by Vivian Zabel
Why business cards?
Not all writers/illustrators/editors/publishers have business cards, but here is why they should:
1. They can pass a business card around at conferences, almost everywhere, such as leaving them places, like at restaurants and banks.
2. give a stack to relatives or friends with “industry connections”
3. bring them to author events (especially handy for the chronically shy).
4. business cards provide unpublished authors with some much needed validation. Just because a writer usually work in fuzzy slippers does not make her any less of a professional, and now she can have a business card to show it.
5. business cards give all professionals a professional appearance.
A business card is going to be a reflection of the writer and should communicate his best qualities. Authors/illustrators/editors/publishers should look for sharp designs that reflect the genre or style and avoid busy graphics.
Now, the money factor, business cards don’t have to be expensive. Below are three rather inexpensive sources:
1.VistaPrint offers 250 free cards. Paying the extra money to get a double-sided card will remove the
VistaPrint promo line and look more professional.
3.Zazzle’s business cards start at $16.95 (for 100 cards), and according to some who use Zazzle cards,they
have some of the best designs for writers around.
Properly done, business cards quickly state not only who you are but what you do – write (or edit, or take photos, or whatever combination of skills you want to market). Business cards provide an opportunity for additional communication. When people take my card (the front and back are right here) and look at it, they usually either ask questions or comment on the image. Cards let people find you again – both professionally and socially.
Your cards should have, at a minimum:
§ Your name
§ Your job title
§ Your website
§ Your phone number
§ Your email address
By job title, use a word or phrase that states you are a writer or illustrator or editor or publisher. For example,
author, editor, publisher
Those are my three specialties. If you don’t have a specialty, simply add Writer or Freelance Writer.
Adding one’s phone number and email address makes it super easy for a prospective client to contact her. People should add their website to give a way for anyone to check their professional credits. If a person has his physical address on his website, he doesn’t need to add it to his business card – people can get it from the website.
A card’s design should be clear. It can be a challenge to get all the information wanted on the card in a way that looks good and is readable, but getting it right is worth the trouble.
Pay particular attention to the typestyle, size and color. A serif style is easiest to read, and make it large enough so even aging eyes can see it clearly. Watch the color… the type color must stand out enough against the background to be easily read.
For a little extra money people can use the back – can even put a mini-resume there. Of course, a person can leave the card blank to hand write a phone number there for certain people, making them feel special.
Once cards are in hand, we shouldn’t leave them in the box. We should keep some with us at all times. One tip from a writer is “In fact, I often hand people two business cards and saying something like, ‘one for you and one to pass on’.”
People love free things; and at book signings and book festivals or left at libraries and bookstores, when people can pick up a bookmark with information about a person, his book(s), publisher, etc., they will remember every time they use the bookmark.
Bookmarks shouldn’t be too cluttered, but should be pleasing to the eye and easily read. They should be attractive, but not gaudy. The bookmarks (at least on the back) should have our websites and contact information.
I go through Vista Print, have rack cards printed that are actually three columns of my bookmark, front and back (be sure front and back line up), and then I cut the three apart to create three marks per card.
There, two more ways to promote ourselves.
Vivian Zabel, author of Stolen