Many times I have found myself at the end of a conversation, searching my handbag for a pen and paper. "You'd think a writer would have a pen" is the usual quip as stationary is pulled together by both parties. Finally I decided to get cards made, just to have an easy way to give people my website, but a friend suggested I make a card specifically for The I.T. Girl.
This took a few attempts. I looked at Moo, Vista Print and Zazzle. These offer various templates that you can personalise with varying degrees of flexibility. I had the Goldilocks experience. Vista isn't very flexible with custom design and the fixed templates didn't give me what I wanted. Zazzle is very flexible but to the point that I felt I couldn't be sure the end result would look the same as it did on screen. This was partly due to an ambiguity around font size - it seemed to shrink as you added more text. Moo, however, offered a good combination of flexibility with restraints on layout that made me feel the restrictions were there to ensure the layout looked good. Moo do offer a way to sidestep their templates altogether but they suggest if you do this you should create a vector-based PDF. It gets quite complicated but they also provide comprehensive steps if you really want to roll up your sleeves. I went with Moo's least restrictive template in the end, with text on one side and a picture on the other.
Here are the design tips I picked up along the way:
- Only include one website so it's clear where you want people to go
- Include a twitter handle so people can find you easily
- Make the title as large as possible
- For a book, add as much blurb as possible
- State what the book is: fiction/non-fiction, it's not always obvious
- On the text side, don't add another image as this distracts from the important information
Next step was the ordering. The smallest batch I could get with Moo is 50. Including basic price, tax and delivery, this cost me just under £20. Moo helpfully offer a sample of card types so you can compare the glossy card to the matte, the white finish versus off-white. But what would have really helped me would have been a sample of my designs; So I could try out different title sizes, for example and different colours etc. Because I found that I couldn't really tell if a layout worked until I was holding it in my hands. I ended up ordering 3 times! £60 is what it has cost to hold 50 cards that I am happy with. Ordering a larger batch would have been better value but obviously you don't want to do that until you're sure of the design.
I suppose I should have printed out my designs at home first and stuck them over a card or something to get a better idea, but my own printout would not have been the same as Moo's rendering so still there would have been room for uncertainty. I believe some printing shops will print cards for you. This is a much cheaper option and so would be very appealing if you wanted to experiment with design!
Some people have suggested printing bookmarks and postcards. I love the bookmark idea but it doesn't seem quite right when you've published an ebook!
Let me know about your experiences making a card. I suppose now that I've got the card sorted out, no one will ask for my website again!