Author Topic: Business cards  (Read 470 times)  

Offline CloudStrife

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Business cards
« on: September 25, 2019, 05:06:03 am »
I attended a random event for alumni from my university yesterday and a couple people handed out business cards. I think it was more just as a social gesture for me to remember their name and look them up on social media if I felt like it or possibly emailing them later to hang out. I am not a useful professional contact for them.

Anyway, it made me curious about revisiting the idea of having business cards just on the chance that on some random meeting, it would be easier just to give the card.

Is there much use in having a business card for a writer? I'm starting to think that this might be one of those weird things like old records that start to go out of style and almost go the way of the dinosaur, and  then start to make a big comeback as some of the younger kids will start to think it's cool to be trendy and different and have a business card. Of course, some of the old folks will still see the value for a while, perhaps.

I'm considering doing it as an experiment, whenever I get a bit of extra time to figure it out. I'm guessing in reality, I may hand out cards to just a few people per year - so it's not exactly something I'm basing my whole business strategy around.

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    Offline Tobias Roote

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #1 on: September 25, 2019, 05:13:59 am »
    There is a company in the UK (Jersey, actually) that will mass produce photos as all kinds of prints.


    My idea has always been to have my cover art reproduced as 'business' cards and prints as well as wall posters (with and without the text). As a merchandising idea for my website it would be a great pull, as freebies, giveaways compo's etc., it would make it all very interesting.


    If you had something like that instead of a plain business card that could make it a really positive marketing exercise.
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    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #2 on: September 25, 2019, 05:29:03 am »
    I have a friend who is a writer and they used business cards to advertise their books to people. I think they at least got 3-4 sales.

    It can work, I suppose.

    Other fields still use business cards. I don't think they'd do it if there wasn't some benefit to it.

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #3 on: September 25, 2019, 05:55:48 am »
    In the past year or so I've seen numerous ads on TV for printing companies.  I too wondered if there was still a need for cards, since we're in the online age these days.  It's not like the old days when people would tuck various business cards in their rolodex or card index or wallet, or whatever.  Do people actually hang onto cards they've been given?  Most people won't even handle paper money anymore, so I'm a little baffled at the suggestion that handing out business cards is a viable marketing expense.

    Unless the day is coming when we can once again leave a card on a silver salver held by a stiff-rumped, liveried butler.   8)
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    Offline Jennifer R P

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #4 on: September 25, 2019, 05:57:45 am »
    I use business cards. They are occasionally useful when you meet somebody cool at a con and want to keep in touch.

    Business cards are much faster than messing with your phone, and I'm wary of security issues with phone bumping to exchange contacts, even if it worked properly and on all phones.

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #5 on: September 25, 2019, 06:02:08 am »
    Just remember that there are two kinds of cards. One is the card you give to people who are strangers and potential fans. It has the book cover(s) on the front, a one line description on the back, with your photo. It has no phone# but links to a page on your website with a contact form. Maybe a free sample of your writing. A lot of the times, these go to strangers met in coffee shops who are only asking about my book to be polite, so I feel it is rude not to have a free sample for them. But if I was a bigger name and had people lining up at the conference table, I would not feel obliged to give free books, because they are eager customers and the "look inside" link should suffice. (So maybe there are two variants on this card. One with sales links to place on your conference table, another with free links to keep in the wallet.)

    The second kind of card is a professional card. It's awkward to pull out a pen and write your phone and email on the white space of a "book promo" card. Especially since glossy coating doesn't take pen well. I keep that card simple, and I don't put too much about my books on it because less is more when making first impressions.

    True, business cards are out of fashion, so I had a stamp made and stamped a few pages in back of my notebook to be torn out if needed. I keep the stamp under my conference table, so if some publisher or fellow indie wants a physical copy of my book, I can stamp the inside cover before I give it to them. I always have a few $2.25 novellas printed up as cheap giveaways for VIP's (Though I can't stress enough how inappropriate it is to even offer something like that at a conference unless the other party has expressed genuine interest in reading your books.)

