Do You Have a Business Card?

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.

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32 Responses to Do You Have a Business Card?

  1. Excellent advice, Maris. I have a plethora of business cards because I keep updating the design lol. Because I’m multipublished and a hybrid author, my business cards reflect my brand, and I have postcards for my books, one design
    for my mysteries and one design for my romances.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Betty, I can understand why you use your brand on the business cards. You are one busy writer. One of these days maybe you could be a guest on my blog and describe what you put on your postcards and where you send them. (Hint hint.)

  2. I did have business cards made when I first was published and then forgot all about them. Now my day job- I would never forget my card. I’ll have to do better!

  3. Great post!
    Good luck and God’s blessings

  4. Good advice! Thanks, Maris.

  5. Bonnie Alkema says:

    You are so right! And a good reminder, Maris. I need to order some.

  6. I use bookmarks with the cover and blurb , my name on the book. I definitely will consider a better solution although I usually scroll a friendly hello and my name, email etc on the back of the bookmark.
    Thanks for an important post, Maris.

  7. Vicki Batman says:

    I do! Two kinds. A regular business card. And I do cards with my covers on one side and book information on the other. Give plenty of those away.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I also used to have two types, Vicki, but I discovered leaving my address off wasn’t a big deal. And now that I have a winter and summer address, it works best not to include that.

  8. Great advice, Maris. I promise…

  9. I confess–I’ve never had a business card made up. I thought of doing it but was talked out of it. It does seem like a good idea.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I’ve found them extremely helpful, Jacquie. As I said, if you use an on-line company like Vista, they’re not very expensive. I design my own which mostly involves using a book cover and then following their template.

  10. Melissa Keir says:

    Great Advice and a wonderful reminder. 🙂

  11. Meghan Stuart says:

    Sounds like a great idea. Even though I am unpublished, it never hurts to have one. Like you said, you never know who you will run into. I’m going to look into it now! Thanks!

    • Maris Soule says:

      As I said, Meghan, even if you are unpublished, having one often helps make contact with professionals who can provide information for your writing. Having a business card helps you look professional.

  12. Diane Burton says:

    This is a great reminder, Maris. A lady at book group last night learned I was an author and wanted to write down my name so she wouldn’t forget. I whipped out my card for her.

    Hubs & I were on vacation at the Soo Locks last fall. I asked the lady at the info desk a lot of questions, research for a new book. To prove I was a writer, I wrote down my name & phone #, hoping she wasn’t going to sic Homeland Security on me. I got 4 feet away before I had a “duh” moment. I had a biz card. Went back & gave her one. You never know when you might need a card to give away.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Diane, those two examples are exactly why I’ve found a business card important. I’m sure giving the business card to the lady at the info desk helped satisfy her that you were, indeed, a writer.

  13. Lucy Kubash says:

    Reminds me I need to order new cards, as the ones I have are very outdated. I think the business cards with my website address, social media links, and email offer enough ways to connect. I do like making postcards for each book. I often use the ones I’ve collected from other authors as bookmarks.

  14. Carole Price says:

    I have business cards and postcards that I carry with me and leave at conferences.

  15. Sue Myers says:

    One thing I have learned by trial & error, is to make a note on the back of the card where I met the person and anything else important. Also, I agree with the other authors, don’t leave home without your business card/postcards. Thanks again for a great post.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Good points, Sue. I’ve often done that, especially when I’m at an event where I meet several people. A quick note on the back of their card reminds me if I promised to send them something, and a note on the back of a card I give them might remind them to send me something.

  16. Sharon says:

    Another great idea to put on my To-Do list! Thanks!