Monday, September 28, 2009

Business Cards: Marketing That Works

Successful marketing requires presenting the right image. A business card not only provides contact information, it introduces you, your book, product or services. It reflects who you are.

At a minimum, a business card should have name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website URL. If your business has a logo, include that, too. Some writers have their book’s cover art on their cards; other writers have several writing interests and want to present a wider image.

You needn’t be flamboyant, but like all marketing tools, you want to make an impression to help the contact remember you. Look at other business cards and define your likes and dislikes. Your business card defines you–make sure yours is the quality you want to impart.

When you design your business card, make sure the printing is large enough to comfortably read. If you design and print your own business card, use an appropriate card stock weight. Business cards printed on skimpy stock give the wrong image.

Two-sided business cards allow space to show your wares–perhaps a book cover with ISBN, etc. Of course, the more extras you have adds to the cost.

Brian Jud, marketing specialist, emphases the importance of business cards. "Your business card can be a portable, affordable and versatile marketing tool." Jud, author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books" offers these tips on the use of business cards.

1) Never leave home without them–keep extras in your car, purse, and briefcase. Store them in a card case to prevent damage.
2) Insert a business card with all correspondence.
3) Use proper business card etiquette. Take a moment to study a card when it’s handed to you.
4) Be generous–hand them out at trade shows, personal presentations and networking meetings.
5) Have a professional card with complete, updated contact information in a readable type size.
6) Consider a magnetized card to place on a refrigerator, a daily reminder of your book.
7) Give one to receptionists after your media events to reference when listeners call later to ask about you.
8) Make notes on others’ cards to remember what you discussed and when/how to follow-up.
9) Give people a reason to hold on to your card–write a personal note on the back or a code to receive a discount when ordering.
10) Place them on bulletin boards at local restaurants, supermarkets, libraries, your gym and other public places.

For more marketing ideas, visit Brian Jud’s website:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Careful Planning Can Ease Effects of Disaster

After a disaster we can usually count on local officials and relief workers to be on the scene, but they can’t be everywhere at once and, depending on the type and scope of disaster, it could take days before help arrives. In most areas we’re used to the efficiency of 911 assistance, but remember, telephones are often knocked out by disasters, along with roads, water systems and electricity.

In a large disaster you likely will be responsible for your family’s safety and well-being for an extended period of time.

In addition to your Disaster Supplies Kit (discussed in my 8-30-09 blog) prepared and stored in convenient places, other important steps should be considered:

Utility turn off Teach every responsible family member how to turn off water, electricity, and gas. If you smell gas after an earthquake, shut off the main gas valve. Keep a wrench attached to the gas meter with a wire. Do not light a match; use a flashlight if electrical power is out.

Plan how your family will stay in contact Consider three possibilities:
– Agree on a location a safe distance from your home in case of fire
– In the event you can’t return home, agree on a location outside your neighborhood
– Make arrangements with an out-of-state relative or friend where family members can call to "check in." Many times local lines are out of order or jammed, but you can still make long-distance calls.

Discuss what to do during an earthquake Discuss and practice with the whole family earthquake and other emergency procedures. If indoors during an earthquake, duck under a sturdy table or desk. "Drop, Cover and Hold" is the slogan to remember for indoor safety. Cover your face and head to prevent injury from glass and debris. If a table is unavailable, move to a major wall or doorway, away from windows or objects that could fall.

If outdoors, move to an open area, away from falling objects and utility lines. If you’re near a body of water, move to high ground. If in transit, stop your vehicle away from buildings, bridges and utility lines and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops.

Ensure that your home is structurally safe Make sure your home complies with local regulations. Strap upright hot water heaters to the wall, bolt bookshelves to the wall. Go through your home, room by room, with an eye toward safety.

Learn First Aid and CPR There’s no question–First Aid and CPR training saves lives. Contact your local American Red Cross to sign up for these classes.

Remember, it is not difficult or expensive to be prepared, but it is up to you. If a real emergency should strike, your family’s safety and well-being will depend on how adequately you have prepared for them. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the task to be done–just take it one step at a time.

It’s impossible to plan for every potentiality, but your contingency plans will eliminate much of the confusion and inconvenience resulting from a catastrophe. What could be better than the peace of mind this preparedness will give you?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Review: A Heart for Any Fate

Suzanne Lyon’s A Heart for Any Fate paints a vivid picture of the life of Hannah Allison Cole, an ancestor of the author. Though a work of fiction, Lyon draws on her impressive frontier lore expertise to fill in missing pieces of this extraordinary woman’s life. The story portrays the life of a young woman from her 1790 wedding day in Southwest Virginia to her 1843 death in Western Missouri.

Although many facts are known of this remarkable woman, Lyon has given Hannah dimension through speculation based on research and woman’s intuition. The author shows meticulous attention to the period’s customs and attitudes.

Sections of the story unfold in the journal Hannah keeps, written in the form of letters to her husband’s cousin, Dolley, who later becomes the nation’s first lady, Dolley Madison. Although the letters were never mailed, the journal brings to life woman-to-woman details of a strong marriage, but a marriage of challenge, heartbreak and fear.

True to the time, Hannah follows her husband to migrate west, leaving her comfortable home and family to uncertainty and disasters, yet with hopes and joys. Hannah’s brother-in-law marries her sister, and strained relationships fuel a turbulent attraction of forbidden love.

Wonderfully vibrant, A Heart for Any Fate weaves our nation’s early history into a story filled with emotion, hardship, and most of all, enduring love.

A Heart for Any Fate, originally published in 2005 by Five Star, may be purchased through the author’s website or ordered by e-mail