Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

Business Cards

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message 1: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Does anyone (everyone) use business cards? I'm wanting to make some and am trying to figure out what makes a great author business card... name, title of book, publisher... What do your writerly business cards look like? Just curious.


message 2: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) My cards are white and have the image from Utamaro Revealed in colour... just the Japanese print though, not the actual book cover with text. The card is portrait, not landscape, and the image takes up half of the card. Below it there's my name, profession (author and artist), address, 'phone and email. On the reverse there's a black and white image (detail of the same image that's on the other side) and that fills the whole card (pale tones so it's just a backdrop for the text), and my web site address is printed across it.

I think creative people need creative business cards... well, this one does anyway. An artist with a card without colour/art would seem a bit odd, I think. When I designed mine I had museums and galleries in mind, as they're the places I need to whip one out.

The useful thing about having a business card is never having to spell your name to people. With Collia-Suzuki for a surname, this is a great benefit.

message 3: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments My b-cards are also white and portrait rather than landscape, but with the book cover on the front--sort of smallish in size, title & author, a brief one-line synopsis, ISBN, price, and "Available at" The back is blank. I had them printed at Each book has its own card. I tend to use them as bookmarks. :o)

(After writing this down, I realized just how much info I crammed onto my cards. And yet, they don't look cluttered.)

message 4: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Gina, they sound really gorgeous. I kind of like the idea of something on the back. I was thinking of writing a really nice one-sentence summation of the book that my editor gave me. And I totally agree with you about doing something creative and pretty. If there is one thing I learned in Japan it's the importance of quality.

And Gina, did you (will you) do a new set of cards for Guppy?

Jaimey, funny you mentioned Vistaprint! I've been fooling around with their "advanced" cards (create your own) where you can acutally upload your own photos. Needless to say, I've spent and entire three days playing and having a grand ol' time there. After checking my e-mail address and homepage address a gazillion times I'm still afraid to push "order". I was debating putting the price and ISBN number.

And I love the idea of using them for bookmarks!

Thanks to both of you for answering. I might just make the plunge today and order. *fingers crossed*


message 5: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Yes, I will get some new ones for Old Guppy-grump... I think Mr Skelly-welly deserves his own cards. I've got signings coming up (starting March 7th), so I'll have them ready for then.

I know what you mean about hitting that 'order' button. I checked the same poster (for Guppy) about sixty times... even read the words aloud, syllable by syllable, in case my brain had been tricked into not seeing an error. Took me a week to hit the button. They arrived a couple days back and they're great. I love Vista Print.

message 6: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Man, my mind is still grappling with the small things...I have yet to even think about posters yet. I think from business cards I'll move up to bookmarks...then make the leap to posters. Actual book signings are a universe away.

message 7: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 334 comments Mod
I made up some on Vistaprint. You can do color on both sides, and have a semi-transparent effect to make them like mini bookmarks.

Some bills come in small envelopes, so when I pay a small sized bill, I drop in a business card.

message 8: by Thersa (new)

Thersa OMG, I did not figure out the semi transparent effect. Darn it. Ahhh, and I just placed the order. Okay, next batch.


message 9: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Timely post...I am picking up my bookmarks tomorrow and keeping my fingers crossed that they are alright! I didn't have separate business cards made - just the bookmarks. On the front (landscape) is a full-color image from the front cover of the book; the back is orange, matching the trim on the front, and has the book title, author/publisher (me!), ISBN, a one sentence summary about the book, a phrase about what is on the website, and the URL. I didn't include any other contact info - and that was the hardest bit to decide on but I didn't want to give out a phone number to everyone I gave a bookmark to and the email is so similiar to the URL I didn't want the back to say "bernadette simpson" 3 times! I decided I would just jot my phone number down on the cards to those people I needed to give that info, too. Do you think that will look completely unprofessional?

message 10: by Thersa (new)

Thersa You know, it makes perfect sense to use a bookmark as a business card. More incentive for people to use them and not tuck them away in their wallets for ages.

I didn't include phone number either. Or ISBN actually.

Book Title
by me

One sentence blurb
Publisher name
e-mail address

A quote that was particularly nice and sums up the book.

