Are business cards really a thing anymore? With the digital age do I really need one?
The answer for writers is a resounding yes. It’s necessary to provide information for both prospective publishers, agents, fellow-authors and potential readers.
Business card musts
They need to look professional and give the right information. Most business cards at a minimum should have your name, email, website, and social media links.
Adding a headshot puts a face with the conversation that led to the card being given.
Blank space on the back of the card is awesome. It leaves room to write a note reminding the receiver why they have it. For example: send them your guidelines. Call them about the XYZ group. Send them your manuscript ASAP
Theses are your personal preferences, only choose one or add the addition to the back of your card so it is not cluttered. But then you lose the blank space.
Your author tagline, not your present book. The one you use on your website. The thing that defines what you write. But it isn’t necessary.
Links to your latest books. (This might require a larger card that folds.)
My agent offers a free video course if you text a specific number on his card.
I’ve seen some HQ codes to take you to an author’s website or a free download offer.
This is not as common because you gave an email which is most publishers preferred way of communicating. The blank space on the back of the card is available to jot it down if it is requested by specific people.
Phone numbers are an option too. Your agent may hand you a business card with a phone number. Your email is the best substitute for a phone number. Again use the blank space on the back to offer it to those who need it.
Design your cards and order a reasonable amount
Order between 100 and 250 cards from www.vistaprint.com or a local printer. Look for the best price before agreeing. Yes, you can make your own. But be sure you use business card stock. There are templates online. You may find that 100 is too many if you don’t attend conferences or do book events. Think about where you will be handing them out before ordering. I have a friend who gives them to everyone he meets. He goes through several hundred cards a year.
Reorder when you must
I always have cards left over when I update to new ones. You might prefer to be all out before you update or reorder. I don’t like writing new info on a card, so, I’m fine with creating a new card and reordering before my supply is gone.
Keep your business card as clean as possible.
Don’t try to fill every space or use graphics that cover the whole surface. Simple is better. If you have a photo make it a professional shot that is current. (within the last few years.)
A photo helps those you meet with at conferences and other events remember who you are.
The colors on your card should be readable. A simple font or if you prefer a more artistic font be sure it’s not too busy or too strange. Those are hard to read. Make sure the color ink is legible on a card’s color background.
White letters on a yellow background are hard to read. While black on white is always a good choice. If you have a website try to match the colors on your cards to the theme on your website or blog.
Glossy vs matte finish depends on your theme and color choices. I prefer a matte because it is easier to write on notes on the back.
Think about what you write and choose a theme that fits your genre. Westerns might have a cowboy hat or boots as a watermark or in the corner. Historical romance might have a parchment color background. A thriller writer might have artistic black on white that pops but is still readable. Regardless of your genre, a clean plain card is an excellent go-to design.
Look through the business cards you have on hand and see which ones catch your eye and why. Ask the printer you are using for suggestions. They are happy to design them for you. Vistaprint has templates to choose from and a spot to design it before ordering.
Last piece of advice
Proofread your card. Have a few other people look at it too. If there is a typo it will go to print that way. You don’t want the expense of reordering because you missed an error. Even if a printer does your cards be sure to read through it carefully. They usually have a disclaimer that they are not responsible for errors once you approve the card.
What are some things you’ve discovered as you created a business card?