For those of the Christian faith Christmas is a time of thanksgiving for, and celebration of, the gift of God’s Son to mankind (generic term) without who there would be no redemption. In the modern materialistic world many forget this despite it being the root of gift giving (a reminder of what God has done for people). However, this is not intended to be a dissertation on the topic neither is it intended to ignore the fact many are of different faiths or no faith. The aim is simply to remind about how gift giving came about and how authors and readers may replicate the principle in their own book related lives.
How authors may gift readers and how readers may gift authors are the two aspects to be considered here.
Authors Gifting Readers
This can be a bit of a tricky area.
There are various opinions about how authors connect with readers, especially when the reader has submitted a review. Some consider it inappropriate to respond to a review in any way. Others think it is only polite to thank the reader. Of course, the issue becomes a bit more convoluted where a review or other communication contains something negative. Nevertheless, there are times when it would seem appropriate for an author to connect directly with a reader but perhaps it will be best not to get into that here.
So, how may an author give to a reader without breeching aspects considered taboo by some?
- Thank a reviewer indirectly via a comment to the review post. (This avoids the direct contact some consider inappropriate.)
- Feature the review in a blog post, assuming the author has a blog, which they should. (Care should be taken with wording to overcome the potential for it to become an overbearing self-promotional post.)
- Thank the reviewer in social media posts, again avoiding making it an overbearing self-promotion.
- Feature the review in social media posts. (With the same limitations as above.)
- Share the review as an example of how one should be written. (Of course, only if it is well formatted and presented and covers all aspects considered relevant in a well rounded review.)
- Offer a free gift e.g. free copy of another book, short story, or otherwise as a thank you. (With changes in policy, especially Amazon, care is required to avoid the offer being considered a bribe for submitting a review.)
- If the author has ‘paid for’ services offer the reader free, or reduced fee, membership. (Appreciated most independent authors will not have such services.)
- Maintain a personal connection through regular sharing and posting but only where the reader has indicated a preference for this.
Readers Gifting Authors
Readers connecting with authors is, thankfully, far more acceptable than visa versa.
Some ideas on how a reader may gift an author:
- Write and post a review in retail sites, not just Amazon but also others where the book is available and which permit reviews to be added. (With Amazon, authors would value reviews being added to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and any other appropriate Amazon site e.g. Australia, Japan, etc. Takes but a few more minutes but will be very much appreciated.)
- Add review to online book related sites e.g. Goodreads, etc.
- Where the reader has a blog, feature the book and review in a post.
- Post a review in their own social media accounts and in groups they are members of and are relevant.
- Recommend book (only if they enjoyed it of course) to family, friends and colleagues.
- Thank the author direct for their effort and dedication. (Only if they feel comfortable about doing so.)
Regular internet users will no doubt have seen a number of articles and posts regarding gifts geared toward authors and readers. It has to be said though some are fun and interesting there are also those that are simply gimmicks or even plain nonsense. Nevertheless, where there is an actual connection (family, friend, colleague, etc.), some may seem appropriate.
No matter whether an author or reader, each appreciates an acknowledgment of their efforts, probably above everything else. Authors put a lot of work, effort, tears and sweat into producing their books and not just in the writing. Readers have taken time to read the book and, where done, to formulate, write and post a review. Recognition for, and of, their effort, is appreciated by most and will frequently be the best gift they can be given.
With few exceptions, people welcome a gift even if they are initially shy and embarrassed by it.
In what may often be a negative world, showing appreciation is a positive action that may lift the general social atmosphere not to mention giving the recipient a buzz.
It is not a weakness to say thank you.
The above are only some suggestions. No doubt several will be able to think of other ‘gifts’. In the spirit of giving and mutual support, they may like to mention these in a comment to this post.