    They also make keychain stamps that contain your name phone and email, which seems very cool and would allow for all sorts of possibilities.
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    Offline Tobias Roote

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #6 on: September 25, 2019, 07:05:14 am »
    Unless the day is coming when we can once again leave a card on a silver salver held by a stiff-rumped, liveried butler.   8)


    I'll have to get my man out of retirement.  :o
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    Offline Some Random Guy

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 08:19:56 am »
    I have two types of business cards.  The first is my author card with my pen name, author website and email on the front.  It has four different backs, one for each of my four series and features the cover image of the first in series, a tagline and a QR code leading to the series webpage on my website.  Though they're business card sized, they're high quality and substantial enough to serve as mini bookmarks

    My second type is my publisher business card, with my corporate branding, my real name, my publisher email address and corporate snail mail address.  It has nothing on the back, giving me space to add information as required.

    The front image on both my author and publisher cards is the same, and my author card has a small corporate logo.

    I hand my author card out to readers, and my publisher card when I'm dealing with people as president and GM of my publishing house.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 08:28:33 am »
    In the past year or so I've seen numerous ads on TV for printing companies.  I too wondered if there was still a need for cards, since we're in the online age these days.  It's not like the old days when people would tuck various business cards in their rolodex or card index or wallet, or whatever.  Do people actually hang onto cards they've been given?  Most people won't even handle paper money anymore, so I'm a little baffled at the suggestion that handing out business cards is a viable marketing expense.

    Unless the day is coming when we can once again leave a card on a silver salver held by a stiff-rumped, liveried butler.   8)

    People still use paper -- paper books, plastic credit and debit cards, they still carry wallets, they still use paper in the workplace. Tangible forms of communication media aren't completely gone yet.

    The person I mentioned upthread used them when meeting other people in a bar or coffeehouse (and similar places, like parties). The cards were useful in situations where other forms of eBook advertising simply isn't going to be effective. And they weren't that expensive, either. Of course, no advertising is exactly free. It's always YMMV.


    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Business cards
    « Reply #9 on: September 25, 2019, 08:40:59 am »
    There is a company in the UK (Jersey, actually) that will mass produce photos as all kinds of prints.


    My idea has always been to have my cover art reproduced as 'business' cards and prints as well as wall posters (with and without the text). As a merchandising idea for my website it would be a great pull, as freebies, giveaways compo's etc., it would make it all very interesting.


    If you had something like that instead of a plain business card that could make it a really positive marketing exercise.

    Just wanted to mention, if your covers use stock photos, you'll need an extended license for any that are used for swag. Business cards are fine with a standard license, but posters, bookmarks, t-shirts, mugs, etc. would need the extended license, even if youre giving the stuff away for free.
    « Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 08:43:42 am by ShayneRutherford »
             

    Offline Brevoort

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #10 on: September 25, 2019, 08:44:13 am »

    Other fields still use business cards. I don't think they'd do it if there wasn't some benefit to it.

    I am glad this thread has popped up because it has spurred me to get up and do something about business cards for my writing.

    There is no question in my mind that the demise of the business card has been greatly exaggerated.

    In my other life I run a strategic and crisis communications consulting business active in war zones and humanitarian disasters (Afghanistan, Syria et al). I am also an Aboriginal issues consultant for large energy corporations in western Canada. Accordingly, I meet a great deal of people in the course of business and during things such as conferences and trade shows.

    The number of times I get asked, "Do you have a card?" is beyond counting. Sure, people sometimes pull out their phones but they seem to have the card in their hands before transcribing the contact information into the device.

    In addition to my contact details, the card contains a concise description of my services and points to my website. I consider the website as my brochure and often refer to it as such when talking with a potential client.

    One of the major benefits of handing over a card, and it is usually a trade of cards with the other person, is that it forces a kind of conversation. Business hires for consultants often seem to have more to do with first impressions and personal connection than technical or academic achievements and those few short seconds are valuable.

