Every author should have a business card.
They are a great way to be remembered by potential readers, publishers, and retailers. Plus, author business cards are so much fun to collect and trade at conferences. But most importantly…
Your author business cards are a physical representation of you, your personality, and your works.
From typeset to layout to style choice, each minute detail speaks volumes when it comes to showcasing who you are as an author. So, what’s the right author business card for you?
In this article, you will learn:
So, let’s get to it!
Disclaimer: Some of these examples are real business cards acquired from real authors. They are exemplary samples of what author business cards should look like.
This is a tricky subject. Like, we all know we should put our name and contact info on it. But is it really that simple?
If only it was.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the major info points of your business card.What would an author business card be without any info? Answer: Not very useful.Click To Tweet
Name and Title
This may seem self-explanatory. But in all reality, this is one of those parts you really want to nail. Let me ask you this… Do you utilize a pen name? If you do, that’s just fine. Many great authors have written under pen names. Take Samuel Langhorne Clemens for example. Do you think he would have put that on his business card? Or would he have used Mark Twain?
This is an important question for a couple of reasons. Your readers are more likely to know you by your pen name. This is who brings their stories to life. So, that should definitely go on your writer’s business card. But what about for legal purposes? Or for everyday purposes? Sure, some authors may actually go by their pen names in real life, but many don’t. In this case, you should have your real name on your card.
Many authors who use pseudonyms actually carry two different business cards. One to hand out to your audience and another for legal and business purposes. But when tastefully done, you can have your cake and eat it too. So, why not put both?
I have seen concept designs that look something like this:
(Just a basic example folks. Not something I would personally use, but just go with it.)
Adding a “writing as” line could work. Or… opt for a more creative method! (We are authors after all.) Maybe try something like:
(Again not saying this is the best example. Just establishing a point.)
Business cards are the perfect way to give someone an avenue to contact you.
But, does that mean you need to provide everything from your Social Security Number to your college roommate’s Myspace account? No.
Here’s some examples of contact information that should be on your business card:
Be sure to use a professional email (preferably one dedicated for work). An email such as PeanutSlapper@goober.com is far from appropriate.
Do you have a professional work line? If so, your business card is an excellent place to share it! However, I would advise against putting a personal telephone number on your card. We’ve all heard horror stories of overzealous fans or disgruntled publishers. Keep yourself safe by keeping your business and personal life safe.
Putting your dedicated author website on your business card is an excellent idea. Your website is an avenue that should have everything your readers need to know about you. This makes things nice and neat for your card. All you need to do is provide them the address.
Social Media Accounts
Social Media may be one of the best contact outlets for authors. It allows for widespread reach among your peers and readers all the while maintaining a professional and manageable distance. I would advise creating an author page though. Once again, keep your business and personal life separate.
One of the biggest mistakes I see when looking at author business cards is too much information. Remember, a business card is only so big. The more information there is on your card, the more cluttered will become. Find your balance and only place the most pertinent of info on it.
Here’s a great example of finding balance with your contact info and the rest of your card!
Are fonts really that important? They’re just word stylings. Personal preference, right?
Take a look at the following example.
(See the difference?)
Fonts can actually convey a message all on their own. So, what does your font say? Does it portray you as the serious no-nonsense author? Or as a master of horror and the supernatural?
Use fonts to your advantage. There are four major prongs of typography that you should think about prior to your font selection.
These are fonts that have those little embellishments at the ends of your letters. Often Serif fonts are associated with elegance and comfort. Perhaps a Serif font could be a good choice for a romance or classical-styled author.
2. Sans Serif
Sans Serif fonts don’t have those little embellishments. These fonts are seen as more modern and objective than their Serif counterparts. Many Science Fiction authors choose Sans Serif fonts.
Monospaced fonts are just like the name implies… Boring. But that’s not always a bad thing. Historical, non-fiction writers can definitely use these to their advantage on their author business cards.
Script fonts are the exact opposite of Monospaced fonts. They are elegant and creative. Often times these fonts are used for fun or outgoing works and authors.
There are also many fonts out there that are relevant to your particular genre. These stylistic fonts are perfect for those ready to bring your author business card to the next level. Here’s a perfect example of a genre specific font:
(The author works in the genre of historical, dark fiction. Her font choices and layout are great for that vintage look!)
Let’s just say you’re thinking about creating a new business card. You know exactly how you want it to look. The fonts have been selected. The wording and the info is all ready to go. And you know just the perfect picture to place.
Or… you thought you did.
After checking your design layout, it seems there is just something off about your picture. Maybe your picture is too generic and it really doesn’t fit you. Or, there’s just too much going on. Either way, something’s not right.
So, what do you do now?
Choosing the right picture can be more daunting of a task than you would initially expect. But by following these simple tips, you can be sure that your card is picture perfect.
Make sure that your picture is appropriate for your writings.
