Monday, May 17, 2010

Writer Accoutrements

At the editing workshop I attended a few weeks ago, the other participants (there were 7 of us in all) and I were very close by the end of the weekend. We exchanged contact information so we could continue reading each other's stories. Several of the writers there had writer business cards.I was surprised by this. I'm pretty sure that none of them were published. But most of them wrote full-time. I started thinking: how awesome it is to have a business card saying you're a writer! Because in situations like conferences, workshops, and other times when people want to see more of your work, handing them a card seems logical and smart.

It's quaint, almost. But effective.One of the business cards said: "Out of residence writer," a term I'd never heard before. Another just had the name and address of the writer.

I started thinking: not only is it practical, but it's just plain smart. It also says a certain something about you: it says you're committed to this writing lark, that you're going all the way. And when you're talking to someone who wants more information, it'd be pretty handy to have a card ready. After all, we're marketing ourselves here. The surprise was that of the three business cards I received, only one of them had a website.

The good news is that business cards can be pretty inexpensive to print, especially if you go with a pre-existing design. I have links below for you. If you're fussy and a designer like me, then you'll probably have to spend more to upload a custom design. But what do you put on it?

  • Your name. Duh.
  • Your e-mail.
  • Your website, if you have one.
  • Your phone number. I left mine off after much deliberation because I simply hate the phone. Come get to me by email; I like it so much better.
  • Your address. Again, I left mine off since I don't see that as terribly relevant. But there are many situations where you might want the person you hand your card to to send you a Christmas card.
  • A quote or something.
Here's mine. I mocked this up; haven't actually printed them. Still thinking about the design and what goes on them.

What else would you put on there? What do you think of the whole having a business card thing?

  • Here is a site with a whole bunch of really nice, pre-designed writer cards -- I really like the typewriter ones, very elegant.
  • Also, Vistaprint does some free card deals and pretty inexpensive print jobs, too.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'll admit I used to think it lame when someone handed me a business card at a conference.

If it can be done in a professional manner, I'm all for it.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

I already have one for my day job - they are very standard in D.C. and a good way to remember who you met and how to get in touch with them.

Sierra, your card looks pretty neat and there's not much to add if you don't want to include phone or address. However, two possible ideas - depending on what you want to accomplish - are: a very short professional summary (e.g., "novelist and experienced technical writer") or the name of your WIP (but only if you are marketing one thing only) or previously published work. This way people can link you with particular product(s). I guess you could also put your twitter and/or facebook, if you use those a lot.

Travener said...

Hmm, I see nothing on your card but one of those little red Xes that means for some reason my computer does not wish to see it. But I'm sure it's lovely. If I were to make up cards, I'd want to put something clever on it. Don't know what that would be. Probably why I don't have cards. But I like the idea.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I have the same problem as Trav. But thanks for the idea! I think I'll get some. Writer. I remember the first time I put Writer on my income tax return as my occupation. It felt great!! Hey, Uncle Sam, you have another writer here without much income. We have to see ourselves and think of ourselves as writers, even if we aren't making much money. Thanks for the links.

Julie Dao said...

Oooh nice business card! I don't really have a strong opinion about them. They're useful to have, but cumbersome and I often lose them if I'm not careful.

Natalie Murphy said...

I cant see your card =(

I have a whole stack of business cards at home. I had them made up for when I went to RWA Nationals last summer. They were amazing to have. The only thing I would add to your card is what sort of writer you are-- if you don't switch around, that is.

Anne R. Allen said...

I think Internet Explorer probably blocks the graphic. I can see it on Firefox, but not IE.

Hey, Sierra, we both made Writers Digest's Top Tweets for writers this week!!

Sierra Godfrey said...

My apologies guys...I blanked when uploading the photo last night. It is now embedded as an image and you should all see it.

I like the suggestion of adding the TYPE of genre you write in. But, there is that danger that it could pigeon hole you.

(Anne, congrats on the Best Tweets list!! I'm so excited for you-- it's well deserved!)

Jm Diaz said...

recycle: I know I do... it reads "this is my card, and its none of your business".

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I think the card looks great. I've had a few people give them to me at writer's conferences and I think it's a fine way to exchange info. Agents say they never keep them, but if you're just looking to network with other writers, I think this is the easiest way. I'll probably put some together for when I go to nationals in July because at the two conferences I've gone to this year, I've ended up writing my email and such on people's notepads to exchange which is not so efficient, lol.

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