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  • 2011’s Best Gifts for Authors and Small Business Owners

    Here are 7 suggested gift ideas for the tech-savvy brand-building authors and small business owners in your life.

    I tried to choose gifts that offer genuine day-to-day utility and brand-building value for today’s smartphone and iPad-carrying, brand-building authors and small business owners. But, I also wanted suggestions that also incorporated elements of engagement, personality, and surprise at a variety of price points.

    1. Moleskin Smartphone & iPad digital folio covers

    If you know an author or a small business owner, you’ve probably noticed they’re never far away from their iPhone, smartphone, and/or their Apple iPad.

    Email and online access are taken for granted in today’s connected world. But, it’s equally important to be always able to capture ideas, because ideas can turn up anywhere, and at any time.

    But, ideas are fragile, and can disappear as quickly as they appear.

    Although authors and small business owners routinely use there smartphones and iPads for taking notes. But, there are still times when hand-written notes are more convenient!

    That’s why I recommend these Moleskin’s digital folios cases for smartphones and iPads–they combine the best of digital and handwritten tools for taking notes and sketching.

    Moleskin has been creating top-of-the-line notepads and writing accessories for artists, authors, and inventors since the Italian Renaissance. Moleskin’s Folio Digital  Smartphone Cover and Digital Folio Tablet Cover for the Apple iPad offer protection from impact and scratches, jolts, combined with the always-there availability of a notepad and pen for writing down ideas.

    2. Apple iTunes gift certificate

    Apple iTunes Gift Certificates make excellent gifts for authors or small business owners. They permit recipients to purchase exactly what they want:

    • If they want pleasure, recipients can redeem their gift certificates for games, music, and videos for iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
    • If they want more mobile computing power, they can redeem the gift certificates can be redeemed for hundreds of mobile apps for writing, mind mapping, and social media engagement and tracking.

    For more information about iPad applications, see my recent Author’s Corner blog post surveying iPad apps. In another post, I described IA Writer, a “minimalist” writing application that makes it easy to concentrate on ideas and words without the formatting and menu distractions characteristics of most word processing software.

    Note: you can also purchase iTunes gift certificates from as low as $10 online, as well as in local drug store and supermarket–helpful if you get caught gift-less at the last minute.

    3. Subscription to Chuck Frey’s Mind Mapping Insider

    Mind mapping is a technique that authors and small business owners around the world use to planning, project management, presenting, and writing. It’s a topic I highly recommend to my coaching clients.

    Chuck Frey’s Mind Mapping Insider is an independent member-supported subscription site for authors, small business owners, teachers, and managers who want to become master mind mappers. Chuck is the publisher of the Mind Mapping Software Blog who has been comparing mind mapping software programs and sharing ideas and tips since 2006.

    Mind Mapping Insider subscription offers members:

    • Reports and tutorials explain advanced mind mapping techniques for writing and typical small business tasks in simple, step-by-step language.
    • Map templates help you to get started using these powerful techniques faster.
    • Interviews with mind mapping experts and notable users who use mind maps to make a difference.
    • Mind map analyses teach by example. Chuck describes what works well, and what could be improved so you better understand the characteristics of world-class mind maps. 
    • Video reports and reviews of mind mapping software.

    4. Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work

    Seth Godin’s bestselling Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?, introduced Steven Pressfield to a broad spectrum of authors and small business owners. Steven Pressfield  is a best-selling fiction author who described the origins, symptoms, and cures for writer’s block in The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. Seth called Pressfield’s book:

    “…The most important book you’ve never heard of.” 

    Recent, Seth Godin and Domino Project published Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work, another powerful look at the causes of author procrastination, self-doubt, and under-achievement.

    Do the Work is a very important book for authors and small business owners–and those who live with them.

    You can learn more about Do the Work in a recent Author’s Column post entitled, How to Write Your Brand-building Book in Spite of Yourself. Available in hardcover, audio, or Kindle formats, Do the Work is a unique combination of empathy, tough love, and practical ideas to help any author return to their book with increased confidence and energy.

    5.  Jonathan Field’s Uncertainty

    Two years ago, Jonathan Field’s first book, Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love, burst onto the writing and small business scene and became a bestseller.

    This year, Jonathan’s second book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, builds upon the latest research into creativity and productivity, offering a variety of perspectives and cognitive psychology tools for authors and small business owners who are often their own worst enemies.

    Uncertainty describes specific ideas and techniques which can help any author better understand the symptoms of fear-based procrastination so they can take proactive action to work around them. It’s unique in the breadth of tools and techniques that authors and small business owners can take to control their thinking and their work habits, maximizing the likelihood of project completion without compromising quality or unnecessary stress.

    Uncertainty describes both personal habits, like meditation, short writing sessions with frequent breaks, proper nutrition and sleep, and community habits like surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are facing similar challenges and opportunities.

    6. Michael Stelzner’s Launch

    Michael Stelzner’s new book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, is an excellent resource for authors and small business owners looking for a practical guide for creating brand-building online content creation and building a social media following.

    Launch’s title refers to the emphasis on content as the propellant needed that rockets need to lift off and escape from earth’s gravity.

    Launch describes hundreds of ideas and resources for authors and small business owners to use setting up a content discovery and content creation process, plus ideas and examples for efficiently distributing content online.

    In addition to detailed references to current blogs, books, and websites, the most interesting anecdotes describe Michael’s creation of the Social Media Examinar, the world’s largest online social media magazine.

    7. Joel Friedlander’s Self Publishing Companion

    These days, it seems that everyone is coming out with books about self-publishing and book promotion…but, few have done it successfully for as long as Joel Friedlander, author of A Self-Publishing Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish.

    Joel’s father was a successful typesetter and printer serving the largest New York City publishing houses, and Joel spent much of his time working with his father. He successfully self-published his own book over 30 years ago–which he continues to sell! Joel also went on to publish other authors.

    One of the first things you’ll notice in A Self-Publishing Companion, based on articles written for his The Book Designer blog, is the clarity and detail of the writing. No matter whether you’re looking for a gift for an experienced author, a new author, or a small business owner exploring ways to build their brand, A Self-Publishing Companion will provide new insights and examples.

    A word about these holiday gift ideas

    I’ve read every word in the above books, and my recommendations are not affiliate-links. Each and every gift idea is offered solely because it can help the authors and small business owners. No list of holiday gifts can ever be complete, of course, and I encourage you to share your gift discoveries and suggestions as comments, below.

    Author:

    Roger C. Parker’s Published & Profitable offers ideas and tools for writing a brand-building book. Download his free 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-publish a Brand-building Book.

    Roger C. Parker offers ideas, tips, and personal coaching to help you write your way to a strong personal brand, including a free workbook, 99 Questions to Ask Before You Start to Write or Self-publish a Brand-building Book.

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