Business Cards

Early in my writing life, when I first joined NJRW, a writer spoke on the business part of writing.  You’ll need business cards, she said.  Keep them simple.  Show only essential information – name and contact details.  With a card you can begin networking.  You can keep in touch with other writers you meet at a conference.  You can enclose it in a thank-you note to a contest judge.  And, while an editor you meet may not ask for your card, you’re ready in case she does.

Despite early advice about keeping the cost down, I had my first card printed on high quality linen stock.  avery-business-cards1It was clean, classy, and included my personal home address – a no-no, I soon learned.  My email address was outdated a year so later when we changed internet providers.  Yeah, what was I thinking?  I ordered 500.   There are still about 459 aging nicely in my desk drawer.

I learned that it’s cheaper to buy paper and print the cards myself.  Avery has clean-edge business cards available online, or in office supply stores.   Using a template you can print your own card then break them up, 10 per sheet.  The clean edge looks much better than the mini-perforated edge cards, also available.  By printing your own cards before a conference, you can print only as many as you think you’ll hand out.  You can also personalize them for each use.

Keep in mind that your name is your brand.   That is what you want to be prominent on your card, whether you pay to have it printed or if you print it yourself.  Make sure the font is readable, and the card is not crowded.  Keep it orderly, professional.

I am still aspiring but I’ve written enough debs-card1novels to know the direction I’m taking.  A bit over a year ago, I contracted for a website design.  The design, by Stonecreek Media, Inc., captured my writing voice.  When I started Stringing Beads last June, I wanted to bring my website into it.   I customized this WordPress blog template with my copyrighted image from the top of my website.

A few months ago, I began thinking about upcoming conferences, especially WisRWA’s Write Touch (featuring Sherrilyn Kenyon) in June and RWA National in Washington, DC in July.  I wanted to bring my site image onto my business card as well.  Enter VistaPrint.  Going online, I designed a card using the image header Stonecreek had designed for me.  It didn’t take long, and the cost was low.  There are thousands of pre-designed template images also available.  This method worked for me.

If you are attending a conference or workshop this year, remember to make up some business cards to tuck in your bag.   Whether you use VistaPrint, PsPrint, NextDayFlyers.com, your local printer, or if you do it yourself on an Avery template, you’ll be glad you did.

→ As a fiction writer, do you have a business card?  What information do you put on the front?   Do you give out many cards when you go to conferences or workshops?   Has there ever been an occasion when you wished you had a card?  Please comment.

22 thoughts on “Business Cards

  1. Hi Deb:
    Seems like early in the game I was always forgetting to do this. And, I always needed them.

    Now I have two:
    One that just promotes a group writers’ blog.
    The other is my personal one. My daughter who does photography, ad design, logos, branding, etc. designed one for me that I love. I only got 250 this time and am looking forward to handing them out at workshops and conferences.

  2. I like VistaPrint for business cards, especially if you get one of their special offers. I keep things really simple with my name, a tag line, my website address and an email address. It’s also easy to change your theme and/or update details without becoming too expensive.

    I’ve noticed lately that some writers use a business card with the info of their latest book and theme each business card with their release. The business card size is great to hand out to people who are interested in your book. They definitely aren’t as bulky as postcards and bookmarks.

  3. Hi, Deb, the laser printer is our friend and so are Avery labels. Oh, dear! You’re left over with 459 business cards?!! What a great idea to send them as thank yous to judges. I had never thought of that. Yes, I think this would make a fine newsletter article! Thanks for the reminder we’ll need these for National

  4. Thank you all for your comments!

    Deb K., you’re fortunate to have a talented daughter to help with your business. And I’m sure she enjoys it as well.

    Shelly, I’ve heard that putting your latest book on a card is a good promo. Also, if a writer does have a lot of cards but doesn’t want to customize, writing the title and release date on the back is good.

    Yeah, Donnell, 459. It could be 463 or 451. Whatever the amount, I can’t bear to throw them out. They are pretty, but I realized that I don’t want my address out there, nor an old, non-functioning email. Maybe I’ll shred them for packing material.

    Thanks again!

  5. Deb,

    The first time I made cards I had a thousand made because they were cheaper. lol I think they were only $12.00 then. Now, I only get a hundred and they’re $13.00.

    I also had my home address and telephone on that first card, and I don’t do that any more.

    Great idea to send a card to the final round judges.

    Sandy

  6. I also did the same, using my website header with my business cards. Vistaprint is the best way of getting cheap cards, but remember to order them several weeks in advance. I forgot to order my cards for a recent conference and ended up having to go to Kinkos. It cost me $70ish and the cardstock was not as good as the ones you get from Vistaprint.

    As for what I put on mine, I kept it simple. I put my website emblem on the top right hand corner. I put my tagline “A dash of snark meets dark…” at the top middle. Beneath it my name, and beneath that “Romance Author”. Finally, on the bottom left corner, I put my website url, and the other side, my email address.

    I also have some spare ones, that I keep around in case I run out.

    Great blog, Debra!

    Arianna

  7. Deb, your cards are beautiful!

    I always forget to give out cards when I had them in the past. I won’t bother buying any for the June conference.

  8. I just bought my first business card. Since I did not do it weeks in advance, (like Arianna said about VistaPrint) I ordered online from Staples and then picked them up at the store. It was less than a day turnaround. I used one of their stock templates. It was very easy and cost around $30 for (I think) 200, which was the smallest amount I could get. I knew I’d be changing them once I got my website going.

    I brought them to a recent conference, where they were not in great demand, lol, though I did exchange with maybe a dozen people. I was just too busy to think about it most of the time.

    I did put the title of my book, and where it was available online, on the card. Why not? Free publicity.

