Writers – What Should Your Business Card Say?

by Anne Wayman

You do have a business card, don’t you? One that makes it clear you are a writer?

If you don’t, you should.

Business cards are one of the finest ways to promote yourself as a freelance writer and one of the the cheapest too.

Why Writers Need Business Cards

Writers need business cards for all sorts of reasons, including:

  • Business cards are so very easy for writers to hand out – almost everywhere. Or leave them places, like at restaurants and banks.
  • Properly done, business cards quickly state not only who you are but what you do – write (or edit, or take photos, or whatever combination of skills you want to market).
  • Business cards provide an opportunity for additional communication. When people take my card (the front and back are right here) and look at it, they usually either ask me more about my writing and ghostwriting or comment on the image.
  • Cards let people find you again – both professionally and socially.

  • A business card says you are a professional.

Your cards should have, at a minimum:

  • Your name
  • Your job title
  • Your website
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address

By job title I mean a word or phrase that states you are a writer. If you have a specialty, that should be listed as well. For example, my card says:

Anne Wayman
Writer/Writing Coach/Ghostwriter

Those are my threespecialties. If you don’t have a specialty, simply add Writer or Freelance Writer.

Make Contact Easy

Adding your phone number and email address makes it super easy for a prospective client to contact you. Add your website and you’ve given a way for anyone to check your professional credits.


By the way, I no longer include my physical address on my business card. First of all, it takes up too much space; second, people can get it from my website.

Design for Clarity

It can be a challenge to get all the information you want on the card in a way that looks good and is readable. But it’s worth fiddling until you get it right.

Pay particular attention to the typestyle, size and color. A serif style is easiest to read, and make it large enough so even aging eyes can see it clearly. Watch the color… I had a set of gorgeous cards but the white I’d chosen as the type color didn’t stand out enough against the background, so I threw them out.

For a little extra money you can use the back – you can even put a mini-resume there. Of course, if you leave the card blank, you can hand write a phone number there for certain people, making them feel special.

Speaking of Money

You don’t have to spend a fortune. You can get good looking and inexpensive business cards from VistaPrint. That’s where I’ve gotten my cards for years. It’s easy; they have a ton of designs, and you can even upload your own logo.

Of course, if you know a good designer, don’t hesitate to use them; you’ll pay more, but it can be worth it.

Spread ‘em Around

Once you have your cards, don’t leave them in the box! Keep some with you at all times.

Hand them out at every opportunity. Even if the person you’re talking with has no need of writing, their needs may change or they may know someone who needs a writer. In fact, I often hand people two business cards and saying something like, “one for you and one to pass on.” The more cards you pass out, the better your chances of getting work as a result.

Leave a card or two with your tip at restaurants. Enclose them when you pay your bills or send other correspondence. Post them on bulletin boards at your church or school or even the Laundromat.

Two things happen when you spread your card around. The first is obvious—you simply never know who needs some writing or knows someone who needs some writing. The second is subtle, and has to do with reinforcing your own confidence in yourself – always worth doing.

Write well and often,

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie Kirkpatrick December 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Tried the A Blogger link, froze and no page showed, not sure if it me or the link. Thought you should know. I tried it twice.

Bless you. Thank you for your words and work.
Connie Kirkpatrick recently posted..Living a Powerful LifeMy Profile

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annew December 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

thanks Connie… I’ll get it fixed and come back here and tell you I have.

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Ella October 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Hello there,
I’m creating a bussiness card and would like to include two company names on there. I’m wondering what the corret way is. for instance, is the following correct:

John Doe Management Group, LLC
Affiliated with Jane Doe Group

Please advise. I should also mention, I have no legal ties with the second business name that I will put on the business card other than their permission, so is “affiliated with” the right term to use?

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Anne October 31, 2011 at 10:42 am

Ella, I don’t know what you should do… remember that a business card is a sales tool. What will be understandable to the person you want to sell the services to? And if you have no legal right to the second name or to use it, why are you even considering it. Or maybe I’m missing something?

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la creme December 8, 2010 at 9:54 am

Thank you for the tips on what a business card should say. I find it very useful and interesting!

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Carmie October 21, 2010 at 10:56 am

After a Google search, found this post and am soooooo glad I did. Can’t wait to read more of your posts.

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annew October 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

Welcome Carmie… do you remember exactly what you searched on?

