Jody asked last week the WHY of business cards.
To be honest, I still have a stack of them from last year that I never gave out. A BIG stack that have to be thrown away because I’ve changed my phone number and I don’t really like the style anymore.
Below are a few reasons WHY, in my opinion, you should have a business card:
- Repeat after me: I are a professional writer. Even if I’m unpublished, I need to act like a professional, dad gum it.
- An Agent/Editor might ask for one. Okay, so the chances are slim, but IF they want to remember you, very rarely if ever will they take a copy of your proposal. Sometimes they’ll take your one-sheet, but doubtful. Business cards, however, are easier to carry. It’s still a slim chance, but better to have one then to sheepishly say, “Uh, I don’t have one. Can I write my number on a napkin?”
- It is common for writer’s to share business cards. In fact, last year we did so just to say we gave them out, and it was fun. We compared each others and by the end of the conference, I had a neat little collection. The ones that had blog addresses on them, I visited.
- They are cheap. You can go to someplace like vistaprint.com and get a bunch printed for very little if any money. (They have free versions too…)
Okay, so now that I’ve convinced you to run out and get business cards (or you’ve rolled your eyes at me and told me to put a sock in it…) I’ll give you a couple of KRISTA tips, or ideas, for creating business cards. This is not an end all, and everyone has their own needs, so take ideas at will.
- You can design your own using a publishing software like Microsoft Publisher, this is what I did last year. It gave me control over what I wanted, and even though my business cards didn’t turn out EXACTLY how I wanted them, I was happy.
- You can also use a graphic designer to help with yours (similar to one-sheets) but that costs money. If you are trying to create a “brand” with your look though, this might be the way to go.
- You can use a pre-made template from Vistaprint.com or other Internet business card printers. Perfectly easy and acceptable (but don’t be surprised if you find someone else with a similar design.)
- What to Include:
- Your name (duh)
- Your job title. Mine is “Contemporary Romance Writer”. I don’t add “Christian” or “Inspirational” because it’s a Christian conference so I figured that was a safe assumption. Either way is fine though.
- Some people who have a slogan for their writing include that as well
- Your personal info: Schools of thought vary on this, but I put ALL my personal info on mine. Well, not like my SSN or DOB. But I have my home address, phone number, e-mail address. I’ve seen others that just list an e-mail. But the way I see it, if I’m a writer, I’m working from home. People will mail things there. If it bothers you, get a PO Box. A phone number, IMHO, is a must.
- Website/blog address. A must include for networking purposes
- Other Tips:
- Don’t spend a lot of money! You should be able to do this VERY cost efficiently.
- If your business card has a colored background, I think they look nicer on “glossy” finished paper. I had an all color one last year and I regretted not going glossy.
- If you can, get them professionally printed. The business card perforated sheets are okay, but leave noticeable edges that aren’t nice and crisp.
- Feel free to shove your business cards into friends hands at conference, uh, like me. I’ll take it, I promise! BUT! Please don’t do that to an agent/editor. They might not find it so fun. Only give upon request to them.
Questions? Comments? Anywhere you don’t agree with me, DO agree with me?
Thanks for explaining the reason for business cards, Krista! It makes a lot of sense. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to do this or not. Do published authors have business cards too? Or do they have something with their book on it? In other words, what changes with business cards between unpubbed and pubbed?
You've definitely given me a lot to think about today! I really need to write out my to-do list! That conference will be here before we know it!
I would guess business cards would be something important to have. Their relatively easy to design yourself (look what we writers have done with our blogs!!) and they don't have to be expensive.
I used Microsoft Publisher to design mine (for another business) several years ago and had them printed by an online publisher (which I can't remember the name of.) It wasn't too hard, so I, too, recommend having them. Like you said, Krista, you would at least have them for fellow writers you might meet.
I have a business card! I was pretty pumped when I got them in the mail. They were super easy to make and very cheap. Great post!
Great info to have! Makes perfect sense. I haven't done this yet, but I will before I hit my first conference.
These are great tips! And thanks for the link, because I had no idea where to even start! I'll definitely come back here when the time comes for me to make them and re-read this post!
My daughter collects business cards (has an album and everything) so when you see me at the conference, hand my your card!
I have business cards I really love. I designed and printed them myself, and I think they really capture me.
i got mine in the mail not too long ago. LOVE them…and felt so professional. i keep them in the same holder as my day job cards…never know when i'll need one or the other!
What a great post! Honestly, I hadn't thought of getting them until I read this. I always had them when I was in HR … but, not as a freelance writer. What a great idea … and love the humor you injected into it!
I got business cards a long time ago and pass them out to other writers at conferences and at my writers group etc. They are cheap!! Vistaprint too!
I have a great tip for those of you who do print your own. Take one of this fat, cheap nail files, hold about 15-20 cards in your hand (all even) and file those perforated edges. It's amazing how smooth those edges become and it gives the card a much more professional feel.
This is a very old convention nametag trick that I am intimately familiar with.
So glad the tips were useful to everyone, and congrats for those who already have theirs!!! I'm working for a bit on designing my new ones tonight… we'll see how it goes:-) I wanted to have them match my blog design a bit but am having ISSUES getting it to work!
I'm not sure if I'd get them unless I was planning on going to a conference. That's definitely the time to do it.
Jody… just realized I didn't answer your question. Yes, published authors have business cards. Probably MORE important for them, I would think anyway, especially if they do any freelance editing/writing stuff.
They might have book info on it, might not. Probably depends on the author. I doubt there has to be a change when you are published, unless you choose to. I can see where it would be a cool idea to include info about your books out on your business card, but as you get new books that would get out of date a bit. just my random, uneducated thoughts on the matter:-)
Just to quote you hun,
"Repeat after me: I are a professional writer."
Yes Krista. You are a professional. You ARE indeed!!!
Thank you so much for all those tips!! Vista Print is fabulous source for graphic designs and printing material…
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