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Unboxed Business Cards

Photobucket [1]Therese here. One of the best parts of being a writer is getting out from behind the computer to meet other writers, as I did earlier this year at Boston’s Muse and the Marketplace [2] conference. There I had the opportunity to meet author Liz Michalski [3]. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy meeting Liz, I was impressed by her versatile and slightly quirky business cards. Very. I ordered a set for myself as soon as I arrived back home. I asked Liz to swing by today to tell us a little more about them–and a trick she’s been using to make them even more valuable to her as an author. Enjoy!

Unboxed Business Cards

Before EVENFALL was released, I spent a lot of time thinking about ways to thank the people who would read it. There are so many books out there these days, in so many different formats, I’m really appreciative whenever anyone takes the time to purchase mine, and I wanted to find a way to express that.

I considered making up bookmarks, bracelets, or stickers, but I wanted something more personal — something that would have meaning for those who had read the book, that would make them feel special, and that would allow me to connect with them on an individual level.

The solution came to me one day when I was standing in the grocery line idly reading the tabloid headlines. “Secrets of the Stars!” one magazine trumpeted. Everybody wants to know the hidden story, right? The stuff that’s not out there for the public? The stories that not everyone knows?

And so the secret pages were born. With my web designer, I worked up several pages that have content about the book or characters, and asked her to ‘hide’ them. Go to my web site and you won’t see them. But they’re there.

Getting the word out to readers was the next step. To do that, I wanted something fun and different as well — something that seemed like a little secret all on its own. I scouted around and came up with Moo cards [4]. They’re tiny little cards — about half the size of a traditional business card — but they’re gorgeous, and you can print 100 different images in a single pack of cards. People really seem to love them because they are so different.

I put the cover of EVENFALL on the front of each card. On the back, I printed different sentences from the book, with one word pulled out in a different color on each card. That word is the password to a secret page.

At signings, I place a sticker inside each book that has the URL for a secret page. I then hand out the card and explain what it is to each person who purchases a book. It is a great conversation starter, and it is so much fun to see readers get excited about the idea — I’ve had people realize that their cards and stickers say different things, and come back and demand the cards and codes for additional pages! Sometimes I even punch a hole in the cards, string ribbons and beads through them, and hand them out as mini-bookmarks.

For readers who can’t make it to a signing, I’ve put info about the secret pages on my GoodReads page and will be adding it to my author bio page on Amazon. And whenever anyone writes to me, either electronically or through ‘snail’ mail, I pass along the codes as well.

In the grand scheme of things, the extra pages didn’t add that much to the cost of my web site, but I like to think they earned me a sense of community and some good will from readers. Plus, they are fun — and when publishing and writing can be so serious, it’s nice to have a way to lighten life up.

What’s your secret for connecting with readers?

Readers, you can learn more about Liz and her debut novel, Evenfall, on her website [5] and her blog [6], and by following her on Facebook [7]. Write on!