Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The terrifying little red book

Worried friend, via e-mail, upon learning that I am planning to live-blog the RWA conference:

Oh, no. You're not going to bring that little red book to the conference, are you?

Well, yeah. If I don't write down what you say over that late-night cafe latte, how am I going to quote you accurately when I get back to my hotel room?

She was kidding, and so was I. Mostly. But now she's got me thinking. How much name-dropping can I do without turning this into some kind of gossip blog? When is a conversation "off the record"? And if I see one of my fellow romance authors dancing topless on a bar with a bottle of Jack Daniels in each hand, should I blog about that?

Whoops. There goes my wild imagination again. Don't worry--it's not that kind of conference.


Some of you will be heading out to other writing conferences this fall, and the e-mail lists I read are always buzzing about business cards, so I'll give you some free advice: When you go to a conference and meet agents, editors, and other writers, you should hand out cards if you want them to remember you. Putting your photo or a picture of your upcoming book's cover on your card is a great idea. And make the cards pretty or interesting so people will be reluctant to throw them away.

I recommend making your own cards because it's easy and fun. And not only can you print them as you need them (no "minimum orders" of 500), you can change them as often as you like.

I'm taking two cards to Reno: one to promote this blog and the other to promote my upcoming book and my website. When I talk to someone about blogging, I'll whip out a little blue card. And when someone asks about my books, they'll get a yellow card.

Note that my address and phone number don't appear on these cards. That's by design: I don't want people calling me, I want them to visit my blog and my website. If I put more personal information on the cards, I wouldn't be able to hand them out to strangers in restaurants or on airplanes.

I look for excuses to give people cards. If someone wants my editor's name, a book recommendation, or my recipe for chicken marsala (why does that make me think of Jenny Crusie?) I write it on the back of a card. That pretty much ensures my cards won't end up in the trash as soon as the conference attenders get home. If I can get you to keep my card, it's more likely that you'll remember my name and visit my website and buy my next book. Sneaky, huh?

I'm going to sign off now and start packing for Reno. (Survey question: Should I iron my red linen dress when we all know very well that it will need pressed again when I unpack it?) I'll leave home early in the morning, but I won't get to my hotel until around 4:00 (Reno time), so don't look for a blog entry until tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

And if you see me and my little red book in Reno, please don't run away.


Anonymous said...

No one could forget you Brenda,
your one of a kind, Girl! ;-D
have a good one , you could wave to my sister as you fly over Nev.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Have fun Brenda!!! I love your biz cards!

Anonymous said...

Your cards are uber-cool. And your system for handling the whole "card protocol" is genius. I think you'd have fun in Japan. hah.


Anonymous said...

If someone is dancing topless on a table top, I want to know what they're dancing to and if the items in question look fake.

OH, wait, that's too nosy, ain't it?


Julana said...

Hey, I need a card to advertise my blog. Never thought of that. :-)
Your blog is so interesting, I may look up your book. :-)

Paul said...

Hi Brenda,

Greetings from Kennesaw, Ga!

Came across your blog at the Author's Blog, via Mary, at Rhythm of Grace.

Thanks for sharing the ideas concerning the business card. That is a cool idea and that is what I shall do when I get through the 500 cards I already have :-)

I will be back to read more of your blog!


Brenda Coulter said...

Paul, thanks for saying hello. It was good of my pal Mary Griffith to send you over.

Julana, thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Mir, if there's been any topless dancing here so far, I've missed it. Fortunately.