5 Best Christmas Gifts for Writers

Christmas gifts writers

Just because writers typically don’t make lots of money doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy nice things. But if you’re not a writer who understands what wordsmiths find lovely, or if the writer in your life already has a ton of what they need (e.g., a brand new laptop), what Christmas gifts do you buy?

Based on my total prejudice, these are the Christmas gifts for writers I’d recommend shelling out cash for.

Masterclass subscription

Most writers are researchers and learners on some level. (I once spent almost a month researching the effects of gunshots.) They easily can get pulled down Google search rabbit holes as they create drafts. But sometimes, they want to learn things that are unrelated to the work at hand. And trying new hobbies gets them away from the computer so they can remember life is more than writing. Masterclass (or a similar service) exposes writers to many topics and skills. Those topics and skills can find their way into books but have genuine value in real life. The fact Masterclass also has courses led by some of the world’s best writers is just a bonus.

ISBNs / Production services

An International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is a number from any affiliate of the International ISBN Agency (e.g., Bowker). It serves as an identifier for editions of print books and related materials (e.g., audiobooks). Libraries, distributors, and other agencies use ISBNs to verify what works they’re buying or sending into the world. Traditionally published authors usually don’t have to worry about securing an ISBN because the publisher handles it. But if you self-publish, getting ISBNs becomes your responsibility.

Every edition of a book requires its own ISBN. Because most books have multiple editions (e.g., audiobook, hardcopy, paperback, revised), writers can blow through ISBNs pretty quickly. A set of 10 ISBNs runs around $300 as of this blog’s publication and is a significant savings compared to the $125 price tag on a single number. That set price makes 10 ISBNs a generous Christmas gift without necessarily breaking the bank. Bulk buying continues to improve costs, with packages of 100 ($575) and 1,000 ($1,500) ISBNs available for those who want to publish many works for themselves and others. Most self-published writers will appreciate any support in reducing their upfront costs. ISBNs are one of the most foundational expenses to tackle.

If the writer in your life has taken care of their ISBNs already, don’t fret. There are plenty of other costs to pick up for them. Consider paying for some editorial hours, or chip in to hire someone to do professional cover art. If they want to produce an audiobook, pay for some studio time or narration services. Alternatively, invest in professional recording equipment they can use in their own recording room. You also can cover expenses such as updated style manuals, travel expenses, Canva (easy to use for creating book covers, content for social media book marketing, infographics, sellable PDFs, etc.), or even clothes for public readings and interviews.

Artisan shop cards

Sure, you can get cool stuff on Amazon. But there are plenty of other independent artists and creators who don’t use that platform. By getting away from the big retailers, you often can find people and small businesses who do a better job at making truly niche Christmas gifts or other products for writers. The writer in your life can use their gift cards with these sellers for custom orders on everything from cosplay gear to one-of-a-kind character plushes and notebooks. Mugs, therapy gloves, pendants, fidget pens, and other options are often bestsellers. The same artisan concept applies to indie bookstores, which often cover titles bigger sellers won’t or carry hard-to-find editions.

Writer’s retreat

At the most basic, this can look like paying for a hotel room for a day so the writer in your life *finally* can have the peace and quiet they need to crank out a couple of pages. But if you can afford a more formal event, a writer’s retreat provides your writer with the opportunity to focus. It also allows them to network with other authors, agents, and publishers. Because writing tends to be such a lonely craft, the opportunity to be around others who “get” wordsmithing is worth its weight in gold.

And don’t think the retreat has to be in person. One of the most meaningful retreats I attended was for Christian authors. It was held online during COVID. Because they did such a good job of organizing and being authentic with their speaker messages, the event left me inspired despite still being in my living room. The goal with a retreat regardless of venue or medium just needs to be offering time set aside to learn, connect, and dive into a draft.

Author’s Guild Membership

The Author’s Guild offers a range of support for writers at different career levels. If your writer is just starting and hasn’t published yet, they can qualify for the Emerging Writer Membership. This membership option gets them started with basics like building a website and advice about social media. As they earn more money from their writing or get publishing contracts, they can opt for higher-level memberships that offer additional help, such as contract review. As with retreats, membership also can provide good industry support through events with the AG’s regional chapters.

If you’re looking for a common thread that ties all of these Christmas gifts together, it’s the opportunity for the writer to improve, feel validated, and be authentic in who they are. All writers will appreciate treats like an ebook reader. But the best gift you can give is a clear demonstration that you believe in them and what they’re doing. If your writer already has all of the above gifts taken care of on their own or through others, use that principle as your guiding compass to select other great options.