I'm glad I only ordered 250 though because I already have some new ideas. Weee.

message 11: by Robin (last edited Feb 22, 2009 02:17AM) (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
Speaking of bookmarks - I have an entire post on "how to design a good bookmark". Here is a copy of the one I used in the example:
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The article can be found here

BTW - the best price I've found for printing bookmarks is:

2,500 - $ 76.99 (3.1 cents a piece) - Does anyone have a better price then this?

message 12: by Robin (last edited Feb 22, 2009 02:19AM) (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
Don't forget to put your ISBN number on your business card!! A good place is under the picture of your book. It allows people to find it on the net easily.

message 13: by Thersa (new)

Thersa That is a gorgeous bookmark. I'm going to read the article now.


message 14: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments Great price for bookmarks,Robin. I started off making my own on my computer and you certainly can't print them yourself for that.

message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
While Vistaprint does offer "free" cards if you use their template - I find their "paid" business cards a bit pricy. Their prices are:

Qnty Matt Glossy
250 $19.99 $32.98
500 $29.99 $48.98

On the other hand I used And they offer a glossy card (with UV coating - same as the bookmarks) and their prices are:

250 - $11.55
500 - $12.55

message 16: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Robin wrote: "Speaking of bookmarks - I have an entire post on "how to design a good bookmark". Here is a copy of the one I used in the example:

The article can be found here

BTW - the best price I've ..."

Thanks, Robin! I read your all your posts before I ordered my bookmarks - very useful information! I picked up my bookmarks yesterday and, besides being a bit lighter in color than I'd like, they're great. I think it will be fun to pass them around!

message 17: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Thanks for all the great info. And that GotPrint, can't wait to check that out. Bookmarks are next on my list! Thank you Robin and Bernadette!


message 18: by Dee (new)

Dee Marie (dee_marie) | 460 comments Yippers I have to get my arse in gear and get my get bookmarks as well.

My problem is that we are in the middle of a huge move, and I don't know if I can keep my email addy :(

message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert | 34 comments After a 3 month, 14 state book tour I found that bookmarks, while cheap, don't work well. At book signings especially in bookstores, take a walk around the store after you're done and you will see half your bookmarks on tables or on the floor. People do not read bookmarks! Plus every other author has them.
I've found that color postcards with your cover on the front and on the back a logo relative to your book plus a catchy one paragraph extract (25 words or less) from your book on the left half are much more effective. Leave the right side blank for mailings or to announce your booksigning. Example: 'Robert Mykle will be appearing at this B&N June 1 at 5-7 to sign his book.' Two weeks before your signing mail about 200 copies to the bookstore to pass out at checkout. The b-stores love it. People are less likely to throw them away and many tuck them in their desks or use them as over-sized book marks.

When I hand out a post card at signings (Do Not, Do Not sit behind the table like a punished fifth grader) I say "Hi. I'm the author of _______. Here is a postcard of my book." Dramatic pause. "Oh here let me sign that for you." And you draw them back to your table. Bookmarks are cheaper but pcs are more effective.

Robert Mykle

message 20: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Oh wow, Robert. My booksigning aren't scheduled until this summer, but I can totally see that happening (people just leaving bookmarks laying around). I love the postcard idea and even more the *dramatic pause* "Here, let me sign that for you."

Thanks a bunch!


message 21: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Hi Robert, I found the opposite to be true. Everybody wanted the bookmarks. My husband was at my last signing and we were on two different floors of the bookstore. He gave the bookmarks on the ground floor, and as those people reached the first floor I was there. They were all putting them in their bags or jacket pockets and commenting on the design, before they even spotted me. When I offered a bookmark, sometimes the person I had approached would dip into their bag or pocket and whip their bookmark out to show my husband had got there first. There wasn't a lonely discarded bookmark to be seen.

I wonder if it's country/town/store specific.

message 22: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Actually, that is very fascinating. If I were scientifically minded I would love to do a study. Why would some group of people prefer bookmarks to postcards or postcards to bookmarks? In my case I use old receipts, rubber bands, and shopping lists as bookmarks. I'd appreciate either.


message 23: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Thersa wrote: "In my case I use old receipts, rubber bands, and shopping lists as bookmarks."

So do I! Even now that I have hundreds of them, I still seem to end up with shopping receipts sticking out of my books.

