Do you have a business card? Why do you need one?
These were questions I asked myself last year before I went to my first big conference.
Initially, I did not have a business card, but I decided it would be good to hand it out to all the people I met at the Muse. So, I designed one myself. I thought it was pretty cool at the time and it definitely made me feel official.
I went to the conference and I handed out maybe 5 business cards, but alas the rest are still in the box. Is this a bad thing? Maybe, if only because I am sure I missed a few opportunities along the way. But overall, having the cards was a good thing because I did make a few good connections. Connecting with fellow writers and getting people to visit my blog was well worth the $20 I spent on 100 cards. Even if I still have 95.
It was a way for me to leave my mark . This year, looking back, I saw that the old ones were amateurish. The learning curve is steep. So, I decided to get new ones professionally done up. They are much cooler. In the end, I know I will feel better if I have them to give out. Even if its only a few.
So here are my reasons why I think aspiring writers should have business cards (especially if you are going to conferences):
1) It will make you reach out to people. After all you spent the money - so why not hand them out. Shameless self promotion is not a bad thing and doesn't have to be shameful at all.
2) It will make you feel like a professional. Having a business card in you pocket or purse with your name, your blog, your twitter, and your email is saying I have it together. I am in the business of writing.
3) It's something to say during a conversation with a stranger - "Hey, I loved your comment in that seminar. Here's my card. What are you writing?"
4) They are fun to make and give you a chance to consider your image. How do I want to portray myself as a writer?
5) You never know who will contact you. That is what the card is for after all, to give strangers a reminder of who you are and what you are about. Bring them to your blog, gain more followers, maybe even have that agent you pitched randomly check you out.
If you plan on attending any conferences, or if you just want to feel like a professional, a business card is the way to go. And when you do sign that book deal, well then you will have something to put on the table at your signings so people can find you online. I don't recommend putting your address and phone number on it though. I did that the first time. But why, in this digital age, do we need to? Email is often the first contact and anything more can be asked for if needed. So, email, blog, twitter if it applies.
Reach out to the masses and maybe they will reach out to you.