Monday, June 2, 2014

Important Author's Tool: The Business Card

Sample Card

When it comes to marketing your books, don't overlook an important promotional item:  The Business Card. It's one of an author's most important tools and they're not at all expensive to have printed.

You are only limited by your imagination, but there are a few important things you should include on your card.  You can also use the back of the card.  I usually do.
Your Website and URL
A Picture of Your Books
Your Photo
Name and Address
Phone Number
I've sold a lot of books using my business card. There are so many uses for it. I'll share some of my favorites, but I'm sure you will come up with many other ways, besides these.  You are only limited by your imagination.

Remember, we're in the business of selling books:

* Bulletin boards in stores and businesses you frequent. Thumbtack your card there with the others.

* While sitting in waiting rooms, on a plane, train, or bus, or any time you're talking to people. Hand them a card while you're introducing yourself.

* At gatherings, class reunions, or while networking with your 'real' job. Hand people both of your business cards.

* Tuck a few inside a book you've sold for the buyer to pass along to their friends.

* Ask to leave a small stack on the counter at your public library. Libraries love local authors ... and so do people who come into the library. They take the cards, trust me.

* If your book is a children's book, strike up a conversation when see a mother with children. Introduce yourself and hand her a card (and maybe more to give to friends).

* Again, for children's authors, any time you meet a teacher, a principal, or school librarian, give them your card.  You might just get a school visit as a result.

* Ask to leave a stack of business cards on the counter with your mechanic, where you take your car, your hairdresser, or even at the gym.

* Buy a small business card holder, have it full of cards for the table beside you at book signings, school visits, or other speaking engagements. Maybe someone won't buy your book that day, but when they take a business card, it's an excellent reminder of your book for later, when birthdays and the holidays come around.

Here's one of my personal favorites.  I've sold a lot of books this way:

* Restaurants. When the check comes after dinner, write "Thank you" on one of your cards and then sign it. If possible, put the name of the waiter or waitress on the card to personalize it. Then leave your card, along with the tip, for your waiter, or waitress.

Often, they will follow me to the door, asking more about my books, wanting to shake my hand, or even to ask for more cards for the rest of the staff.

* The above also applies to anyone giving you good service, i.e., a barber, hairstylist, or the clerk in a department store.

Just remember to always write "Thank You!" and sign your card. Remember, it's an autograph, too.

People love meeting authors.  Use this to your advantage. Have those business cards in your pocket, or purse, and be ready to pass them out. You'll sell more books, I promise.

Here are two companies I've used and they are both very good, with fast delivery:

Vista Print

“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck


John David Lionel Brooke said...

Hola CJ again,

I apologize your posted business card is actually life size! Well designed you've packed a lot of information legibly into a small space. Congratulations, happy to hear this tool is working for you.


CJ Heck said...

Hola John! It's always nice to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment.
Your friend,

Anonymous said...

I've actually made a special business card:

Since the protagonist of my Amsterdam Assassin Series is an assassin, I created 'her' card and put my blog, website and email on it. So the card itself is in the name of Loki Enterprises, experts in fortunate accidents and corporate troubleshooting.

You can see the card here

CJ Heck said...

What a great idea! [I'll have to remember that one]. It's beautiful!

The great thing is, with promoting and marketing, we're only limited by our own imaginations!

I wish you continued success!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, C.J., I love your tips on how and when to give/leave your business card.

As mine is a bit mysterious, I went into bookstores and libraries where i left my cards in suspense fiction / thriller books.

I was also thinking of handwritten vouchers on the back of the business cards that people can send in to receive a free copy of the first book in the series, so I can 'track' the business cards.

CJ Heck said...

Your ideas are all good ones! We're limited only by our own imaginations, so whatever works for us is perfect.

I wish you continued success.

Jennifer at WriteKidsBooks said...

I love almost all these ideas... and you have definitely pushed me to finish the business card order I never completed, wondering what I'd do with the cards.

However, the idea of handing out a personal business card to work contacts, particularly if you work for an employer, and particularly if you work in an unrelated area (eg insurance) strikes me as tacky at best and at worst, highly unprofessional.

I think it's safer to suggest handing them out to work contacts with whom we feel closer than usual and only if we're certain it will be seen as appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I still pay my bills by check and put a business card in the envelope with the check. I hve no idea if these things are opened by automatic machine or by hand, but who knows. Someone may see it.
Richard Brawer

Angelique Conger said...

As I have not yet published my first book, these are ideas I will try to keep in my brain for when I do! Great ways to move a book!

CJ Heck said...

I wish you much success with getting that first book published, Angelique!

Don't get discouraged. Be persistent. Remember, it only takes one "Yes" [from the right publisher] and you are a published author.

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Unknown said...

I have bookmarks with all of my book covers on and my website name. I give them to children when I do school visits, place inside the books, give to retailers when they buy my books. Best of all they don't cost anything as my friendly printer prints them on the unused part of the cover paper when I get the books printed :)

Unknown said...

Hello and thank you CJ for your valuable information. I am designing a new business card for my book and will use some of your suggestions. I am learning to keep some business cards in my car and in my pocket. Why? the other day someone helped me get my car out of a tight spot and he wanted to know what I did and I told him I was an author. H was so happy to meet an author. I lost the opportunity to give him my card because It was in my pocket book and I had to move my car. A good lesson for me is to be sure that my card is available for me to give to someone. Now, I have business card on my visor and can get to it quickly and have placed some in my pocket. I have made a sign that I have in the back of the car below the window. Now, that I have read your suggestions I am going to change it into an enlarged business card. Free ad for my book.

CJ Heck said...

Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and for sharing your story. Love the idea about putting an enlarged business card in your back window!

I wish you continued success!

Alice simpson said...

Hi CJ,
So many good ideas, from you and your followers! My preference when going anywhere is to wear something with pockets, so I can have my business cards with me. As soon as I create a business card for my book,'I won't leave home without them!'~Alice

CJ Heck said...

So many great ideas here! I thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and for taking the time to leave a comment. I wish you all much success!