I'm wondering if the preference for bookmark or postcard depends on the image that's on it. I'd love to do a study too.

message 24: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Gina, do you do like me and before lending someone a book (sometimes even in front of them) you turn it up side down and shake it and then flip through all the pages to make sure you haven't left in some possibly incriminating evidence (Shopping List: Chocolate, ice cream, cookies...)?

Okay, maybe that's just me...

message 25: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Ice cream, lol!

No, it's not just you! I have to check for money too... when I run out of receipts and wrappers I pop a five pound note in. My books double as piggy banks, and every three months or so I empty them out to see how much money I've saved up. I used a bay leaf once... that turned out badly.

message 26: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Books as piggy banks: now there's (!) a brilliant idea. I imagine the bay leaf crumbled. But the book smelled lovely.

Sometimes I use whatever comes in the mail, lose interest in the book, set it aside, and then spend weeks searching for the visa bill. Which, depending on my renewed interest in the book, could stay missing indefinitely.

message 27: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Oh my... the lost bills. I had to be good and draw the line at those when I forgot to pay one because it was keeping my page in Candide. I do use the envelopes that they come in though... greeting cards, bits of cardboard torn off the top of a cereal box. I am reading a book on art history at the moment, and it has half of a deck of cards scattered throughout it, to mark passages of note.

message 28: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments The difference between book marks and postcards could be the autograph... Some folks want the signature of a "star". I heard of one woman having a waste paper basket at her table... when someone asked for her card, she'd drop it in the trash and say, "How about I just put it here now, and save you the trouble." Now that, I thought was rude! Not to mention a turn off to potential buyers. I'm loving all the sharing in this thread. I've had good results with business card, bookmarks, and postcards. Anything done with class helps!

message 29: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Kgcummings wrote: "when someone asked for her card, she'd drop it in the trash and say, "How about I just put it here now, and save you the trouble."

Oh my, that is rude.

One thing I've been getting requests for that has really thrown me is photographs. I really wasn't expecting anyone to want my mug shot... except the police for Britain's most wanted, lol.

message 30: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments that is soooo cool! wanting your picture I mean! I sometimes send a picture signed to my "regulars" that buy each book as they come out, but I always figured they used them for target practice! Have I asked you yet where you live in England? I'm blonde you know... Like, duh??? My ancestors were from the Cambridge area. Crossed the pond in 1636.

message 31: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Kgcummings wrote: "I always figured they used them for target practice!."

lol, Our faces on dart boards across the globe. I am going to have a photo taken where I look sensible and respectable... that's going to take a few attempts!

I am in the southwest, in Somerset, at the moment... have been for six years. I've moved about though... Bath, Bloomsbury in London, etc. Next stop might be France. I've got friends in Cambridge and they love it there.

message 32: by Thersa (new)

Thersa About the throwing away of the card in the waste basket, yesh, not only rude but what a way to display nil self confidence. "How 'bout I just burn the book right in front of you since you'll probably never read it?"

Author photos now! Gina you should start a whole new thread. That is my 'other' worry. I personally adore both yours Gina and yours Kathy. I do know I've seen some where I'm like there has GOT to be a better picture of this person.


message 33: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments Thank you Thersa. I wanted something where the nose was centered and extra points can be given for smacking me equal distance between the eyes!
tee hee...

message 34: by Thersa (new)

Thersa I imagine Vistaprint has some function where we could super impose a bull's eye onto our photos. Hilarious!

message 35: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Gina wrote: "Hi Robert, I found the opposite to be true. Everybody wanted the bookmarks. My husband was at my last signing and we were on two different floors of the bookstore. He gave the bookmarks on the grou..."

I'll be interested to see how my bookmarks go over. Readers here in Egypt definitely aren't bombarded with this type of thing so it's still a bit novel over here. And since it's a children's book, I'm hoping the kids will be into the bookmarks. I happen to think they look pretty cool! ;) BUT postcards are a popular way to advertise here...many cafes and bars have a shelf of different free postcards so that's something to think about. Hhhhmmm....

message 36: by Thersa (new)

Thersa They have started to do that here in Japan, a kind of shelf that hold all sorts of free (usually artistic) postcards.

