We all know that writers must have websites and blogs. But what about the age-old tools I call fingertip promotional items? Regardless of how much you write and promote your work online, sooner or later you have to meet face-to-face, shake hands and exchange information. Are you prepared with the tools to make those meetings productive? Business cards, postcards and bookmarks still mean business. These inexpensive promotions can make a big difference.
Business cards are a sign of good common sense and manners. You shake hands with an individual, make conversation and hand her your card as a courtesy. Some will toss them out and others collect them like souvenirs, but one card in the right hand can catapult your career. The key features of a professional card include:
- Standard size of 3.5″ x 2″. Some people collect cards in folders or use card scanners. Unusual sizes often do not fit. Using a standard size makes it easy for people to save your information.
- Basic information. Include your name, website and/or blog URL, phone number, email address and/or postal address. Mine has the FundsforWriters (my business) logo first and foremost, my name, the website URL, email and mailing address.
- Define your role or title. Note briefly on the card what you are or what you do, such as: editor, freelance writer, educational writer, novelist, poet, etc.
- Visual or graphical element. Whether logo, book cover or photo, make sure to include a visual. Using generic graphics doesn’t cut it if you want to be memorable after you pass off the card. I have one business card with just my book cover, the website URL, my name and the ISBN.
- Individuality. For a couple of dollars more, you can get creative with business cards at discount places like Vistaprint. Can you guess how many writers have a card with a pen, pencil, typewriter or generic book on it? If you don’t want to blend in, I’d advise spending a little more to stand out from the crowd.
Postcards are a step up from business cards. At conferences I pass out postcards as well as business cards. Business acquaintances get the business card. Readers, newsletter members and fans get the postcards. Why? The postcard has more information on it, and it’s usable. I also use postcards to mail small reminders or simple requests. I want the post office to know about me, too.
Bookmarks are similar to the postcards. They are usable and large enough to print information and reference material such as where to buy your book–or even include an excerpt. Autograph your bookmark so people will want to save it.
You’ll want to keep a variety of each on hand at all times. I have a business card and postcard for FundsforWriters, my business, as well as for my book The Shy Writer. No matter the correspondence, one or the other goes into the envelope. Who knows who might get their hands on a card and wander to the website or email me about a fabulous opportunity?
TIPS: Most business card companies offer advice on designing a great and effective business card. Great FX Business Card is a good reference site. For a fantastic first impression, place your cards in a custom case from Netique.
C. Hope Clark is founder and editor of FundsforWriters.com, annually recognized by Writer’s Digest in its poll of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. She delivers four newsletters each week to thousands with her specialty being grants and income opportunities for writers of all sizes. She’s published over 200 articles on paper and online. Those reluctant to promote their writing cherish her trade paperback The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. Find more hope for your writing career at www.fundsforwriters.com & www.theshywriter.com.