The question should be: Do you have your business card with you? Twice last year I met writers at social events (events not connected with writing) who had newly published books. One was independently published while the other woman had been published by one of the Big Four’s imprints. Each lady was excited about her new book, but when I asked for a business card so I would remember her name and the name of the book, the writer didn’t have a business card with her. (In one case she hadn’t had any made.)
I am terrible with names. I try to remember, but unless I can connect something unusual to a name, I’ll forget it. Or, I’ll remember a first name, but not first and last. So, sometime after meeting these two women, as I stood in a bookstore looking at stacks of novels, trying to remember the writer’s name so could at least see if the book might interest me, nothing came to mind. (Same was true when I was on Amazon.) What’s worse is I haven’t run into either of these women since those particular events.
If either woman had given me her business card, I could have slipped it into my pocket or purse and later looked at the information on the card and recalled our conversation. With that information, I could have looked for the book and possibly purchased the book. By not having a business card with them, they lost a potential sale.
A writer’s business card should not give any more personal information than you’re willing to share openly on your website or Facebook. I don’t recommend including your home address, or even the city where you live. If you want fan mail, rent a PO Box and list that address. Whether you include your phone number or not is up to you. Definitely include your email address (at least the one you use as a writer) and the URL of your website. Maybe your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites can be listed.
Whether you are a published writer or not, I suggest you include the word WRITER on the card. Sure, if you don’t have anything published, it’s a bit awkward when someone asks, “What have you had published?” but you can always say, “I’m working on….,” and give a short description of what you are working on. You never know when you might run into an agent or publisher who might be looking for something like that, and I’ve often met people who turn out to have exactly the kind of information I need for a work in progress.
If you are published, a picture of your cover on the card helps. Not only do I now have your name, but when looking for your book, I have an image. If you are multi-published, do you have a logo, picture, or image (your brand) that would help me recognize your work? It also helps if you can add what type of writing you do: fiction or non-fiction; romance; mystery; scifi; horror; etc.
There are on-line companies that print business cards for a relatively small cost. I find it best to order small quantities so I can change the design as new books are released or if I make changes in any of my information.
Now that you have a business card, stick a few in your purse or pocket. (There are cases that range from simple to ornate that you can use to carry your cards so they don’t get wrinkled or dirty.) And don’t be afraid to hand out your card. There are others like me who forget names. Help us remember who you are and what you write.