    Carly

  9. I have biz cards with my tagline, website and e-mail address. I get them from vistaprint.com I have four or five different designs, a “romantic-type” design for my historical romances and a more of a “ghostly” design for my paranormals.

  10. I didn’t know about VistaPrint. It seems very popular.
    I like so much your business card and how you managed to create a cohesive image for yourself.

    I don’t have any business cards right now but when I need them, I’m going to search back to this post of yours, which is a great resource. Thank you.

  11. I print my own business cards, too. I purchased cards that have a preprinted image on them at Staples. Since I write romance, my cards have a flower on them. I also have some with a multi-colored border and when I was doing copywriting, I bought blank cards that matched the stationary and brochure paper I used.

  12. Great topic. My first cards were very plain. Just my name, my contacts, my agent’s contact, and my website. My new ones take an element of my first book for the background, but doesn’t have any different information. Except, and here is the kicker, I now write under two different names, my real one and this one. Now I’m wondering if I have to give everyone I meet two cards. A sort of split personality thing.

    I know I’ll be taking both cards to Nationals. I do make a point of giving out cards if it seems appropriate. I love it when other people give me theirs. I always write on the back of them as soon as I can, who the person was, the circs I met them in, and then I keep them in a little holder at home and divide them by type of person, bookseller, author, reader, etc. From time to time they come in useful.

    Oh, did I say I was obsessional as well as have multiple personalities.

  13. Great post and, as usual, so informative. I’ve checked out the two sites you mentioned I’m not familiar with.

    You have a gift for writing clear directions which most technical writers have trouble with. Duh! You’re not a technical writer! 🙂

    Any blogs in the future on bookmarks???

  14. I remember paying a printer to do my first set of business cards–most of which became obsolete shortly afterwards because NJ change the area code for my phone number. (That was in the day when we only had landlines.)

    For years I’ve made my own business cards. I love that I can print what I need and make changes as they occur. There have been times when I ran out and kicked myself.

    Business cards are a handy tool. Oh, and when I’ve had a book out? I printed up a sheet of return address labels with a picture of the cover, the title and my name and the release date and stuck those on the back of my business cards as needed. That way anyone who got a card got a reminder that I had a book out.

  15. Thanks again for posting everyone!

    Sandy & Ariana, I think I paid about $35 for those pretty little linen cards. Hate to think of cost now for the same quality of paper. Ariana, I love your “a dash of snark meets dark.” It’s an eye catcher.

    Thanks, Edie. I know what you mean about forgetting to give them out. You’re sitting and talking with old friends…who needs business cards? I look forward to seeing you in June.

    Carly, putting your title on the card makes sense. As for only giving out a dozen or so, I don’t think you need to give them out to everyone…just those where there’s a connection. What conference did you go to?

    Nancy and Ann, I love your idea of different cards for your different genres. You’re a person after my heart, Ann. There are times when it’s appropriate to be obsessional, and what would we writers do without the occasional multiple personality? 😉

    Lori, glad the info was of use to you. You’re like me…you hold on to scraps of info. Eventually, it’s useful. I’ll look forward to seeing your card someday. You have such a pretty site.

    Mary Jo, blogs on bookmarks, hey? Let me start selling my books first. 🙂 One step at a time. Perhaps Casey can write a blog on bookmarks in a few weeks. 😉

    April, so good to hear from you. Great idea about printing labels for the back of the cards! I’ve always admired your organization!

    Thanks again, everyone. I hope the comments keep coming. They add to our knowledge.

  16. VistaPrint or 123Print.com. I have about 5 different “old” cards and learned to get them in smaller numbers. My original ones I did on Avery. Then I was in the American Title contest so I designed a mock book cover and used that on cards from one of the two listed above. Then I went with a “pretty design” card until I sold. First book cover went on cards, now I have all 3 on the front of my card, titles/release dates, author quotes and contest information on the back.

    I send them with everything – paying my bills, paying at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, dentist, whenever I check out at anything that has a person in front of me. My covers are very eye-catching (thank you Art Department!) so I always get comments, plus the fact that I’m raffling off 3 beach getaways always is a starting point.

  17. Someone asked how authors handle pen names. Do you put both names on a card (real and pen), or only the name on your book? From a few comments here, it looks like authors make up a different card for each name. Any other thoughts on cards for pen names??

    Judi, great idea about giving them out. I heard almost the same thing a few years back. Like you, the author puts her bookmarks inside anything she mails out from home, including her bills (credit card, utility, mortgage). The companies are not shy about sending advertisements to her, so she reciprocates when she pays her bills. Someone has to open those envelopes. Chances are it is a woman, who just might read romance. Anyway, GREAT idea! Thanks.

    Judi, your beach giveaway is appealing! Anyone reading this, go to JudiFennell.com to read about it.

    Have a happy holiday all.

  18. Thanks for the link, Deb!

    I only use my pen name. The fact that it’s part of my real name helps, but it’s on everything – and I only use my PO Box, but I don’t put that on business cards – my website and my email address (or just the website if I don’t have enough room for both). But

    MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A “CONTACT ME” button that’s EASY TO FIND on your website. I can’t tell you how many people have it hidden in some drop down menu. Make it prominent – you WANT your readers to be able to contact you.

  19. I have two business cards, both of them the same, except for the inclusion of my home address and phone number. I keep the ones with my home address separate and hand them out only to agents and editors. The others only have basic contact information on them–they’re the ones I hand out to anyone else.

    I designed the cards myself, then had them printed at Office Depot. I had about 25 printed of each so that I wouldn’t feel bad if I needed to change them and throw any unused ones out.

  20. Pingback: Conference Talk « Stringing Beads

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