PDA

View Full Version : Business card etiquette



Cekrit
09-11-2017, 08:27 PM
Simple question.

Is it a jerk move to go to a book store and leave my business cards in books of the same genre or books I think readers would like in an "if you like this you might like this" fashion?

My gut tells me not to, or it could put a bad taste in the reader's mouth or look bad if the book store finds out.

But several people have said to me "hey why don't we go to the book store and leave your business cards in books!"

I'm always left not knowing what to do.

It's always a little weird for me to hand my cards out in general- especially as an indie author with something "just on Amazon." A lot of times I finally get my card in someone's hand and they just stand there with a sort of "oh...now I have this thing I don't know what to do with" face even if we just had a good talk about the book.

Advice on how to better share the love?

Marlys
09-11-2017, 08:41 PM
Consider making up bookmarks instead of business cards--then at least there's a chance the recipient will use it. I wouldn't leave them in books in a bookstore, though, and since the store wouldn't profit from the sale of your book then they probably wouldn't let you leave a stack on their sales counter (although they might if they're gung-ho about supporting local authors, so you could always ask).

Your local library might take some bookmarks. And since your book seems to be SFF, try local cons--some have tables where people can leave promo material, or you could team up with one or more other authors and get a table in the sales room.

lizmonster
09-11-2017, 08:49 PM
Simple question.

Is it a jerk move to go to a book store and leave my business cards in books of the same genre or books I think readers would like in an "if you like this you might like this" fashion?

My gut tells me not to, or it could put a bad taste in the reader's mouth or look bad if the book store finds out.

But several people have said to me "hey why don't we go to the book store and leave your business cards in books!"

I'm always left not knowing what to do.

It's always a little weird for me to hand my cards out in general- especially as an indie author with something "just on Amazon." A lot of times I finally get my card in someone's hand and they just stand there with a sort of "oh...now I have this thing I don't know what to do with" face even if we just had a good talk about the book.

Advice on how to better share the love?

IMO it's not an effective use of business cards. If I found a business card in a book at a bookstore, I'd probably assume a previous shopper had left it there as a bookmark, possibly by accident. If I bought the book, I'd just toss the card.

Personally, I use business cards as reminders - I liked what this author had to say at a signing or on a con panel, so I'll grab their card so I remember their name. It's a substitute for having the presence of mind to pull up my phone and make a note of their name.

On the other hand, I don't think there's anything wrong with a "Here, let me give you my card" as you're winding down a book-related conversation. Yeah, it can be awkward, but it's a generally-accepted business practice in a lot of industries, and it's easy to spin it as a "Here's how you can get in touch if you have other questions" thing instead of a "Buy! My! Book!" thing. (If you read awkwardness from the recipient, maybe ask if they've got a card they can give you as well - makes the transaction feel a bit more equal.)

In general: I think business cards are critical if you're going to be interacting with people face to face, because it's an expected thing. But I don't think they work well as a push model.

AW Admin
09-11-2017, 09:03 PM
Simple question.

Is it a jerk move to go to a book store and leave my business cards in books of the same genre or books I think readers would like in an "if you like this you might like this" fashion?

Yes. It's a total jerk move; it also marks you as an amateur.


It's always a little weird for me to hand my cards out in general- especially as an indie author with something "just on Amazon." A lot of times I finally get my card in someone's hand and they just stand there with a sort of "oh...now I have this thing I don't know what to do with" face even if we just had a good talk about the book.

Advice on how to better share the love?

Your card should have
your author name
Writer (optional)
An email address
Your Website URL

Your card is about you, not your books.

If you want to attract attention (and readers) to your book direct people to your Website.

I'm moving this thread from BWQ to Book Promotion Ideas and Advice; you might want to pay special attention to this thread:

How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb)

veinglory
09-11-2017, 11:08 PM
If you could not realistically ask permission to do it and get it, then you shouldn't do it.

Brightdreamer
09-11-2017, 11:16 PM
Doesn't sound like a great idea to me. You might (emphasis on "might") be able to leave bookmarks at a library, but you'd want to ask permission first. If you just stick them in the books, I'm laying odds that 99.99% will simply be discarded by the patrons or the librarians when they're found. (I work at a library shipping center. Lots of business cards and bookmarks get left in books. If we find them, they almost invariably get recycled, though sometimes the bookmarks wind up on our wall o' bookmarks - not a place a patron would ever see it, and thus ineffective as advertising.)

If you want somewhere to leave promotional material, do any local places have community bulletin boards? I see them at grocery stores and such around here, places people can post flyers and ads and such. Don't know if you need store permission to post or not; they tend to look haphazard to me.

Filigree
09-12-2017, 01:56 AM
Try your local independent bookstores and art supply stores. Be upfront when you approach local libraries; they might let you leave promo materials.

Curlz
09-12-2017, 02:27 AM
Is it a jerk move to go to a book store and leave my business cards in books of the same genre or books I think readers would like in an "if you like this you might like this" fashion?

Advice on how to better share the love?
Unless you're selling pizza, spammy leaflets, cards and whatnot goes in the bin.
For "sharing the love", there are some enlightening threads from self-pubbed authors hereabouts who share some very practical ideas about ways to get more sales. At least those are tried and tested! :Thumbs:

Old Hack
09-12-2017, 10:30 AM
Not only is it not going to help sell your books, it's rude to the writers whose books you would use. You'd be trying to take advantage of their reputations and promotional efforts for your own gains.

As has already been said, read the SEO Dweeb thread. It's good.

Roxxsmom
09-12-2017, 11:00 AM
It would never occur to me to look at a business card as a recommendation for a book or author by itself. Prior to this thread, if I found one in a book, I'd be puzzled more than anything. Or I'd assume someone had left it in as a bookmark and probably just toss it.

I've been to workshops and been given cards by authors I met there, but that was after we'd established a rapport of some kind. They were either fellow aspiring writers who wanted to stay in touch or to possibly swap crits, or they were more established authors (who had been workshop leaders or gave talks) who were kindly offering to answer questions I might have about a critique they'd offered in a workshop session, or about something we'd discussed or that they'd given a talk about. Some writers who had books coming out soon offered these plaque/card thingies that had a print of their book's cover art and title on it.

Note that if I meet an author and they're kind and helpful, I'm inclined to buy at least one of their books and give it a try. I may not end up loving it or being a huge fan of their work, but I will be a fan of them as a human being, and I want to give them some support, at least. I may recommend their books to friends whose taste may be in line with what they write as well (like say they write UF, which isn't really my thing usually, but I know some people who are fans of that genre).