bring-book-not-wineOur thanks to author Cash Kushel for this guest post on a “novel” idea!

Picture this: You are curled up in front of a fireplace with a glass of wine and a great  book. If you could only take one to a desert island…

I’m not trying to bash people’s love of wine. In fact, I have two nieces in the wine business. But how many times have you been invited to someone’s home for a barbecue, a party, drinks or dinner?  On those occasions, proper etiquette suggested bringing a gift for your host or hostess as you walked through the door. It could be a cake or a well baked pie. Often it is a bottle of wine.

The rub is that what you brought will most probably be consumed by you and the other guests. It’s possible your host gets to enjoy little or none of what you presented. Who brings a chocolate cake to a gathering other than a chocoholic? If you love sipping on a Cabernet it is doubtful you’ll bring Pinot Grigio.

Instead, bring a book to your host(s). What’s holding you back? Maybe you fear they have already read the book you might bring.  Let’s solve that problem.  While anyone could bring a book written by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Jodi Picoult or Dan Brown, your gift would have the cache of introducing your friends or relatives to an author they are unfamiliar with… YOU!

Buy a whole box of  book(s) and keep them on hand for sudden gift needs! Placing a book in a gift bag when you visit someone’s home makes a great impression. You can even send books to a friend with a message. Online booksellers will ship directly to the people you choose.

As an author I have the advantage of always having a stack of books at my fingertips. I inscribe them to my hosts with various witticisms and add my signature.

Now, if you’ve already pushed your book on all your friends and neighbors, consider partnering up with fellow authors. Each of you can “trade” a few books, giving you new material to gift your host.  Hand them the book and say, “I brought you this great book written by this up and coming author.”

Once they finish reading, they will always remember it was you who helped introduce them to a cast of characters they will never forget. Even if they remember you brought them wine they might be challenged to recall the name on the label. If you bring a book they will thank you later for introducing them to an enjoyable and unique reading experience. It’s exciting to share your discovery of a “new author” with a friend.

If you still insist on bringing a bottle of wine how about contemplating a pairing of sorts. Why not couple it with a good book? Bring your friends an unknown author and an interesting wine. All your friend will need is that fireplace…


Have a “novel” idea of your own? Share it with us!

Cash Kushel is the author of four books, including his newest release, Sense of Direction. Besides a successful career as a novelist, he is an award-winning professor at New York’s Fordham University Graduate School of Business, where he has been teaching for 25 years.

15 thoughts on “A “Novel” Idea: Skip the Wine, Bring a Book!

  • September 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Glad to see that my blog has been so well recieved. This guest blog was written from the point of view of us authors since it was posted on the Where Writers Win site. Thanks to Shari Stauch for giving me the opportunity to share it with all of you. All the comments and ideas you are expressing are great.

    When I originally wrote this blog and posted it on my site it was “Cash Kushel” centric. In other words, the point of view was to encourage my fans and readers. I was issuing a call to arms for them to stock up on my book by buying multiple copies. This way they would have a ready supply to give out as presents instead of the obligatory bottle of wine. So please take this as a suggestion for yourselves, and more importantly as something you would be willing to run by your most fervent readers. They can act as your own publicity team. Have them start their own “Bring Your Book” campaign!

    This way they can introduce their friends and family to an author they are unfamiliar with. What better way to share their passion (and your passion) with their friends.

    Cash Kushel

    • September 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Sandra. We have to get our books out there to people. Its like a company that is doing an IPO.
      We need our stock to be more widely held (and read and reviewed).

      Cash Kushel

  • September 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I love this idea! I wish my guests would bring a book rather than wine. Most of the time we just save the wine until the next time we have guests since it typically isn’t the kind we like (ssshhh…don’t tell my friends). I have my very first published fiction coming out next month in an anthology. So, what pairs well with ghost stories?

    • September 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Ah, and THERE you have it – so would I rather get books! As for pairing – how ’bout Hersheys, marshmallows and graham crackers – s’mores and ghost stories around a campfire works for me!

    • September 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Rebecca,

      Some people regift the wine! At least you still end up drinking it.
      What would break my heart is if someone regifted my book.
      But at least then it might be in the hands of someone who will actually read it.
      So I guess I can’t be too upset by that.

      I agree with Rebecca and Shari. I’d rather get a book as well.
      As for a pairing Shari’s idea is terrific, especially if we have the fireplace I referred to.
      Hey maybe there’s a wine called Casper. You can combine it with a friendly ghost.
      If not you can paste on your own label.


  • September 19, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Excellent Novel Idea. I’ve been giving copies of my books (Animals in Focus mysteries & nonfiction about dogs & cats) as gifts for years, but I don’t usually wrap/bag them. I will from now on! And I like the idea of pairings, whether wine or something else. Thanks for this!

    • September 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks Sheila,

      If your reader has a dog, some treats might be in order.
      Keep the ideas coming.


  • September 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

    A couple of years ago I self-published a children’s book, “The Dreamland Express”. I keep copies on hand and give them away as baby shower gifts. It’s a bed-time story so I include: a blanket, a stuffed animal, even some Johnson’s Bedtime Bath. The mother always loves it, and everyone else at the baby shower usually wants to see the book before they leave.

    • September 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm


      Great idea.
      I bet you must get invited to a bunch of baby showers. Who wouldn’t want to receive all those goodies.
      Hopefully the attendees decide to buy your book after it is passed around for all to see.


  • September 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

    This is an excellent novel idea! I am an author of a children’s book, Louey the Lazy Elephant and soon another book. I have four novels that I have written also and editing for publication. I have given out 20 or more books so far but never thought of your idea. I will use that idea when my novels come out. It is a way to spread the word.

    I find family like freebies but not all family will write a review for Amazon, etc. now if you can come up with a way to get people to buy and review that would be most helpful.

    I am the co-founder of a new site, PiA. We are trying to group together to form a supportive and informative and educational cohesive site. There are so many of us out there and some of us are floundering in the deluge of books. It would be helpful to know the secret to success. Is there one? Please check out our site. We have our own radio show on Sat. Mornings USA time.

    You can connect or download the show. Thank you for that novel idea. It was enjoyable!

    Best wishes,
    Janice Spina

    • September 19, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Hi Janice – pleased to meet you and we’lll definitely check out your website as well. The secret is… CONNECTIONS! Make them at every turn, with every outlet possible – make them meaningful, build trust. But most of all, have fun and be authentic – it isn’t about the most, but the most valuable connections… Write on!

    • September 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Janice.

      We can all use the help. Your efforts are appreciated.

      I’m careful not to give out too many free books. My experience is when I buy a book I’ve invested money into the process and will always read it. I’ve also budgeted the time to read it in my head as part of the purchase decision. When I receive an unsolicited free one – it tends to sit on my shelf. We all have limits on our time.

      Of course there is a finite number of people that you have an obligation to give your book too. But there are others as well. Now that I am on my fourth novel I know who has read my freebies. If they did not read the first one…fool me once shame on you. I also have the attitiude that since I gave someone three free books already maybe its about time they dig in their pocket and buy my fourth.

      Support the arts baby!

      Janice, i too am surprised that these same people who have read my book and consider me a friend do not write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or elsewhere. Its mind boggling. Its the same feeling I get when my graduate students walk in late to my class. How many times can I ask?


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