    I can think of no more amateurish thing in a business setting than to say, "Hang on a sec. Let me just scribble down my (illegible) email address on this bit of paper I've just torn out of a magazine." I have seen that sort of thing more times than I care for and it is just so self-sabotaging.

    So, business cards matter, in business. Would they work for writers? I can't think why not. A nice card, possibly with an image of a book cover on one side and where to buy it etc on the other side would be quite useful.

    I am ashamed to say that more than once when talking to someone about my work and they ask where they can get a copy I've had to say, "Oh, just go on Amazon, or Kobo, or the library." And in the act of saying that I know, and they know, that they will never remember the name of the book, or my name, or that they were ever interested.

    In the scheme of business expenses, cards are dirt cheap so why not have them?

    Oh, and by the way, the idea that younger, more modern, business people don't use cards is false as far as I am concerned. The youngest and hippest people I deal with are usually graphic designers and video producers. They appear grateful to get a card and they always make sure that I have their web address and email.


    Again, thanks all for bring this up. I need to get onto this soonest.
    « Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 08:47:09 am by Brevoort »
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    Offline Alaric

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #11 on: September 25, 2019, 09:11:53 am »
    Yes, I always carry a store of plain and simple business cards with essential information (and only given to serious contacts). Not expensive and far more convenient (and professional)  that writing notes on the back of envelopes.


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    Offline Stevej37334

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #12 on: September 25, 2019, 09:34:01 am »
    I use business cards. Some of you may have seen my earlier thread. It's just another way to get the link to my author page out there. You can also leave them at restaurants or stores that have bulletin boards or other places where people can leave their cards. It's worth a try. Who knows, could pick up a few extra sales.
     

    Offline LifeisLit

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #13 on: September 25, 2019, 09:46:10 am »
    I attended a random event for alumni from my university yesterday, and a couple people handed out business cards. I think it was more just as a social gesture for me to remember their name and look them up on social media if I felt like it or possibly emailing them later to hang out. I am not a useful professional contact for them.

    Anyway, it made me curious about revisiting the idea of having business cards just on the chance that on some random meeting, it would be easier just to give the card.

    Is there much use in having a business card for a writer? I'm starting to think that this might be one of those weird things like old records that start to go out of style and almost go the way of the dinosaur, and  then start to make a big comeback as some of the younger kids will start to think it's cool to be trendy and different and have a business card. Of course, some of the old folks will still see the value for a while, perhaps.

    I'm considering doing it as an experiment, whenever I get a bit of extra time to figure it out. I'm guessing in reality, I may hand out cards to just a few people per year - so it's not exactly something I'm basing my whole business strategy around.

    I've been holding out on business cards. Like you, I don't see that much use in buying 200 business cards for 10 dollars just to waste them.  When I run into people that I want to keep in contact with they usually have their phones handy, and we only add each other on social media right then and there. However, if I didn't have time to add someone or have them add me a business card might come in handy. I still don't need 200 though.

    Offline CaptnAndy

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #14 on: September 25, 2019, 12:57:44 pm »
    I have carried a few business cards in my wallet since I published my first book, BB-39. I also wear a Nevada Battleship ball cap when I'm out and about. It frequently starts a conversation, which ends with my card given to a prospective new reader. I can't say how many sales it has resulted in, but I'm sure it is quite a few.
    I think business cards can cost less than an AMS campaign, and represent a good promotion tool.
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    Offline f2b4

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #15 on: September 25, 2019, 01:24:50 pm »
    I have no interest in establishing a business relationship with random individuals who might possibly someday buy one of my books.

    My business cards have my name, business address (not home), e-mail address, and phone number. No pictures, no graphics, no mailing list signup link, no sales pitch.

    Offline gmaz135

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    Re: Business cards
    « Reply #16 on: September 25, 2019, 01:41:17 pm »
    I use them. Inexpensive item. Only takes a few sales for break-even ROI.







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