We all have them. Business cards, that is. Writers probably spent a combined time, across all of our efforts creating them, that would have equaled the time to pen an epic tome.
You know what I mean. Which layout design? What picture? Font style and size? Oh, and the info to include in those few lines provided? Is this company better than that one?
Business cards were one of the marketing components that I could understand and latch onto early to “establish a brand” and “build a platform”. I loved the idea of having “ a card” as in “Do you have a card?” when meeting people at conferences. Cards made sense to me in a way that the Twitterverse and Facebooking didn’t. If I struggled with other marketing plan components, at least I had a card.
I have had lots of cards over the years. I’ve tossed them all (except for one for my archives–some biographer might be curious!). What looked great in the creation—well, not so much once I got them and began to hand them around. In fairness to myself, I am not a graphic designer, so while I’m a whiz at decorating rooms in my house, that skill apparently doesn’t transfer to two dimensions in a business card size.
Or at least not my past business cards.
Now, I am very happy with the two cards I carry around and distribute for my 180-degrees-apart novels. That is due, of course, to the great book covers my publishers provided. Clean white background, no junky whiz-bam decorations to distract the eye.
But the back! Ah, the back!
That is valuable real estate. I decided to give people a reason NOT to throw away my card or lose it in a drawer. I give content on the back. Content I hope they will find intriguing, or helpful, or just plain funny.
For Streetwalker, my erotic romance, I include advice from my protagonist, Carrie, as “Carrie’s Top Ten Sex Tips”. And what better to put on the back of the business card for Mission Impastable, my culinary mystery, than a recipe from the book, “Lasagna Roll-Ups”?
Now, I have to tell you, I did–briefly–consider including ways to poison people on the back of the Mission Impastable business card, but I feared the NSA would show up. I don’t need that kind of trouble. A recipe? Safe. Carrie’s sex tips for Streetwalker is just to be funny and memorable.
So, I’m standing at this book signing event, right? I stand there waving my Misson Impastable business card. “Hey, want a free recipe?” Mostly, people came over to my section, and I had a chance to do my pitch. I even sold some books. But this one lady shook her head and said, “I don’t like cooking.” Without skipping a beat, I waved my Streetwalker business card and said, “Do you like sex?” She laughed and came over. I didn’t sell a book to her, but I got to pitch. And, I’ll bet she remembers me.
The point of the information on the back of the card is to get people to keep your card so they remember you and maybe someday that will translate into a sale. I’ve had people ask me for additional cards for their friends.
What content is in your book that you could share so people don’t toss your business card?
If you write historical fiction mysteries, maybe you could share little known facts about the era or a person. If you write medical mysteries, include some factoids about trafficking in body parts or ways to prevent the disease in your book. Perhaps, for a cozy craft mystery, you could include crochet instructions for a scarf. You get the idea.
You have specialized knowledge. Use it to extend the value of your four-cent business card investment. You might make a sale worth many, many times that.