Author Business Cards (Part 2)

“This is a great post, Lauren, and your advice is sound. I would just like to suggest that conferees not overlook one fact: that the agents will not the largest segment of the intended audience for your business card. We all get excited about meeting agents at conferences, and once in a blue moon, an agent/author match is made. More important might be the networking you do with other writers and even presenters. Your relationships with these people will inspire and sustain you through many years of polishing your craft, and may eventually lead you to that perfect advocate for your work (my friend’s agent is looking for exactly what you write…). You might also meet other writers with expertise that can help you with your project in one way or another (research, ms swap, etc.). So include at least an e-mail address for that reason, and distribute your cards widely—and the agent, especially as one as kind as Lauren, can feel free to ignore it! ;)“–Kathryn Craft, on “Author Business Cards” 4/6/12

This is an excellent point, which is why I’ve created a new post about it. Kathryn is right: there are more contacts to be made at conferences than just editors and agents. Critique partners in particular are a huge help when you’re learning and honing your craft, and even when you’re continuing with success. And of course events like Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention which is in Chicago right now, are well-attended by fans and readers, booksellers, librarians and of course other authors.

Also, many authors provide services to their peers. One aspiring author comes to mind who specializes in marketing, because she is marketeer for a living. Some authors offer freelance copyediting or proofreading services. Some specialize in web design. If you offer one of these services, it would be a travesty not to include it on your business card. I still think the following things are important to place on your card, no matter who you hand it to:

1.Your name (and your pseudonym)

2. Professional-looking photo. Also to jog the memory.

3. Email address.

4. Your genre or subgenre (or both).

5. Your tagline.

6. QR code. This was Dotti Enderle’s idea and I just had to include it. Excellent idea. QR codes could link to your author site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon sales page, etc., or some combination thereof. They’re free to generate and they’re a great link between your physical presence and your virtual presence.

7. Pitch on the back of the card. Your peers might also find it difficult to remember having made a connection with you, and if you’ve spoken about your book with that person, the pitch will jog his or her memory.

I’d love to hear more smart marketing ideas!

Posted on April 13, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thank you for all the great points. There were some things I had never thought about.

  2. HI Lauren, great conversation! I had the privilege of meeting you recently at a conference but you are right – there are so many more wonderful connections to made at conferences too. I have built a wonderful network of supportive peers from my first conference, writers of all levels who have taught me much on the craft and business of writing. And people who have inspired me when I needed inspiration.(including Kathryn Craft here!) I love the idea of putting your pitch on the back of your biz card to jog someone’s memory. I’m not at the QR Code level yet, but perhaps soon. Great way for people to scan you in and keep you on their radar. I think having your photo on it is a great way for people to associate their connection with you too. Great tips! Thanks

  3. Hi Lauren, what fun to be the source of this post! I’m happy to be included in the ongoing conversation! It’s a valuable one.

    For six years I’ve run a developmental editing service, Because I could not figure out how to fit all the elements you list on one card without sounding like a schizo, like Lorenda I bring two cards along: one that introduces me as writer, with pitch, and the other for my editing business. I tend to leave my editing cards and handouts on the giveaway table for people to take as a softer sell (although if I learn of a need I’ll direct them there). I’m not there to troll for new customers as much as I am to network with other writers.

  4. I’ll chime in as I do have to create new business cards and I have the challenge of representing three different genres; marketing, memoir, and contemporary romance.

    Fortunately, our marketing platform targets the Author Persona as being the dynamic core of all promotions and connections. Take some time to consider your professional persona regarding colors, fonts, and your author theme. This becomes what is called “the banner” of your persona and should have a consistent flavor and always point to your website.

    Have a website – this can be a free blog but set it up to look like a professional website. This is primary. While I agree QR codes and all social media connections are important, the primary contact information on a business card should be your website and your email. The website is the first glance experience for anyone who wants to connect with you whether it is a fellow author or the CEO of one of the big six. The impression from the website should have the same flavor and professionalism as your business card.

    Think of your business card as the micro version of your author persona that is then full blown on your website. Make sure your contact email is very obvious on your website. Too many authors have a list of where they can be found on the web without having a way to get a quick note from someone. Remember that social media is in a state of flux and the only constant at this moment is the website-email version of contact.

    Another thing to consider is your name. If your author persona relates to a name that is different from your real name, get a dba: Doing Business As. This costs me $50 every two years and means that my author name is my real public and professional name. It is legal for me to sign contracts as Therese Patrick even though the signature on the check to pay my mortgage is different. I don’t have to fumble around with “I am … Writing As…” I am just one name, one persona. Well, two really. Therese Patrick for nonfiction (marketing & memoir) and Terri Patrick for fiction. And the fonts for nonfiction are similar will the font for fiction is in italics as my stories have a bit of whimsy.

    • Terri, these are all great points! Thanks so much for your point-of-view with us. Also, I know you’re working on a project and you may feel free to mention that!

  5. I second Julie’s thank you.

    I have two sets of business cards – they both have the same thing on the front: my photo, tagline, email/Twitter contact info, and a note that I’m a GH finalist.

    My first set has my MS pitch on the back in words.

    My second set has two QR codes – one links to a vCard (so my contact details can be loaded immediately to a phone) and the other links to the projects page of my website. This page holds all my “blurbs” of all my projects.

    Obviously, I prefer people to use my QR coded set, because I can change the information on my project page anytime I want to pitch a different novel. But the “worded” version makes sure I don’t leave out someone who doesn’t use QR codes.

  6. Thanks so much for these posts, Lauren. I recently ordered my business cards with your suggestions in mind. At the last conference I attended, I collected cards from fellow writers as well, and I am so glad they handed me one. With all of the people there, I would have never remembered their names and genre without the card.

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