Here are eight Christmas gifts for the writer in your life – and only one of them costs any money at all.
Just by reading this, you're giving gift #7. So thank you and have a very Merry Christmas.
1. Buy their books
This is pretty obvious. It's also the only thing I'm going to suggest that will cost you money, but with many Kindle books setting you back less than the price of a cup of coffee, it surely can't be the money that's putting you off. Go on – once you've bought it an e-book will sit on your Kindle until you get around to reading it. If you enjoy reading blogs, free reads on the Internet, and all the other stuff that writers do without actually getting paid, you don't even need to read the book. Just buy it and consider it your contribution to the arts.
2. Read their books
Okay, I just said that you should buy the books even if you don't read them. But authors really do appreciate being read. And if you get a book out of the library that helps the author too. For more about libraries and how you can help your author friends get their books more widely available, check out last week's blog.
3. Review their books
You know how much writers like getting reviews. And, by now, you should know how important they are. It's Christmas: the season of giving. Give an author a review. You can read more about this HERE.
4. Talk about their books
You've read a book and you've enjoyed it. Tell your friends. They don't have to buy it; they don't even have to read it. But just talking about it helps get a buzz going. And maybe they will read it and enjoy it and then they'll thank you for telling them about it. It's like karma and stuff, man!
5. Like them on Facebook
Most authors have a Facebook page. Mine is at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/. It's always nice to be "liked" and apparently publishers care about this sort of thing.
6. Follow them on Twitter
I'm not a huge Twitter fan, but I have an account (it's @TomCW99) because it's the law, apparently. If you follow me, you can re-tweet my tweets. You may even enjoy some of them. Photographs of cute animals: what's not to like?
7. Read their blogs
Oh, wait. You're doing that already. Well tell your friends to read it too.
8. Smile and wave
I blog about once a week and I know that quite a lot of people read me because Google tells me so (and would they lie?) But people don't often respond in the comments section below. It's lovely when they do. It means I'm left with less of an impression that I'm talking to myself. I read everything that people write here and I generally reply if there's anything sensible I can say.
It's lovely to hear from readers, whether through the blog or on Facebook or Twitter. I know I'm not the only author who feels like this. Why not just say, “Hello” to a favourite writer? Or even me. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, there you are. Eight ways to make a happy writer this Christmas. But whether you do them or not, whoever you are and whatever you're reading, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for this time of year.