Friday, April 6, 2012

Why Author Business Cards Are Different by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The Rest of the World
The purpose of business cards is to promote your business--the company you work for. There is usually a small graphic for your logo and a tagline that will explain what kind of products and/or services your company provides, and your professional title will give people an idea of how you fit into that business.

If you are an author, forget the info above.

Be willing to change your mindset.

Switch gears now.

The Author World
If you are an author, you ARE the business. The author is the company. Therefore, you are going to promote yourself. Your logo is your photo.

Your products are the books you write.

Your service is the genre you write. Therefore, you need a tagline that promotes what you write--your genre or subgenre.

CBA Authors
Because the Bible calls us to be humble servants, Christian authors worry that they are exalting themselves when they promote themselves and/or their work. We worry what others will think. We worry if God will be pleased or displeased.

How can people hear about the message in our books--the stories and help that God has given us to share with others, if we don't step out in faith and promote ourselves and our work?

You can be humble and still promote yourself. Give God the glory for all your work. Never forget who is helping you along the way. Remember who opens those doors for you. Be patient and kind to others, even when you're tired and you don't feel like it. This is being called to humbleness. It is beyond putting our name and face out there to promote our books--the very gift that God has given us.

So don't be afraid to use your photo on your promotional materials. People want to connect with you. They want to know who you are and that includes what you look like. It gives them a mental image to go by and it makes them feel like they know you better. Don't worry that you aren't supermodel material. If you want to be real to people, you can't be flawless. If you want to be humble, be yourself.

What to include on an Author's Business Card
1. Email Address
Your business card doesn't need to have a postal mailing address. Save it for the sell sheets and the book proposals. Provide your email address so they can contact you and connect with you after the conference. Most people prefer email.

2. Your Photo
This helps people remember that interesting conversation they had with you so that it doesn't blur into the thousands of other conversations they might have had at the conference. Also, nothing is worse than looking for a 20-something person who no longer exists because someone hasn't updated their photo in 20+ years.

3. Website or Blog Url
Give people the ability to find out more about you if they are interested later. That way you're not trying to give out too much information to people who don't want it. Writing conferences can be overwhelming so try not to overload others with more than they can handle.

4. A Tagline
This will serve as a quick reminder of what you write without going into a detailed summary blurb. Besides, you might have written many different books, but what category do they all or most fall into? Use that if you don't have a creative tagline.

5. Your Name and/or Pen Name
If you write under a pen name, feel free to promote it, but use your real name. An editor or agent doesn't want to go around calling you Bob if your real name is Ben. Even if you don't mind, it will make them feel awkward when they discover their mistake. Help them out. They have to remember a lot of people with many different names and faces. Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd without annoying them will be a huge help and a great benefit to you.

6. Genre or Subgenre
If it isn't clear in your tagline, mention the genre or subgenre you write in. Be brief. If you write in more than one genre, simply list them. Don't worry about long explanations. Save it for your proposals.

7. Phone Number
List at least one phone number in case an agent or editor does want to call you for some reason--or maybe another author. Don't worry about listing all your numbers between your home, cell and work. Use the one that is less likely to change and where you will most likely be reached.

Some people will try to be creative with their business cards. If you can do it tastefully without making it look too busy--go for it. If you already have a customized website and/or blog, I recommend using a graphic or background that will match your online presentation since that is how most people will look you up--online.


Kristy L. Cambron said...

Great post - thank you! I checked my "business card" inclusions against your list and (whew!), I had all of them covered. But I tried something new at the ACFW Conference last year. Instead of handing out small business cards, I designed postcards with my blog/book graphic designed on the front, and an author bio, photo, and contact info on the back. They seemed to grab attention and that's what I'd hoped for! ; ) I'll be doing the same again this year.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

How important is the tag line? I haven't come up with one yet, and I wonder how much energy I need to put into that.

Amanda Stephan said...

Okay. I know this is going to sound extremely silly, but this post is wonderful! Whenever I'm ordering business cards, I always agonize over what to put on them. Thank you. Because evidently, I am the type of person that needs step by-step instructions on what is needed. :) Now I don't have to agonize!

Scott said...

I think the tagline is quite important - it gives people an instant insight into what kind of author you are. Sure, very famous authors probably won't need it, but it will still help them too. Why not make it easy on people when they want to figure out what kind of author you are?

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Kristy and Amanda, I'm glad you found this post helpful.

Kristi, I would agree with Scott. If you can't come up with something before you need to have some made for a conference, use your subgenre.

Waseem said...

I just found the blog helpful... i wish to use it when design plastic business cards.

Plastic business cards said...

You have mentioned well about the objects that are necessary for an effective and complete card...

Plastic Business cards said...

Simple and to the point enhancing my knowledge a lot....

Anonymous said...

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