Whew! I’ve finally finished the final draft of my manuscript. I really want it to look good so I better find an editor to make sure it’s as clean as possible. I could go with Mysti Powell, I’ve used her before, but wait a minute, I have a whole drawer full of business cards from attending the Independent Book Publishers Association conference (courtesy of a scholarship from Florida Authors and Publishers Association). Let me see what my conference contacts have to offer.
I open my catchall drawer that has a collection of nearly empty packs of gum, seriously deformed and dehydrated rubber bands, rusty paperclips, expired coupons to local fast-food joints, and a jumbled assortment of cards.
After stacking them like a pint-sized deck of playing cards, I riff through them to find potential editors. About halfway through the cards, I realize that not one of them has a picture of the editor (or businessperson) and many are missing critical information like web site addresses, phone numbers, and emails. One card simply has the person’s name! And shivers! Many of the cards are cheap office supply store versions printed at home with rough edges and type that is poorly aligned.
I don’t know about you, but I like to know what the person I am working with looks like. Being able to put a face to a business card also helps jog my memory of when we met and what we discussed while at a seminar or conference. The quality of his/her card gives me an intuition into the level of professional I may choose to help me.
I scare myself every morning when I look in the mirror, so putting my face on my business card was a dicey proposition. I had to spend several hours on Photoshop “enhancing” my business card photograph enough to keep from scaring clients away. I ended up with a picture that makes me look like a Pug, so ugly that I am actually kind of cute.
After reviewing my stack of business cards, I came away with a few suggestions you might want to incorporate when creating or updating your business card.
Use a professional designer for your business card, letterhead, brochures, website, etc.
Your business card represents you. Make it the best it can be by using a professional to design it and keep it consistent with other branding efforts you may employ in your business.
KISSU: Keep it short, simple, and understandable.
In the Internet age, people tend to scan more than they read. Make the information easily accessible. Make it easy-to-read.
Use standard business card size.
Fancy folding cards, cards of different shapes, cards of different sizes, do not easily fit in standard business card holders, files, or wallets. Cards made from CD materials may get erased and jump drives require some kind of reader: stick with a heavy stock paper card.
Critical Information on every business card.
Name / Company Name / Title
Your picture! Use a professional photographer and make sure you own the rights to use the picture wherever you want for promotional purposes.
Book cover graphic on the back of the card
4-color, 300 dpi jpeg of your front cover
Include ISBN underneath the title
Include the notice: Available at Amazon and BN.com! (or wherever)
Your card represents you!
Include 4/4 color (at least on the side with your picture)
Glossy laminate on front, matte finish on the back
Heavy card stock (nix homemade cards)
Proffread your business card. (Get it?)
Print in quantity?
Always, always, always have a large supply of business cards at hand whether you are on vacation, out to dinner, involved in intimate activity, or at a business event. (The last two could actually be the same!) Keep a box of business cards in your laptop case, your car, and certainly in a specialized case or your wallet.
I have found that I make frequent changes to my cards based on what aspect of my business I am promoting, so I will order 500 to a thousand cards at a time. You can order more or less based on your needs. I have found the online company VistaPrint to be a quality provider of business cards and other marketing items.
Well, that little side journey into business card basics helped fulfill my word count for the day but got me no closer to finding an editor for my manuscript. I better stick with the tried and true and send Mysti Powell my document. I know what she looks like and more important what kind of editor she is.
If just one business card had a picture on it that reminded me of an editor I had met earlier at the conference, they just might have my business right now.
P.S. Always ask for the other person’s card first. “May I have your business card, please?”