pointing pins to your blog posts, especially for evergreen content, is a strategy that can be used to grow your platform for years to come.
PINTEREST FOR AUTHORS | HOW TO GROW YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM | PINTEREST FOR WRITERS | PINTEREST FOR BLOGGERS
So, first things first:

 

Most people, including myself, refer to Pinterest as a social media platform.

But really, Pinterest is more like a search engine.

This is why images and copy matter so much.

 

So how does it work?

 

As a user, I search for all kinds of stuff like recipes, Christmas gift ideas, home decor, etc.

 

I might find things to pin either by browsing by typing in a phrase in the search bar or by scrolling through my homepage, which shows both pins from people I’m following and pins that Pinterest thinks I will like based on things I’ve been searching for lately.

 

Because of that, the images you post when uploading (or pinning from an existing webpage) have to be striking enough to pop out at someone who is quickly scrolling through.

 

I think using Canva is a must.

It has some GREAT templates for Pinterest images (which should be verticle rectangles – they take up more of the screen and therefore people are more likely to notice them).

 

I took some time to play around and make designs I’m happy with.

 

Now, whenever I have, say, a new author interview to post, I just pop the new author pic and appropriate author name in there rather than start over from scratch.

You can only upload a pin to your own board – UNLESS you are a collaborator on a group board.

 

With group boards, multiple people can post to the same board. It’s basically a way to make your pins go viral.

 

You can use Pingroupie to easily find group boards on Pinterest.

 

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend setting up a Pinterest business account so that you can see stats.

 

If you set up a business account, you can also get your page verified (note: for me, this was a MAJOR headache – I had to get my husband to do it, and I still have no idea what exactly he did).

Once it’s verified, you can do something called “enabling Rich Pins,” which increases your pins’ visibility on Pinterest.

In the last month, I’ve gone from 1.2K monthly viewers to 12.1K monthly viewers.

 

Pinterest is a major source of my website traffic.

 

PINTEREST FOR AUTHORS | GROWING YOUR PINTEREST PAGE | GROWING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM | TIPS AND TRICKS

Here are four things I’ve done to grow my Pinterest reach based on all of my research on the topic (keep in mind that I am an author, so my Pinterest page reflects this):

  1. Create at least 20 boards titled with phrases I think people might use as search terms (ex: YA Books, Book Club Party Decor, Bookstagram Inspiration, Bookshelf Decor, etc.).These aren’t all filled with my own content.I repin fun things I find to my boards, hoping someone who happens upon something I’ve pinned clicks through to my Pinterest page and thinks, “Hm. She pins all kinds of stuff that I’m interested in. I should follow her.”
  2. Using Canva, I created images for my boards (pins I uploaded that just link to my website because you have to have a link in there) and then set as my covers for those boards.
  3. For each board, I added a board description filled with what I hope to be relevant keywords.Ideally, this helps whatever algorithm Pinterest uses to show my pins to more people.
  4. When pinning my own content (like from my blog), I try to put relevant keywords in my descriptions, too.


Do you know of any other helpful tips and tricks for leveraging Pinterest to grow your audience?

If so, let me know in the comments below!

 

If you found this post helpful, please consider following me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!

And if you are a fan of YA books, then you might enjoy browsing my collection:

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

Top Facebook Groups for Indie Authors

I’ve mentioned before that the indie author community is a powerful resource. Indies are known for helping lift each other up and sharing what they’ve learned along their journeys so that others can find success, too. Here are a handful of Facebook groups open to indie authors. You’ll find these groups to be welcoming and encouraging – but before you post a question, be sure to search the groups first. Chances are, many people have had the exact same question and it has been answered many times.

Oh – and the number one rule across these groups? No self promo. You’re talking to other authors who all want people to buy their books, too. But finding readers is NOT what these groups are for. They’re for helping each other learn and grow. Trying to sell your book to fellow community members is a quick way to get your post deleted – and yourself removed from the groups.

20BooksTo50K – Run by the powerhouse that is Michael Anderle and his amazing team, being a part is this group is practically a must for any indie author. You will find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had and be able to cheer on others’ successes as they post photos of them typing “the end” on their manuscripts – often photographed alongside a celebratory drink!

SPF Community – Ok, I realize I’m starting to sound like a walking advertisement for Mark Dawson, but there’s a reason you hear him come up so often in the indie community. His SPF Community group is open to indie authors and is a great place to find support, encouragement and answers to your questions. (But again – remember to search the group first to see if your question has already been answered!)

The Blurb Exchange – This is a fairly new group, but I think you will find it to be a valuable resource. If there’s one thing indie authors are known for complaining about, it’s writing blurbs. It’s amazing how we can write 80k+ words in a book, but that little bitty blurb can be complete torture to write. How are you supposed to summarize your masterpiece in a few paragraphs – and make it sound interesting enough that people want to buy it?! In comes The Blurb Exchange. The premise is simple: you help other authors with their blurbs first, and then you post your blurb and get their feedback.

Once you’ve joined these groups, you’ll quickly find that there are all kinds of specialized groups for the particular genre you’re writing in. As a YA sci-fi and fantasy author, I have found AAYAA, SFF Book Bonanza and SF/F Cross Promo Bulletin Board extremely helpful.

5 Writing Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Before becoming a writer, I never listened to podcasts.

But I quickly learned that some of the best indie authors out there are generous enough to share their expertise.

That’s the thing I love most about the indie community. For the most part, people are very supportive and willing to share what they’ve learned along the way so that they can help others reach their levels of success, too. That’s what a community is all about – lifting each other up.

I’ve found the five following podcasts extremely helpful, and I have no doubt that you will enjoy them, too.

The Creative Penn Joanna Penn is a creative entrepreneur who publishes nonfiction books for writers under Joanna Penn and thrillers under the name J.F. Penn. What I love most about her podcast is that she takes an optimistic view of the publishing industry. I always find her podcasts encouraging, and she interviews some fascinating people.

Self Publishing Formula Mark Dawson is well-known in the indie community for being a self-publishing guru. In addition to his courses, he also has a podcast. His co-host James Blatch interviews the guests and always asks interesting questions. He seems so genuinely interested in what the guests have to say, and he asks the questions listeners are thinking.

Sell More Books Show – This is one of my new favorite podcasts. I would have listened to it much sooner if I had realized it was hosted, in part, by Bryan Cohen – the blurb-writing guru. This podcast spans a variety of topics of interest to the indie author community and is one you do not want to miss!

The Career Author I only recently discovered this one, but I am really enjoying it. J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon talk about a variety of writing-related topics, like planning out a book series, genre research and more.

Helping Writers Become Authors – This podcast by K.M. Weiland is more about the actual writing part of being a writer. She offers great insights on things like plot, structure, characters and more. P.S. Be sure to sign up for her mailing list for some very helpful freebies!

Are there any other podcasts that you think should be on this list? If so, leave a comment below!