This shouldn’t need to be stated. But… There have been sightings of irrelevancy. Your business card should be a reflection of your business–your writing. If you write high fantasy novels, a picture of St. George slaying the dragon could work. But if you’re an author of gripping legal thrillers, don’t do it.
When you do land on the perfect picture, make sure you scale it properly. Some images are just not meant to be scaled. Small images increased in size may become blurry and distorted. When using pictures intended to be large, don’t shrink them down too small. Using a full scale mural or book cover as a small corner picture looks amateur and unprofessional. Not only that, doing so tends to clutter up your precious limited space.
Using a book cover can be an awesome idea if done correctly.
You’ve probably spent a decent amount of money on a professional book design. It’s a great design and very artfully done. There should be no reason you can’t use that on your author business card. And I agree to an extent. The problem isn’t necessarily using your book cover, but everything that can come along with it. You see, as authors we are very proud of our published works. And we should be. But sometimes, we just can’t dial it back. Placing a cover is one thing, but that often leads to a summation. And then trying to find somewhere to squeeze in your name and contact info.
Looking for a great example of how to use your book cover? Check this out!
(Simple, Full Cover, and Effective)
Types of Pictures You Can Use
For some of us, we might not be ready to use our own image on our cards. If that's you, no worries because there are definitely some interesting options you can use:
Book Cover: We all have a book cover, and many of us probably invested well in designs that represent our professionalism and our type of content.
Genre Specific Images: You can purchase genre specific images from stock photo sites, which can be a blast.
Representative Images: Perhaps a stock photo isn't your thing, then you can find an image that represents your style of writing like a crow for mystery or skeleton for horror. It's not a author logo, but it is a symbol of what you do.
Icons: Instead of a full fledge image, you can select an icon which through its simplicity can be a strong statement in its own.
Traditional business cards are just that. Traditional.
And that’s because they work. But there are some really neat, unique ideas that can take your business cards to the next level.
What’s better for a business card for your readers than a bookmark? Bookmarks are handy for all readers to have around. Heck, I know I’ve reached into my wallet and used an actual business card as one in a pinch. So, why not provide your reader with both? Bookmarks have an especially distinct advantage over traditional business cards for writers. They are practical elements used by your potential customers. Not only that, Bookmarks are physically bigger. That means there is more space for you to utilize for your business card.
Incorporate New Tech
Have you ever been to restaurant or store and seen that weird square barcode thing that looks like this?
This is a QR Code. Although originally designed for the Japanese auto industry, this matrix code has evolved to other businesses and personal use. And now, there are smartphone apps that allow you to read these instantaneously. So, why not use one for your author business card?
Simply head over to any QR Code generator and create your own. My recommendation would be to have these direct the user to your author website or dedicated social media page.
Magnetic Business Cards
Another route you can take when designing your business card is to make them magnetic. One of life’s most unsung problems is that of needing an extra refrigerator magnet. It’s true. You can always use another magnet for the fridge. So, be the hero of the day and give your reader what they need! And your business card, of course. Statistically speaking, that business card may get many, many more second looks than a traditional business card.
Uniquely Shaped Business Cards
Business cards don’t necessarily have to be a traditional rectangle. As an author, creating a book shaped business card–or better yet, a business card that is a book– can be a great way to make your business card memorable. Just be careful when utilizing this tactic. Choosing an awkward shape or one that is less portable may be a cool gimmick, but nothing to really hold on to. This includes square-shaped cards. Square shaped cards don’t tend to fit neatly inside many wallets. And are more likely to be thrown away than kept.
Once you have an idea of what you want for a business card, it’s time to find a top notch printer. Let’s compare some of the best business card printing services out there.
Vistaprint is a professional quality business card printing company. While they may not have the luxury options that Moo carries, Vistaprint has them beat when it comes to affordability. They provide a great value for your money and even offer economy options that are great for handing out in high volume (like conferences).
When it comes to luxury, Moo is the way to go. They specialize in creating the premium business card. They offer a wide assortment of high end options including foil finishes, multiple gloss options, and even letterpress finishing. Moo also provides you with your choice of deluxe paper or cotton. Their biggest downfall is the price. These are easily some of the more expensive business cards you will come across.
GotPrint.com is another affordable option for business cards. They offer multiple cardstocks, printing options, and free online design templates. They also provide business cards in a wide variety of shapes such as leaf, oval, and half round. And if you aren’t satisfied with your printing, GotPrint has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They will reprint your cards to make sure you get exactly what you want.
My Business Card
Here are my two business cards. Actually, my wife made this for me as a birthday present, but I think she nailed it.
Full Video on Planning, Designing and Making Author Business Cards
The Bottom Line
As you can see, creating an author business card isn’t something that you should take lightly. As a portable representation of your works, it should be with the same amount of care and attention that you put into your books.
Having a great business card can help to differentiate you from your competition and keep you memorable. And how you want to be remembered is all up to you.