Business Cards for Unpublished Writers


Ok, so I meant to write this post back in May when I was designing my new cards leading up to the conference, but I ran out of time. Then I forgot. (Oops!) But I remembered now, so here goes.

When I went to my first conferences, I didn’t have business cards. I mean, those are only for published writers who have books to promote, right?


Business cards are great for networking. If you’re going to a conference, it really pays to get some printed up, that way you can stay in touch with all the new writers you’re meeting. Having a network of writer-friends is helpful, whether you’re just looking to vent to someone who understands the agony of querying/being on submission/preparing to launch a book, etc., or whether you’re looking for blog tour hosts, book blurbers, reviewers, etc. Business cards help you stay in touch with other writers.

But, without a book to promote, I wasn’t really sure what to put on them. So, I asked around on a few forums, and here is what was deemed the most important:

  • Your Name (this may seem obvious, but for a writer, your name is your brand, make it large and obvious on your card)
  • What you write (YA, MG, PB, etc)
  • Your website/blog/Twitter handle/Facebook Author page
  • Your professional email address
  • A photo (this one surprised me at first, but makes total sense. When you get home from a conference with an armload of business cards, the photo will help remind you who’s who. It’s also helpful for those people who are better with faces than names.)

I designed my first business cards while still deeply concussed. I sketched out a rough design on paper and my awesome husband did the computer-work for me (since I still wasn’t allowed on it). They weren’t the prettiest cards ever, but they got the job done.

Also, because we left it to last minute, we couldn’t get them professionally printed, so we just printed them at home. This worked out surprisingly well – we were able to just print out a couple of dozen, which was perfect for my needs. The conference I was attending was small (about 50-odd attendees), and it saved me from being left with hundreds of leftover cards. The quality was pretty good, too. We bought “clean-edge” snap-apart cards, and used color ink.

*This card is one of the ones that didn't print properly - misaligned & grainy photo - the ones I used looked better
*This card is one of the ones that didn’t print properly – misaligned & grainy photo – the ones I used looked better

At the conference I collected a bunch of other writers’ cards, and compared them to mine. I liked almost all of theirs better (in fairness, some were illustrators who got to use their own characters on their cards). I found the thing I liked most about the other cards was the colored/illustrated backgrounds. Some writers used stock images of books, typewriters, quill pens, etc. while others just printed on colored cardstock. Either way, the result was the same: they looked better than my plain white cards.

However, almost ever writer who took my card mentioned they liked the idea of including my photo. (Score one for Kaye!)

Just before my next conference (because I will never learn to start preparing farther in advance) I decided to redesign my cards. I used a stock layout from Word, and customized it to fit my needs. I chose a vertical design, because, well, I like to be different, and I made sure to use one of my own photos (yay, cake monsters!) as a background. Since I didn’t want to waste a ton of ink or draw away from the info on the card, I played with the color saturation on the photo until it reached the Goldilocks level (not too hard, not too soft).

This was the result:


I’m pretty happy with it. What do you think? Have any features on your card that I missed out on? Share your thoughts in the comments.

P.S. If you’re wondering about the upcoming Logline Critique, I’ll be posting details next Thursday (August 13th), and the submission window will open Monday August 17th.

P.P.S. If you weren’t wondering about the logline critiques, but you are now, check out this post over on MSFV.


6 thoughts on “Business Cards for Unpublished Writers

  1. Thanks so much for this post!!! I just ordered cards on VistaPrint (their $9.99 special) and made sure my picture is on it! I attend my first writers conference next Wednesday (Catamaran in Pebble Beach, California) and I’m so glad I’ll have these business cards for networking purposes! I already have a book deal with Post Hill Press so I’m not in search of an agent or a publisher, but I do hope to make some kindred spirit writer friends. The cards will help me do just that! :)))

    1. That’s great, Dyane! I’m so glad I could help. Good luck at your writer’s conference next week. I’ve been to several and loved every one! And congrats on your publishing deal!

      1. Thanks. I’ve been trying to put up posts that I would have wanted when I was first starting out (not that I’m *that* experienced, but I figure if I can share what I’ve learned, people don’t have to repeat my mistakes). I appreciate you letting me know I helped you. 😀

    1. Thanks. I’ve been really happy printing mine at home. We end up with a few bad ones (which I give the kids to play with) but I’m really bad at handing them out, so I don’t want to have a ton left over. Good luck with the new design!

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