The blog of author Harper Alexander

Business Cards up my Socially Awkward Sleeve

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So my author friend J Weaving (whom you’ll be hearing a lot more about nowadays) and I have decided to try putting out some business cards to spread the word about our books.  Who knows how successful that kind of thing is for authors, but if nothing else it’s been so much fun designing the cards, and it will be nice to have something to hand to friends/relatives (or strangers you simply happen to talk to) when they ask about your writing and your books.

Some authors really love talking about their work, but for me the subject is a little daunting and, to be honest, wearying.  They throw questions at you like ‘what’s your book about?’ like it’s easy to just spit out everything that makes it (hopefully) worth reading.  They’re merely curious, but the pressure to make your work sound good (or at least worthwhile) rather kills the casual ease of it for me.  Maybe it’s easy and enjoyable for some of you writers, but for me there’s so much intertwined that makes a book ‘special’ that it’s not an easy question for me to answer to begin with.

So there I am, stricken with every word I’ve written in my story clamoring to be mentioned as part of the importance that makes the whole thing worthwhile, but at the same time self-conscious about revealing ANY of the premise of a story, because it’s my baby and people are so opinionated, and I’m afraid they’re going to take one listen and think ‘wow, that sounds stupid’, and then try to pretend like they don’t think that.  (And there’s nothing worse than wondering if they’re just pretending what you shared doesn’t sound completely stupid.)

So I kind of have a policy that I don’t talk in-depth about my work.  I prefer the stance ‘if you’re curious enough, you’re welcome to read it and find out’.  Often, when people push me and I explain I’m simply not good at talking about my work, that I don’t know how to just spit out an effective summary for their benefit without fumbling and bumbling and straying and diverting, they ask ‘well, don’t you have, like, a blurb on the back of the book or something? Just tell me that’.  But that doesn’t help me.  The blurb on the back (at least for me), is crafted to be dramatic, and it would make me even more uncomfortable to respond with this dramatic pitch when asked the simple question ‘what is your book about?’.  Even though I do indeed have most of my blurbs memorized, I just don’t feel right reciting that dramatic pitch in a regular conversation.  Especially because it would sound silly without the dramatic intonation, and I’m no actress, so I wouldn’t recite it with any.  It would just sound dumb.  (Maybe not as dumb as I feel like it would, but the point is that the idea just makes me squirm.)

As such, I’m notorious for answering ‘what is your book about?’ with the response ‘ummm…it’s about a girl…’, and then sort of trying to salvage it from there.  SO.  I am excited (okay, I’m RELIEVED) to finally be developing some business cards, so I can just say ‘well, here, why don’t you check it out’.  Saved!

Here’s an idea of what some of my more general cards will include on them (but I figure I’ll also do some for individual books):

Business card collage

I’m doing these on Moo.com, per my author friend’s referral, but I also know you can do the same thing on Zazzle.com, here: Create Your Own Zazzle Business Cards!


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