It’s time for another Monday Marketing post.
I was recently asked what my thoughts were on business cards for authors. So I thought I’d do a post about it 🙂
Why would an author need business cards?
While we writers do much of our networking in the digital world, there is still something to be said for networking within the real world.
Authors who are published (or wish to be) need to remember this is a business and so promoting themselves and their books in all sorts of places is a necessary part of that.
It’s not just corporate executives that can use business cards. Even those of us in the creative arts can benefit from them.
Business cards are a way of sharing your contact information, but more than that they can be used to set an impression and show your professionalism as well as your personality.
What should be on your business cards?
The main function of a business card is to share information in a tangible way that can be kept and referred to later. They can be a great tool for marketing if used correctly.
Things to include on your business card:
Name & Title
This should be your full name (or full pen name). Make sure you include the title of Writer or Author.
If someone does not refer back to your card for a while it is a quick way of reminding them who you are.
Also, it is important to own the title of writer/author. Many writers, especially unpublished ones, still feel awkward claiming the title of writer. It’s time to get over that.
If you are a specific-genre writer, such as a horror writer or a YA writer, you may want to state that as your title.
If you haven’t set up an author website, make sure you do so before you get your business cards. Including your author website URL is a definite.
If you have a tagline for yourself, this is a good thing to include on a business card. Using the tagline from your current book is a possibility but it becomes connected to that specific book. Whereas a business card is better connected to you the author.
I mentioned we do most of our marketing online so let’s drive those in-person meetings to our online places. This means we can continue to build those connections.
Pick a few of your social media platforms, your most active platforms and include them on your card.
You might want to include your author email address if you want people to be able to contact you directly.
However, this is not necessary. You can always include a contact page on your website if you want people to be able to reach you.
This is a time to be creative! Your business card does not need to be plain, you can include imagery and colour.
This can be your author photo, covers of your books, a logo or just some decorative artwork that represents you or your genre. Have a think about what you want your business card to look like.
If you are using images or graphics that are not your own, make sure they are not copyrighted.
Instead of an image or included with the image, you could always add in a snippet of your writing. Just a line or two. This gives people a glimpse of your style and voice.
Things to consider
Use an easy to read font. You don’t want people discarding your business card because they can’t read any of it.
That goes for colour scheme too, choose colours that make the text readable.
Whether you are making the cards yourself or hiring a company/designer, make sure to get quality card.
Remember, you want to appear professional and nothing says amateur than bad quality, flimsy and cheap.
Print quality pictures
If you have any images on your cards, make sure they are high-resolution. You don’t want images that are stretched or pixelated.
DIY or Designer
Think carefully about whether you want to design and print business cards yourself or if you want to hire a designer/printing service. If you don’t feel confident with your ability, then hire a professional.
Don’t automatically go for the cheapest print service or designer. Make sure to check out reviews and testimonials. Get recommendations or samples if possible.
The last thing you want to do is end up buying 500 business cards and finding they are sub-par quality.
What to do with the business cards
When most people think about business cards it is handing them out at parties, conferences and networking events.
If you go to parties, conferences, networking events then definitely take the cards along with you. But there are more places your business cards can be used.
There are times when you may want to have them on you. If you’re doing a book signing, at a writing conference, at a reading, meeting with agents, doing a book tour etc.
If you are comfortable with chatting to people and openly discussing your book, then this can be a great time to pass on your business card.
Don’t push your cards on people, let the conversation move organically and just offer them casually when the time is right.
Leave the odd one in a bookstore, slip them inside a copy of your book or on one of the tables. Slip one inside of a magazine that might be read by your target audience.
Buses & trains
If you use public transport, leave the odd card on the seat when you leave. Many people who travel by bus/train read during their commute.
Cafes & coffee shops
Another place were readers can sometimes be found. Leave one tucked between the condiments, leave one on the table or windowsill.
What are your thoughts on business cards for authors?