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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Business Cards For Writers

   
Author Topic: Business Cards For Writers
Osiris
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Okay, so I'm looking to take the plunge into getting business cards for my writing career, and figured I'd seek out advice from anyone here who may have gotten some.

Some advice I've read is to keep them simple and professional, yet I find myself drawn to those that engage the imagination most.

I combed through zazzle.com and created a wishlist here of my personal favorites:

Business Card Candidates

My questions for the Hatrack Hive Mind are do these seem too flashy to you? What would you pick for someone who writes mostly science fiction (I don't do steampunk yet, so those are likely out for now).

What information do you put on business cards besides name, email, and website? I'm hesitant to put my phone number or home address.

Does anyone have experience as to what has worked best for them?

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LDWriter2
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Depends on who they are for; Friends, family, fellow hive minders, coworkers, then any of these would be good. Personally I like the ones with the planet and the one with the 1930s spaceship. Some of the others are too busy but that is up to you.

For editors and agents though just a plain white card with just your name and contact info is best.


I would love to have a card but I'm waiting for one more pro sell, which might be never, and a couple of e-stories. Which the way things are going could be never also but that last is my fault.

Anyway, I would like pics of writing instruments starting with clay tablets and ending with electronic tablets.

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extrinsic
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Before they were business cards they were calling cards. I suggest considering takiing a cue from tradition.

A person wishing to be invited to come around for a call on a stranger left a calling card. Hopefully, leaving the card resulted in a call back.

I've designed and printed many a card. The first ones for hundreds of clients, were printed with lead type: engraved. Simple is both elegant and meaningful and memorable. If a calling card is hard to read, cluttered with busy detail, trying too hard, it's not doing what it's meant to do.

Basic graphic design uses four features: contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity, or CARP.

Paper: 80 or 110 pound index cardstock, white
Graphics: one color, one line art item, imposed either top left and bottom right or bottom left and top right
2 pica margins
Text: center justified; first name, last name, 12 point oldstyle book typeface, like Caslon, Jansen, or Goudy, no Times New Roman or sans serif faces, black ink; new line, preferred contact information, i.e., e-mail address; new line, Web site url; new line, maybe phone number

Perforated calling (business) card stock, ten up per sheet is available from most office supply vendors. Most printer drivers include templates for laying out and printing such stock.

Have fun but keep it simple and readable and memorable.

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rcmann
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If you use the perforated card stock, you can rack them together after printing and separating like a deck of cards. Then run an emery board over the edges very lightly to smooth them. That removes the fuzzy edged feel that you get with perforated card stock.
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Robert Nowall
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I like the bookmarks on the link page...the idea of a bookmark, I mean...if you have a book to promote you might consider getting some printed up and sent around.

If it's just yourself you're pushing...well, keep it simple, name-address-phone. E-mail address and website. A good thick stock, not glossy.

(Never had a business card---the last time I bought any cards, they were blank. I needed 'em so I could type up things on 'em for study purposes---nothing else was the right size. Yeah, I shuffled 'em like a deck of cards. Of course that was in the days before you could print your own cards up on a computer and find them in the warehouse office supply stores...)

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aspirit
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Eric James Stone has one of the coolest business cards. I don't remember what's on the front, but the back was covered by a micro-story. Although I usually prefer business cards with a blank back so I can write notes about the person, such as where I met them and what we talked about, I liked that the story on his card (1) was an entertaining, solid story in such a tiny space, (2) felt like a freebie, a gift directly from its author, and (3) emphasized that he is a writer instead of someone who simply calls himself one.

What I expect on cards passed around at conferences and conventions is the writer's name, e-mail address, Website address, and identification (e.g., "Speculative Fiction Writer"). I also like to see the writer's professional affiliations (if any) and home state or city.

As for how flashy is too flashy, that depends on your personality and how much you want to spend on your cards. A relatively plain but quality card could stand out as much as one with an elaborate picture on it. That said, I'm more likely to hold on to a pretty picture than to a plain piece of paper.

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Osiris
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Thanks everyone, this has been very helpful!

I've decided based on what I've read here to have two business cards.

I'll go with a bookmark style for readers and as a something that is more of a 'gift' than a business card.

I'll have a second card that is consistent with my website styling to hand to agents/editors, with more information than a reader would need.

For anyone interested, I found these links provided additional useful suggestions:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/bcunforg.htm
http://slushpiletales.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/author-business-cards/
http://www.wisewomanshining.com/business-card-advice-for-authors/
http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com/2008/09/author-business-cards-are-different.html

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LDWriter2
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I think if I ever get around to getting my novels ready to go and published, whether it's traditional or e-publishing, I would do some bookmarks. I have what I want to say already in mind...for three years at least.

Of course as in the case of Eric James Stone, a story on the back might not be a bad idea, especially if I could do a couple, different stories on different printings of the cards. A bookmark would have more room for a story. But trying to think up one for the back of a card could be fun.

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MartinV
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I didn't make business cards yet but I did make book cards for my latest novella Clockworks Warrior. The front is the same as the cover I made for e-publishing, on the back I put on links and other info I thought it was necessary. When I got them printed, I realized I forgot to put on a price but maybe that's for the best.
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EricJamesStone
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My current business card has the following on the front:
1. My writing name
2. Science Fiction and Fantasy Author (don't expect people to remember who you are just based on your name)
3. A small headshot (helpful to people who've just gotten a bunch of cards of people they've met at a convention)
4. Awards listing
5. SFWA & HWA Active Member
6. Email address
7. Website address
8. Twitter handle
9. A blank space consisting of more than 1/4 of the card, onto which I can write my phone number or some other note. (I didn't have note space on a previous version of my card, and I greatly regretted it.)

It does not have:
1. Phone number (If they need it, I can write it on. Otherwise, I prefer communication via email.)
2. Physical address (same)

The back, as others have mentioned, has a very short story.

Stylistically, the top 40% or so of the card is based on my website header. It uses a foil effect for the gold parts. It is not glossy because that makes it hard to write on.

When I sign autographs, I use my cards to bookmark the page.

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Osiris
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Thanks Eric for the information. That'll be very helpful when I design the second set of business cards.

Since I decided to go with a combination of bookmarks more as a gift (with minimal text) and have a second set for getting down to business, I took one of the designs above (probably influenced by my current WoTF WIP story, lol) and customized it:

http://www.zazzle.com/240014233313479662?size=skinny&media=indestructible&front=skinny_front_vert&back=skinny_back_horz&mode=fill

I only ordered 20 of these, just to get a few samples and see how people like them. I might design the 'business' business card on my own and print them out at home, and they'll include 'writeable' space, which the bookmark ones don't have.

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LDWriter2
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Hmm, evidently we can't look them over without registering.


And sounds like Eric has some sound advice there.

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Osiris
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quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Hmm, evidently we can't look them over without registering.

Doh! Maybe I'll scan them when I get them and share a picture.
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