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Ivy Hughes October 20, 2010 at 9:28 am

I have a few questions.

1. I don’t have a website, but have a blog that has nothing to do with what I write professionally. Should I leave it off the card?

2. As for the back of the card, should I include a list of publications I write for? They’re national publications and will likely be recognized but I don’t know if that’s appropriate.

3. I have an LCC but since I don’t have a site, should I leave that off of the card as well?

Thanks!
Ivy Hughes recently posted..Gospel AerobicsMy Profile

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annew October 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Ivy, will the blog demonstrate you write well and support your business? If so, include it. Sure, list a few on the back. LCC?

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Ivy Hughes October 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I do have an LCC.
Ivy Hughes recently posted..Gospel AerobicsMy Profile

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jorgekafkazar January 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I greatly prefer to design and print my own cards. I also like to include a little bit of color in the form of a small logo or simple image–nothing so bizarre as to take away from the professional image, but something memorable that draws the eye and makes a statement about me or my services. I also have personal cards that have no direct business use, just to introduce myself and make it easy for people to remember me and reach me. I sometimes follow up with a writing/editing card.

The idea of putting information on the back of the card is a good one, particularly when multiple genres are involved or when selling several product lines. In my former job, I found such line cards very helpful in deciding whom to call for goods or services. I don’t advocate putting a broad range of services on a card; it’s too reminiscent of “Grace L. Ferguson Airline & Storm Door Company” and detracts from at least one of the professional images and possibly all.

Similarly, practically all the “mission statements” I’ve seen are such obvious BS that they should never go on a business card, though some companies have done so.

I must confess I collect business cards. I find it hard to throw them away. I often run into people years after first meeting them, and it helps me to be able to pull out their old card. (I put brief notations on cards, so I won’t forget relevant things about the person.) I even have a few cards marked “deceased.” I’m not sure why I keep them.

LOL @ Jim–good catch!
.-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

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Craig April 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm

My cards are going to say something like:

Cardimon Communications
Craig Cardimon

Technical / Science Writing & Editing
Copyediting & Proofreading
Resume Consulting

Mobile Phone #
Email address
Web address

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admin December 26, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Not even remotely offended Jim – keep poking fun… I both grinned and sighed… if you know what I mean ;)

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Jim December 26, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Hi, Anne

We all knew what you meant. I thought I’d have a bit of fun at your expense — and at my own (as the world’s cheapest freelance writer).

;-)

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admin December 26, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm, Jim, I suppose I could have also written
Business cards are one of the finest ways to promote yourself as a freelance writer and one of the the cheapest ways to market yourself too.

And, if blogging lent itself to putting the entry aside for a day or so before posting…. sigh.

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Jim December 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Word order and meaning:

> “Business cards are one of the finest ways to promote yourself as a freelance writer and one of the the cheapest too.”

Or: “Business cards are one of the finest — and cheapest — ways to promote yourself as a freelance writer.”

I prefer the latter, though I confess to being one of the cheapest freelance writers extant, having thus far been paid not one cent for my writing.

But your advice is good, and well taken. Now, off to the printer’s…

Jim

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admin December 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Well said Lauri… and I often give people two cards and invite them to share the second one with someone.

I think I’ve gotten two gigs from my cards… well, one writing job and one coaching.

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Lauri December 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Although I am quite sure a job has never resulted from me passing out my business cards, I agree that they are very important to have, mainly for the following reason: they help establish me as a real person with a real career.

A lot of ppl look skeptically at me when I say I’m a freelancer – you can see the wheels turning in their head: “Does this person *actually* make a living, or does she sit at home eating bon bons while working on her yeah right ‘Great American Novel’?”

Business cards let a person know I’ve invested time and money into a professional item, and therefore am probably a professional person who takes herself and her work seriously. Not to mention someone who has enough experience to make it worth it to me to pay for such items – after all, you either have been or intend to be freelancing for a long time if you bother investing in such an item, right?

It’s the same reason that we dress appropriately to go to a job interview or a client meeting: to be taken as a professional. Cards are like an accessory that achieve the same thing. They show you are serious about what you do and that you have invested in the bits and pieces – the good suit, the nice shoes, etc – that you use when appropriate.

So it certainly can’t hurt to sprinkle cards in bars, banks, and beauty parlors, but I think the better reason to have cards is to further cement that image of the professional you to the world – and, on those days when you need reminding, yourself.

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