How to promote yourself with business cards

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 🙂

Title Image: How to promote yourself with business cards.  Image: Man holding out a card

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  Many writers, especially unpublished ones, still feel awkward claiming the title of writer.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.

Website

If you haven’t set yourself up an author website, make sure you do so before you get your business cards.  Including your author website URL is a definite.

Tagline

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.

Social Media

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.

EmailYou 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.

Pictures

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.

Sample writing

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

Font

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.

Quality card

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.

When chatting – 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.

Bookstores – 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?

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Thanks so much for reading.  Please share your thoughts about business cards for authors in the section below.  Do you have business cards?  Where do you hand them out?

Happy writing

Signature & logo of Ari Meghlen

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15 thoughts on “How to promote yourself with business cards

  1. I was just talking about this with my friend the other day. People have told me to create business cards but I’m not sure what to do with them. It’s something I’m looking into though.

  2. Yay! Ari. This was great to confirm I’ve done the right thing. I had some printed after I published the first novel. Me and my hubby designed it together including most of your tips above. I keep some on me in my bag and some in the car too. It actaully feels nice to have something physical, if you know what I mean, to hand to someone in that natural way you have described. Another great post.
    PS will be tackling those interview questions for you very soon.

    • Hi Lynne, thank you so much for reading and I’m glad you liked this post.

      I like the idea of keeping some in the car, that’s handy.

      Thanks for sending your interview answers 🙂

    • Thanks so much for reading Trish (sorry for the delay!) I love the idea of bookmarks too, I think they are great author swag to have 🙂

  3. I had professional cards done up late last year when I was doing a lot of book launches. I’d slip a couple in books that were giveaways along with bookmarks that advertised my next release. I’ll be doing my first signing early next year, so I’m glad that’s one less thing I need to organise for the event. I’d never considered the train, but I’ll be doing a few city trips this month, so I might just have to leave a few around.

    • Hi Ebony, thanks for reading, sorry for the delay!

      Great idea adding business cards to books in a giveaway.

      Wow that is awesome you are doing a book signing, are you looking forward to it?

  4. lots of good information here. i whipped up a business card online but am now considering going to a printer and getting a better one made after reading what you’ve said. thanks for the share.

    • Hi Libby, sorry for the delay in replying. I think the days just got away from me.

      Thanks so much and I’m glad you found this useful 🙂

  5. I learned early on that you definitely need business cards as a writer. I’ve been told that people at events who don’t have money to buy your books can take a card and will buy it later. So I finally made some not long ago.

    • Thanks for reading Andrew and that is a great point, that a customer might take the card and buy your books later. Definitely having business cards during an event or signing is a must 🙂

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