Many years spent running my own business and attending hundreds of networking events over the years have taught me the importance of having a great business card. However, many authors and writers don’t tend to think of themselves as ‘being in business’ and as a result often neglect one of the essentials in a marketing toolkit.
This little piece of card also happens to be one of the cheapest forms of marketing collateral and a few pounds or dollars spent printing a couple of hundred easily make their cost back in the sale of just a handful of book.
Long after your flyer has flown into the bin or your email has been deleted, the humble business card can be found lying around on a desk, serving as a bookmark or even as makeshift coaster. They are ubiquitous – take a look around your home and I bet there’s one or two somewhere, perhaps in a drawer, on a pin board or even on the fridge.
Using an Author or Writer business card
Even the least businessy person can probably recite, from memory, the standard information on the average business card:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Useful pictorial reminder of the business
- Catchy little phrase …..
You get the picture!
Because of this, they tend to be seen as something ‘just for business’. But what if:
- your book cover was the whole of one side
- it listed where to buy your book
- there was a free download link
- the titles in your latest series were all listed
- there was a pithy quote with book page number to act as a teaser
- it showed a main character with their personal details, rather like a dating site
- there was a memorable writing quote
You can’t do all of these on one business card, after all they only measure a couple of inches across. But you can do something that suits the purpose of their use.
For example, let’s say you’re off to a festival or a workshop. You really don’t want to cart a whole load of books along to hand out, but a handful of business cards weigh nothing are more likely to be accepted by people as they don’t involve any reciprocation.
Yes, you do need to be prepared for people throwing them away but enough will stick and perhaps download or buy to make it worth your while.
business card essentials
Please avoid the ‘100 business cards’ for tuppence adverts. Nothing speaks ‘cheap’ louder than a flimsy card filled with a poorly chosen font, the wrong type of information and a stock image everyone is using.
Instead think about a card at least 200 gsm (card is measured by weight) and laminate finish. It feels good to the touch and will tell the recipient more about you than words ever can. Yes it costs more to produce but they will be more likely to get the results you want.
Instead of stock photography go for a high quality copy of your book cover sized correctly for business card, at least 300 dpi is the right file size. Fortunately most business cards have the same or similar dimensions as a standard book cover so re-sizing appropriately shouldn’t be a problem. And, this where a good designer really comes into their own as they will be able to create a cover that looks good at any size and in any format.
If you’re including a link to download or buy the book they may be too long to fit on one line. This is where an account with a service like bit.ly can be really useful. It’s free to sign up and you paste your link in the box, click submit and hey presto it will give you back a short link you can use anywhere. The advantage of signing up is that you get a whole load of stats showing when and where the link was used.
One final point, don’t forget to include at least your name and email address too – just because you’re using it for marketing doesn’t mean you don’t want people to contact you.
Personally, I’ve had business cards printed by a local company here in Dorset called Advantage Digital Print and always been very happy with the results. The downside is you do need to design them yourself and send the graphics files. I’ve also used moo.com as they are a bit quirky and very easy to use allowing you to do everything online.