Catherine’s Xmas Gift Guide 2011: 5 Gifts for Writers

If you were around these parts this time last year, then you’ll already know that I am great at doing Christmas. Like, seriously great. Potentially better than I am at anything else, which is a bit worrying. One thing in particular I’m really good at is finding perfect presents for people, which I’m guessing has something to do with the inordinate amount of time I spent online window-shopping when I’m procrastinating…

But, um, anyway. I’ve made a Christmas (or Holiday, American friends) Gift Guide. I started last week with 5 Gifts for Book Lovers, and today it’s 5 Gifts for Writers (plus some other suggestions because 5 just wasn’t enough when there are SO many things out there you can get a writer for Christmas…)

Clockwise from top left:

  1. I mentioned Bound Custom Journals on this blog before, back when they were looking for start-up funding from Kickstarter. They got it, and now Bound for Anything is open for business. The idea is that you select one of their journals (original bound with a linen cover is $35; leather bound is $50) and then decide exactly what kind of pages you want inside it, choosing from standards like ruled, lined, maps, To Do lists, calenders, etc. and not so standards like music sheets, storyboards and even templates that let you plan or design items of clothing. It’s the storyboards that really interest me—my ideal Bound Custom Journal would consist of storyboards mixed with blank pages, which would be the perfect novel-plotting on the go companion, don’t you think? Watch their Kickstarter pitch video for more ideas. They also do gift cards, so you can buy your favourite writer one and let him or her decide on the content themselves.
  2. Writing magazine subscriptions might not be top of anyone’s list when there is so much writing advice (or “advice”) available online for free these days, but I think there is something to be said for settling down with a cup of coffee and a copy of Writing Magazine or Mslexia, and reading top quality articles from qualified sources. They are also great resources if you like entering writing competitions. A UK 1 year subscription to Writing Magazine costs just under £45, a European subscription £55 and everywhere else £60. Mslexia is a fantastic magazine aimed at women writers, and teamed with their famous Writer’s Diary 2012, a UK subscription is about £37 (European and Rest of World are just a little bit more, but you’d have to buy the diary separately for £12.99).
  3. If you’re looking for presents for writers or you are one and want to leave Santa some not-so-subtle reminders laying about the house on neon-colored Post-Its, you could consider The Literary Gift Company a one-stop shop. They just have so much amazing stuff it’s hard to whittle it down, but my five picks would be their “Go Away I’m Tweeting” mug (pictured) for £9.95, which also comes in writing, editing and proofing variations, this “Unreliable Narrator” T-shirt, £14.95, Jane Austen typewriter earrings (other writers available too), £20, Haruki Murakami typewriter pin (other writers available too), £4.00 and this “I Could’ve Been a Novel” notebook, £6.50. They also do amazing literary-themed typography maps, like this one of the USA. Okay that was six… I’ll stop now. Just pop over there and look at everything, okay?
  4. I was going to have the audacity to put a Faber Academy self-publishing and social media course that I happen to be delivering (London, February, 3 days, £425, me!) in this slot—oh, look what I just did there!—but I decided to pop this adorable typewriter laptop case (€37.50) in here instead. It’s by Ted Baker, but I found it on
  5. Last year I blogged about my favorite movies for writers and so for a fun writer gift, why not buy a couple of them on DVD? My personal top 5 would be (links go to Stranger Than Fiction, Adaptation, The TV Set, Misery and 1408. Yes, the last two do not exactly work out well for the writers in them, but hey—they’re great movies.

And now for the bonus section. Of course a great gift for writers, aspiring or otherwise, is a book about writing, trying to be a published writer or the practicalities of building a book. Regular readers will know I have amassed a vast collection of such books, and therefore am in a great position to weed out the good from the useless.

Here are my personal faves, the ones I think you have to read, along with how much they currently cost on The Book Depository which as I’ve said before does free shipping everywhere, no matter how many books you buy

And for the self-publisher:

  • The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-Publishing by Alison Baverstock ($16.23 or 30% off)
  • Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of? by Jane Wenham-Jones—great for marketing ideas! ($9.42 or 39% off)
  • Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing by me ($15.93). Um, obviously.

So what do you think? Would you like to get some, any or all of these from Santa?

Later this week it’ll be Gifts for Coffee-Drinkers. You can re-live 2010’s exquisite home décor, too-good-to-open gift wrapping and adventures in calorie preparation—read: baking—by clicking here, if you like.

Help a coffee-addict in need of caffeine this Christmas: tell every new Kindle (or other e-reading device) owner you encounter about my cheap and occasionally amusing e-books, pretty please. I find a Post-It to the forehead works wonders. 

6 thoughts on “Catherine’s Xmas Gift Guide 2011: 5 Gifts for Writers

  1. Trish Groves says:

    Thanks, Catherine – I love the ‘Go Away I’m Tweeting/Writing/Editing’ mugs and typewriter laptop case in particular.

    Sadly, the I Could Have Been a Novel notebook is sold out. It’s ideal for NaNoWriMo participants, like myself, who have created a magnificent word count of zero for two consecutive years. Am hoping to top that next year, or perhaps go for the hat-trick.

    In the meantime, I’m consoling myself with a freshly-purchased copy of Results Not Typical, which I’m reading on my teensy Kindle iPhone app. (Santa, if you’re listening, please bring me a proper Kindle!)

    Thanks again for the inspired gift ideas.

  2. Laura Reese says:

    Thank you for sharing the awesome gift list for writers … I love the Literary Gift Co.

    A copy of Self-Printed should be in everyone’s stocking (or Kindle, or Nook, or you get the idea!)

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