Business Cards

I need new business cards.

card

If you’re a writer, whether you’re published or not, business cards are important. Even before you’ve sold a book, you need to be carrying your cards with you. If you attend a writers’ meeting or conference, a business card is a must. You simply never know when you might meet someone who may want to contact you in the future. Sure a bookmark is nice, but a business card is easy to slip into a wallet or purse, or paperclip to a pitch for your new book.

If you’re a published writer (even if you’re self-published. Or maybe especially if you’re self-published), you definitely need a card.

Why? Because you never know when you might meet another writer, agent, or editor (especially at a conference) who would like some way to contact you. You never know if the person cutting your hair, sitting next to you at an event, or attending a party you’re at, might ask—after discovering you’re a writer—if you have a web site or are on Twitter or Facebook or any of the social media.

In the last six weeks I’ve given my card to people during a Christmas gathering, a writers’ meeting, to a librarian, and to the woman who cut my hair. I always try to have a few cards with me.

So what should you have on a business card?

When I first started writing, I put way too much information on my cards. Back then I planned on handing them to agents or editors, so I wanted them to know how to reach me. Soon I discovered lots of people wanted to know if I had a business card, people I’d never met before, and I realized I didn’t really want my home address that visible. Also, over the years the Internet has become more prevalent and an email address has become a better way of letting people contact me.

Nowadays, I do put my phone number on my card. (Cell phone.) and I do use my personal email address. (Some writers use a secondary email for their business cards so only family and friends know their personal email address.) And I put my web address on the cards. My hope is that will bring strangers to that site so they can see what books I have written and what is available.

With my last cards (see above), I put an image of my most recently published mystery, which gave color to the card and also, I hoped, would help the person holding the card, find the book at a bookstore (either a physical or on-line store).

Now I need to decide what to put on my new cards. Some writers I’ve noticed use generic images. Some, like I did, use a book cover image. Others use a self-portrait. (Those writers, I’ve noticed, are young and very pretty.)

In addition to the basic information (Name, phone number, email address, and web address) some writers put how to contact them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Some indicate the type of book they write: mystery, women’s fiction, erotica, poetry, etc., some include several titles, and some add a short quote from a review and/or how/where to purchased their books.

What I’ve noticed is (and this may be due to my age), light colors and small print are difficult for me to read. Dark print and pure colors stand out, catch my attention, and are easier to read. Getting a lot of information on a card can backfire if the information is too small to read.

On-line at VistaPrint.com I can order 250 cards for $10. Or…I can get fancier cards—brilliant colors, metallic finishes, raised print, and more—250 cards for $25. At GotPrint.com I can get 500 cards for $8.50. At PrintStaples.com I can buy 250 cards from $15.00 up to $43.00, depending on how fancy I want to get. At Us.Moo.com it will cost me $20 for 50 cards, but they will be printed on both sides. Cost goes up if I want fancier paper, and 200 “classic” cards runs $70.

Then again, I may go to one of the nearby print shops. I don’t know what they charge, but there I can talk to a real person. We can work out a design that is personal. Hey, that might be fun.

Ah, decisions.

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19 Responses to Business Cards

  1. Peg Cochran says:

    This makes sense. After awhile (like now–as of March I will have six books in print) bookmarks don’t make as much sense. They are out of date practically as soon as you get them. Plus all that info is on my web site, and if my web site address is on the card…

    • Maris Soule says:

      By the way, Peg, congratulations on all of your sales. I remember when I first heard you read a scene. I knew then it was only a matter of time before an editor realized what a “catch” you would be.

  2. Kathy Crouch says:

    I had some really nice ones done at Vista Print last summer for Nationals. I had some for my tax business made also. I loved them. I need to see about ordering some more.

  3. Maris, putting one’s photo on a business card helps the recipient remember whose card it is. I have my photo on the back of my card and contact info on the front. I agree with you that many fancy or tiny fonts are tough to read.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Joni, you have a good point about the photo helping the recipient remember who gave me the card. I’m beginning to think the two-sided card is the way to go. Thanks for your input.

  4. If you don’t want to use a book cover, something that depicts what you write is always good. I use the Rocky Mountains on my business cards. I think trading cards are also great because the ARE the book cover with all the pertinent information on them. You hand one to “whoever” and they see your book cover, plus on the back is a short synopsis of the book as well as e-mail and web site addies. Trading cards are really cheap, too.

  5. Kind of sad bookmarks have become obsolete. I agree business cards are a must. Another way for us to be creative when we design them.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Margo, I wouldn’t say bookmarks are obsolete. I still use author bookmarks to keep my place in a physical book, but if I am at a conference or retreat and receive dozens of bookmarks, most will go into the recycling pile. Also, with more people using e-readers, the physical bookmark isn’t necessary. More than that, however, is if I’m personally carrying bookmarks in my purse, chances are by the time I want to give one to someone, the bookmark is a mess. Wrinkled. Marked up. Ragged looking. On the other hand, I have a business card holder that slips into a side pocket of my purse that keeps my business cards looking good. (Same is true for me with Trading cards, Rosanne. I don’t find them useful, I’m certainly not into collecting them, and if I carried them around, they’d be a mess in no time.)

  6. I have generic business cards, Maris, since I write in two different genres under two separate names. I put my two author names, and the pertinent info for both on the front, i.e. website, blog page, FB, etc. The back is blank. Maybe I should put photos of the two authors on the back. Or one on the front and one on the back. Or I could just leave it alone.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Loralee, how can you keep yourself straight? I have enough trouble with just one name. I guess it’s great that we have so many choices. I’m sure you’ll figure out what’s best for you.

  7. Melissa Keir says:

    I agree about the importance of business cards. I just got two different ones designed. I used Zazzle and the quality was okay but I got a ton on the cards, both sides and felt that they did a good job for only $20.

    I’ve gotten some before at Moo.com and loved the quality but they were obsolete because of the cover changes.

  8. Ah, yes. The business card conundrum. I have my name on one side, then my email, website and tagline on the other. Simple but easy!

  9. Lucy Kubash says:

    When I ordered business cards, I wanted to put my info all on the front and something useful on the back. Something that would make someone be less apt to just toss the card. I considered a calendar but that would be outdated in time. I finally settled on a tip chart. It’s handy for seeing at a glance how much tip to leave when dining out. The only downside to it is the print is quite small. Have fun with choosing what will be on your cards!

  10. Business cards have become hugely important in practically every career path I’ve followed through the years. You want to stand out in someone’s mind.

    I’ve seen several cards that have QR codes on the back that lead to an author’s most recent release. I think that’s pretty cool if you’re going two sided. :-)

  11. Terry Odell says:

    My cards have my logo (with 13 books out, it’s too expensive to keep changing my business cards – I use bookmarks to showcase my series) All I have is my email and website, but I’m thinking about getting a QR code next time I order. I use Printing For Less and their quality is exceptional. Glossy cards, heavy stock — it’s obvious when you’re at an event and can compare quality. (I can also give a promo code to anyone who wants to order from Printing For Less for a substantial discount on a first order.)

    Terry
    Terry’s Place

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