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!
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. Other people swear by MOO Business Cards, which have great features like rounded corners and full-color front-and-back designs for extremely affordable prices.
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! (MOO offers stickers, labels, postcards, and greeting cards.)
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 or Google+!