Saturday, 23 December 2017

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas from Lev Butts

It's the most wonderful time of the year when, baby, it's cold outside, and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. Yep, it's Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice. And what better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, champion of the poor and oppressed, than engaging in a heartwarming celebration of gross materialism?


With that in mind, I am here to give you a couple of last minute gift ideas for that writer in your life.

1. Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books by Derek Murphy 


Writers love books, or at least they should, otherwise, they are in the wrong business. Here's a book about book design for independent writers. There are a plethora of books out there about writing, but not as many about designing covers, which is a shame, because despite adages about judging books and covers, a well designed cover can be the major selling point for an author, especially for readers unfamiliar with the author's work. I bought my first Neil Gaiman book not because of his delightful use of prose, but because his cover for Neverwhere immediately got my attention and drew me in:


Yes, I read the opening pages first and fell in love with the prose, but I never would have looked if not for that cover.

And Derek Murphy is no fly-by-night charlatan either. He has a Ph.D. in literature and is the author of several young adult sci-fi and dark fantasy novels in addition to his books on self-publishing and marketing.

The book is only $2.99 on Kindle.

2. Arc Customizable Notebooks


If you know a writer who likes to write longhand first drafts, this is the gift for them. Several of my friends fill notebooks upon notebooks with their plot notes, research, and early drafts. This one, though, is, as its name suggests, customizable. You can add paper as you need it, lined or blank or a combination. You can choose a plastic or leather cover. You can put in dividers with or without pockets. And most important of all, they're relatively cheap for their high quality, starting at $7.99.

3. Scrivener


If your writer is more virtual than manual, Scrivener is a kind of electronic notebook with a kick. As it says on its website

Scrivener puts everything you need for structuring, writing and editing long documents at your fingertips. On the left of the window, the ‘binder’ allows you to navigate between the different parts of your manuscript, your notes, and research materials, with ease. Break your text into pieces as small or large as you want – so you can forget wrestling with one long document. Restructuring your draft is as simple as drag and drop. Select a single document to edit a section of your manuscript in isolation, or use ‘Scrivenings’ mode to work on multiple sections as though they were one: Scrivener makes it easy to switch between focusing on the details and stepping back to get a wider view of your composition.
You can keep all kinds of research together, pictures, article, useful quotes, under one section for ease of retrieval. Essentially, it is everything you need to craft a new book: Word Processor, notebook, Pinterest. And it works over various platforms: desktop, smart phone, and tablet in both PC and mac.

It's a bit pricey: about $45.00, but there is a free trial and an educator discount.

4. Bourbon and Cookies


Because who doesn't like Bourbon and cookies.

Make mine Maker's Mark and Macadamia.

So that's it. Those are my best bets this year for writerly Christmas presents.

Better hurry: You have two days left.

You could also get them this, but I'm sure they already have it.

3 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Excellent suggestions, Lev (but I'll stay in Bah humbug mode). Happy Xmas all the same.

Reb MacRath said...

Gosh, I wish I'd seen this before Christmas! But for New Year's I'll check out the Arc.

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks to Lev, I hurried across town to Staples today to check out their Customizable Notebook System today. Sold, without too much help from the befuddled sales gent. Well, the idea looked good, though neither of us could figure out how to remove a block of pages, then insert 50-100 more. I bought A 5.5"X8.5" notebook and a few accessories, confident that I could figure the system out, with a little help from YouTube. Sure enough, tutorials abounded and I'm ready to put my new blue ARC to work tomorrow on the sequel to my upcoming mystery.