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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do You Have Business Cards?

As you work to publicize your blog, website, or book, you will encounter people who want to learn more. One of the best ways to make sure they don’t forget about you (and your product) between the time they meet you and the time they reach their computers is to provide a business card. Not only are they easy to slip in a pocket, a professional-looking card will help cement your identity as someone to be taken seriously.

It's also much easier to whip out a card and suggest someone check out your book, site, or blog than to stand there and give your elevator pitch and hope they'll remember you.  Some authors who write about marketing your book suggest you tuck a business card into every envelope you send out — including your bills! You never know, they say, who might be interested.

At minimum, your business cards should have your book, blog, or site's name and a website address for more information. You can optionally add your contact information (name, email address, phone number, etc.), your book cover or site/blog logo, and a tagline or subtitle. No special credentials needed! (See the top card at right for an example of a card that just presents just a website.)

Do It Yourself


If you have a good photo or inkjet printer and a program you can use to design the card (I like Adobe Photoshop Elements because it’s a powerful yet affordable program), all you need are business cards on which to print. I love Avery’s Two-Side-Printable Clean Edge Business Cards for Inkjet Printers (product number 8869) because they have such a clean edge that no one will ever know you made them yourself. You can also print edge-to-edge (also known as a “full bleed”) on both sides of these cards.  This can be helpful if you want to, for example,  put your book cover on the back and your contact information and a logo on the front. I do something similar with my photography cards — full bleed with website address on one side, contact information on the other.

One of the nice things about creating and printing your own cards is that you can experiment with fonts, placement of text and graphics, and even create multiple versions of a card.

Don't Want to DIY? Getting Free Cards Online

But what if you don’t want to Do It Yourself? Maybe it sounds like too much work, or you don't have an artistic bone in your body, or you don't know how to use a graphics editing program like Photoshop Elements.Well, there are places out there on the web that will let you either get free business cards (to try the service out) or inexpensive business cards.

I’ve used Vistaprint in the past and had good experiences with them. For example, if you go with their 250 free business cards, you have 45 designs to choose from and pay only shipping and handling (which is completely reasonable). It can be a good way to get started. (By all means, if you’ve had experience with Vistaprint yourself – good or bad – please share in the comments. Likewise, if you’ve used another website and been pleased with the product, please share that.)

Companies like Vistaprint also offer products like bumper stickers, pens, sticky notes, notepads, t-shirts, stickers, keychains, mousepads, and tote bags, so you can expand your brand in additional ways!

Do you have business cards?  Do you have tips on creating them or handing them out?  What other ways do you make people aware of your book, site, or blog?

Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD's book, THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment, and Human Behavior helps writers avoid common misconceptions and inaccuracies and "get the psych right" in their stories. You can learn more about The Writer's Guide to Psychology, check out Dr. K's blog on Psychology Today, or follow her on Facebook!

9 comments:

E.J. Wesley said...

I've been thinking about just this, Carolyn, so thanks for the timely and helpful info!

EJW

~Jamie said...

I freakin' LOVE moo mini cards. They're just different enough to make you stand out, and you can get a ton for less than 20 bucks!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I've used Vista print in the past. After a move, I need to update the cards and I'm leaning toward Moo for new ones.

Becca Puglisi said...

What a great post. It's kind of silly how many times I've had to spell out my blog address, or worse, email someone when i get home because I couldn't remember the exact addy. I'm attending a workshop this summer, and I'm absolutely getting cards made before then.

Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

Rebecca said...

I love DIY projects like this, but I've always felt a little silly about making business cards because I'm not (yet) published. However, I suppose it makes sense to be a step ahead.

Becky Mushko said...

I've used VistaPrint to make a banner that matches my business cards.If you attend any conferences, it's nice to hand out (and receive) cards with full contact info—including website and blog URLs.

Carolyn Kaufman said...

Rebecca -- pointing people to a blog or website can only increase your potential platform, right? So yep, it's a good move to be a little ahead!

Becca -- a workshop is a perfect place to hand out cards!

Jamie -- thanks for the tip about Moo, I will have to go take a look.

Thanks to everyone who's added to the discussion so far!

Ghenet said...

I made my own business cards (using the Avery clean-edge business cards) before I went to conferences in January. They were so easy to make and came out great! Even though I don't have a book out yet, they were useful. I gave them out to other writers and collected some from them as well. Now we follow each other's blogs and tweets.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Mine has my blog address, Tweet name, and email address. It doesn't, though, have my home address. I know some people include that but I don't think it's a good idea for security reasons.

VistaPrint's great except for the daily spam I now get from them. But that's easy to ignore, especially when you consider the great price and selection of designs. :)