Saturday, July 22, 2017

Does Your Business Card Include the Basics?

By W. Terry Whalin

Because of my years in publishing and attending many conferences, I've become an expert at skimming business cards on the spot with writers. My actions spring from my own frustration with missing information. Over the years, I've exchanged thousands of cards with people at writer's conferences. When I did not glance at the card on the spot, I would tuck it into my pocket, take it home, then discover missing information like a phone number or email or mailing address. As an editor, it would force me to email this person and gather the missing information (wasting time and energy).

The best time to gather this missing information is when you are meeting face to face with this person. Recently I was in Nashville for a Morgan James Publishing author event. I met a number of authors at this event and exchanged business cards. One of these authors, a medical doctor-turned-writer-podcaster, lived nearby in Boulder, Colorado. When we exchanged cards, I glanced at the information and it only contained his website. There was no email address nor phone number. He said, “My email address is on my website and I want people to go to my website.” It was good to know he had a rationale for the missing information—but I still collected it on the spot and wrote his email and phone on his business card. Others might not have his information from his business card but I gathered this important data on the spot.

When I attend events, my business card is one of the key tools that I use. Some of my long-term friends are amused at the changes in my business card over the years. I've added and improved my cards. Each time I reprint, I evaluate the information to see if it contains what I need. Because I work for a New York publisher, I have a business card which contains my photo, direct dial phone number, work email, and other information. Here's my Morgan James business card:
Whalin Morgan James business card - front
Whalin Morgan James business card - back
Yet I live in Colorado and I'm also an author with my own blog, local mailing address and books. In recent years, I've been carrying two business cards. The local card shows off this information. Here's my personal business card:

Whalin Personal business card - front
Whalin Personal business card - back
Since I've shown you what I'm using for my business card. Now take a minute to review your card and make sure it includes the basics:

*a current photo

*your phone and email address

*your physical address (or at least your city to give the receiver your time zone)

*twitter name

*blog website

*giveaway to build your email list (one of the most important author tools)

How did you do on the basics? Are you missing something? The most difficult element to proofread is something that is missing. That's why we need a checklist to make sure you cover everything. If you are missing some element maybe it's time to reprint your business cards.

Let me know your experience with business cards in the comments below.


Business card basics. Get the details to make sure you aren't missing something here.  (ClickToTweet)
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books including his latest, Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. Also Terry has written for more than 50 magazines and lives in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter where he has over 214,000 followers.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Terry, I think of business cards as mini ads. From an artistic point of view, I love the simplicity idea coming from much of the business world. But an author needs more of a mini ad. Yep, basics but also cover and a blub or endorsement. And if an author writes in several genres, she may need several author's business cards!

Terry Whalin said...


Like me, you've seen a lot of business cards over the years. Thank you for this post and feedback. I agree they are mini-ads.


Linda Wilson said...

Hi Terry, thanks for your terrific post. I will be sure to follow your advice as I update my business card, especially now that I'm just starting out with the pending publication of my first book. Your information is very helpful and always on target.

Karen Cioffi said...

Terry, this is important information. It really is a mini-ad and this is a timely reminder to me that I have to update my business card. Time to visit VistaPrint. Thanks for sharing!

Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for the feedback. I've learned a lot from looking at other people's cards and my own trial and error. It's a process. The important thing is to be creating business cards and use them effectively (something everyone can do).


Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for this feedback. I have never used Vista Print but have used many other places. My go-to resource right now is my friend in Phoenix, Ken Rutt at Epic Print Solutions: Hope that helps you.


Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for the tip, Terry. I'll check Epic out.

HRBennett87 said...

I've honestly never considered having a business card before. Maybe I should. :/

Terry Whalin said...


A business card has always been a valuable tool to me. Thanks for the comment.


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