In honor of the holiday shopping that gets into gear this week:
Ten Things Under $25 That Make Great Writer Gifts
1. 100,000 + Baby Names by Bruce Lansky: (cost: from B&N.com, $11.65) The king of baby names books has put out a spectacular new edition that claims to be the most complete ever printed (I have a copy and it's like a name Bible.) Lansky includes interesting lists of most popular names by year, naming trends, and a worksheet to determine the right name. Writers often use baby name books to find names for our characters; this one is a true gem.
2. Art.com (cost: $25.00 or less) For posters, prints and framed art, you just can't beat Art.com. Pick out something inspirational for your favorite writer to gaze upon, or give them a gift certificate so they can go shopping.
3. Bookstore Gift Card: (cost: $25.00 or less) Pick one up at your favorite book store and slip it into your Christmas Card; you're done. Online booksellers like B&N.com offer electronic versions which they e-mail to the recipient. There isn't a writer in the world who doesn't love, cherish and covet bookstore gift cards.
4. Fountain and Specialty Pens: (cost: various) I personally recommend this site because I've loved every pen I've bought from Norman (the owner of HisNibs) and his customer service is outstanding. Many affordable pen and pen accessory gifts to be found here, like the Hero '50 Series, currently priced at $12.00 - $15.00 each.
5. Handheld Voice Recorder: (cost: from Buy.com, $23.90 plus free shipping) A voice recorder is a big help for writers who like to dictate notes, talk out dialogue, or muse out loud; also for handicapped writers like me who can't always use a pen comfortably.
6. Journals: (cost: various) We need something in which to chronicle our writing journey, blow off steam or just ponder the meaning of life, and a journal does the trick. I go through five to ten journals per year and I recommend Paperblank Book Company -- they make some of the most interesting and beautiful journals on the market, with most priced under $25.00.
7. Music: (cost: various) I often give CDs of music that inspires me as gifts to writer friends; the one I've given out most this year is Nickelback's Silver Side Up. One of the better buys in this year's holiday boxed sets is Mozart 250 - A Celebration.
8. Office Depot Gift Cards: (cost: various; available online in $10.00 to $25.00 amounts) Next to bookstore gift cards, writers love these the most, because we go through office supplies like nobody's business. Office Depot ships the card for free and it never expires.
9. Visual Thesaurus Online Subscription: (cost: $19.95) I've been bullying people for years to check out ThinkMap's Visual Thesaurus, which is unique and very inspirational. The software download or CD is a bit more pricey ($39.95) to buy, and an online subscription gives your writer a year to play with it.
10. Subscription to Writer's Journal Magazine: (cost: special offer from WJ, $15.00 for 1 year) I think WJ offers the most practical info for working writers, and their holiday subscription special gets your writer a year of issues for 50% off the newstand price.