I think your book is gorgeous, Bernadette. I was looking at the free peek on your website.


message 37: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Kulman (andreakulman) | 23 comments You all have such GREAT ideas! My children LOVE bookmarks... so do I. LOL.

message 38: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Bernadette, I SO want to visit Egypt... big time. I'm going to count my airmiles again... see if they've multiplied.

message 39: by Robin (last edited Feb 28, 2009 08:32PM) (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "I found that bookmarks, while cheap, don't work well...."

I must respectfully disagree - they work WONDERFULLY for us. I do go around the store afterwards and I find a few but VERY few. In passing out 300 bookmarks I usually find 2 - 5 that were discarded. Again I think it really depends on what is on your bookmark. Since ours is both "colorful on the front" and "textual" on the back that seems to be a good combination.

I also have postcards as Robert discusses. I leave a space where I can add the "date/time" of the signing and I put it there by printing on "clear" labels then sticking them on. My experience is people see "postcards" as "marketing" and are not as receptive to them. Bookmarks are something they actually use.

The other thing that may be a factor is that I'm passing out the bookmarks at the entrance of the store not at the signing table - Not sure how that effects things but it is what I do.

From a cost perspective they are pretty close to even - I think there is like a $5 difference between the two on - in any case do which ever technique gives you the best results.

We also tried the "postcards" at the store and had zero success with that - the CR's (I forget what that stands for) says that putting "bag stuffers" really don't work as most people take out the book and throw away the bag and out it goes. They mentioned how people are constantly throwing away their "store cards" that way.

-- Robin (32 days until Avempartha)

message 40: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Thersa wrote: "They have started to do that here in Japan, a kind of shelf that hold all sorts of free (usually artistic) postcards.

I think your book is gorgeous, Bernadette. I was looking at the free peek o..."

Thanks, Thersa! I had a lot of fun creating the book...but it takes a bit effort to find the motivation for the marketing and selling!

message 41: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Gina wrote: "Bernadette, I SO want to visit Egypt... big time. I'm going to count my airmiles again... see if they've multiplied."

Now's the time to visit!! Hope those miles have multiplied. ;)

message 42: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) My husband was looking at travel sites last night... his cogs were turning for hours afterwards... I could hear them!

message 43: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I have found bookmarks to be successful. I am not nearly as assertive as I would like when it comes to self promotion. I travel a great deal, and I always use one of my bookmarks for whatever book I am reading in transit. I carry a few extra and have upon occasion had a seatmate comment on my bookmark, at which time I say "here's one for you!".
I also use business cards, as I do a great deal of speaking at conferences.

message 44: by Thersa (new)

Thersa I'm totally new to the game. And my father asked me an interesting question. He wondered if he took a stack of business cards to the books stores in town and explained I was a local author if they'd leave them near the register or something. Has anyone done this? Is is cool? Depend on store? Of course, in that case I think bookmarks (or postcards) would work much better than business cards. I guess I need to get my booty in gear making bookmarks/postcards now.


message 45: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Waterstone's have been very enthusiastic about having my bookmarks by their checkouts - they've just had another bundle. I don't think business cards would go down quite so well, but that might just be me because people are always snaffling bundles of mine. I live in a community of bookmark addicts I think.

message 46: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Thersa - I was just wondering about this. I have several bookstores in Cairo selling my book and I was going to leave a stack of bookmarks with each of them this weekend. I imagine it will depend on each bookstore so we'll see! But, yeah, I think bookmarks would probably go down better than business cards.

message 47: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Wow. So much great information here.

I just checked Vistaprint and it doesn't look like they do bookmarks. I then remembered Robin's post and checked out Gotprint and it looks wonderful. AND (like Robin said) cheaper. I think I'm going to order my next batch from them and compare.

Where does everyone get their bookmarks done?


message 48: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I buy Vistaprint postcards and guillotine them in half... two bookmarks per postcard. It took a bit of fiddling to get everything lined up to apply the single postcard design twice, but once I'd got a template it was no trouble at all.

message 49: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Gina wrote: "I buy Vistaprint postcards and guillotine them in half... two bookmarks per postcard. It took a bit of fiddling to get everything lined up to apply the single postcard design twice, but once I'd go..."

GREAT idea, Gina! I'll have to get working on mine now.

~Jaimey :o)

message 50: by Thersa (new)

Thersa That is an incredible idea, Gina. Now I'm going to re-do my math as far as prices go!


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