Monday, September 26, 2011

What Your Business Card Needs to Do

(Reprinted with permission by the author, Kristen Stieffel. Originally posted on the New Authors' Fellowship.)

What Your Business Card Needs to Do:
American Christian Fiction Writers has an e-mail list for those attending its conference for the first time. For many, it’s not just their first time attending the ACFW conference, it’s their first time attending any conference. I admire their courage. This is a huge conference. Making it your first must be daunting.
Many first-timers had questions about business cards, including what to put on them other than name and contact info. A couple of people asked whether it was all right to put “writer.” They had apparently heard, somewhere sometime, that this was “presumptuous and amateurish” for an unpublished writer.

I am perplexed by this idea — that putting what you do on your business card is “amateurish.” A card that has only a name and no profession would be a social calling card. Handing out one of those at a business event — and a writers’ conference is a business event — is what I would call amateurish.
A business card must say what service you provide. If you repair cars, put “auto mechanic.” If you design spaceships, put “rocket scientist.” If you arrange words into sentences, put “writer.”
Remember the purpose of a business card is to help people re-connect with you later. Your card must remind them why they would want to. This is true in all industries. On the one hand, if I come back from a writers’ conference with a big stack of cards, probably most of those people are writers. But if they all wind up in one box on my desk with cards from chamber of commerce meetings and business expos (which is actually the case), then the cards better say what each person does.
If you have written a book, you are a writer. Put that on your card. That your writing is yet unpublished is beside the point. The business card tells people what you are selling, so they can decide whether to buy it from you.
What should be on your business card:
  •     Name
  •     What you do
  •     At least two contact methods, such as phone and e-mail
  •     Blog and/or website address
If your card doesn’t say what you do, it’s likely to wind up in the waste bin rather than the Rolodex.

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