Conference is just seven weeks away. Do you even need business cards? Now’s the time to decide and start designing them so you can take advantage of those great printing deals…and ensure that your card will work hard for you.
Over the years, I’ve shared my business cards with editors and agents during appointments and while circulating during programs and hallway conversations. I’ve also collected cards from graphic designers, editors, cover designers and other service providers.
Will you meet someone at conference and wish you had prepared one? Will you miss a connection with another writer that may prove useful and eventually enhance your support team?
Business cards can be useful well past conference time, too. I’m in two tennis leagues, and the Evergreen tennis team we played became very enthusiastic about my books. They all wanted a business card so they could look up my books on Amazon and iBooks. Because I spent the time preparing one for last year’s conference, I was able to distribute them.
I could have just as easily given them a bookmark, for example, or a postcard with my latest release on the front. Personally, my preferences have changed since I became an indie publisher. I no longer need postcards or bookmarks, as I did with my first two big book signings when I sent large mailings promoting them. I have found the business card to be a more convenient size throughout the year.
Should you decide it’s a good idea to have them at the ready, here’s a quick and dirty checklist.
Just the facts, Ma’am. Name, genre, website or Facebook page—make your card point to your strongest landing page.
Go first class! A poor quality card shouts poor quality writing or services. Upgrade your card stock, and remember that quality starts with you. Proof, proof, and proof again. Words are your business, so make every effort to get them right. Always put another set of eyeballs to your copy to catch errors like website URLs and email addies. Home printers are notorious for faded colors and colors that run if exposed to moisture, which also sends a bad message.
Strut your stuff! Same rules apply to cards as with book covers. Reveal your genre or service, which involves colors and hues. This includes your brand. If your website landing page and newsletter masthead features red, white and blue, design your card to echo the color theme for consistency.
Make a promise. If you provide service/s, don your “clever” hat and give them one good reason to contact you.
Send ‘em to your website. This will help you avoid a cluttered card with 6-point type that no one can read without strong reading glasses. It will also remind you to have your website or Facebook page up to date and operating properly, with all links working.
Be ready. What good is all this preparation if you don’t have your cards at the ready? Store them in your purse, pocket, car glove compartment, and briefcase.
Include a call to action. "Click here." Can't do that on a card, but include it in some way. "See my website for rate schedule/more info/free book offer--whatever entices them to act.
Research = inspiration. Play the information game. Give and collect cards. Check the free tables this year to see how other authors position/brand themselves, and what they include on their cards. This is not to promote copying them, but rather to give you inspiration to develop your own message and layout. Research printers, too. There are some great deals out there, and if you order early, your odds for getting them in time are much higher.
"Do you have a card?"