So, in the past few weeks, I’ve come up against something that I’ve put off for a while, but that I simply can’t anymore: I have to get business cards. I’ll be going to too many conferences and conventions this year to let my blank stare and a bookmark replace an honest-to-god business card.
Honestly, you’d think it wouldn’t be this big of a deal. I design all my own promo stuff for my books — this shouldn’t be any different, right? Except … promo for books is totally different (and I learned that the hard way when I was designing my website.)
A little stroll down memory lane:
For my first website, I asked my friend Eka to create a look that fit me — and he did a fantastic job. Light, kind of fun (although the chick looks way more classy than I ever do), and I loved it. It fit my blogging personality, my personality, and I was SO happy.
Then I put up my first excerpt from Demon Angel, including a scene where Hugh stabs the heroine Lilith through the heart, and got a few, “Oh my god, I thought you wrote chick lit!” replies.
Whoops. Okay, so my personality and my books aren’t exactly the perfect match. So I updated my website to reflect the books…
…and used a darker version of the same type of graphic for my blog (thank you, Eka!)
Except, after a while, even that was a problem. There was still too much of my personality in my site, when I prefer that it’s all about the books. So I completely revamped it again so that it cycled between Paranormal! Steampunk! (currently, it’s in the paranormal part of that cycle) or another Red! Black! design that incorporated both paranormal and steampunk elements. The theme I use depends on my mood and the next release I have coming out.
So, the website is all about the books. When it came time to design business cards (and that time came up frequently over the past couple of years) I was totally frozen by uncertainty: OMG HOW SHOULD I CARRY MY BRANDING OVER TO MY CARDS??
Because branding is a big deal, right? Using certain typefaces, incorporating logos, and so on. But my site constantly changes … so what theme should I carry over to my business card? OMG, and do I focus on the steampunk or the paranormal? And, OMG, is there enough room on a little card to even squish that kind of information in?
And then there was the card itself. What if I can’t design one that’s awesome enough? I feel kind of like Patrick Bateman (YouTube link).
Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.
Oh, the pressure!
But I thought, okay — I’m just psycho. I just have to look online to get ideas for a really great business card design. I mean, it can’t be that big of a deal, right?
I despaired. And wept. How to accurately promote my books through a little card?
Then, of course, it occurred to me that I really was being a dork, because this was the one time I was promoting myself — Meljean Brook, Author — rather than my books. The website might change, I’m not changing. And whomever I give that card to is contacting me, not my books.
But, anyway. It came down to asking myself: Who am I as an author? And it was simple, really.
(And now I won’t have to worry that Patrick Bateman will kill me.)