Today I’m working on putting my business cards together. It’s taking way more time than I thought it would.
Why: I decided I needed to attend a conference in order to learn more about how to do what I’m trying to do, and so I looked up advice on networking and career building. Almost every single post about conference going was about how to make connections, but it seems to me that an exchange is only really successful if the person actually has a way to connect with you again. Hence the invention of business cards in the first place (or ‘calling’ or ‘trade’ cards, as they were known in the 17th century). So, clearly, I need them.
How: Well.. I googled this and my screen was instantly filled with advertisements from suppliers. So, that part is simple. Except I clearly left this project too late because I need stuff to put On the business cards. So, a website and a phone number and some reason for them to actually care to follow up with me. Well, the website would take way too long, but I can buy the domain and make a little Coming Soon page, so that’s done but not particularly useful or professional. The phone number will have to be my cellphone (d’oh!) and now we get down to the ‘reason to follow up with me’. Something online that I have that will interest them? That’s the time consuming complication.
I don’t know how to make a business connection wherein I cannot provide anything to anyone. People are amazingly generous, and I’m sure I’ll find people who are willing to help me, but I’d love to have something to offer them as well. That’d probably be my fanfiction; not the fiction itself but my ideas on how to use it for marketing. I’ll post about those soon, so I can connect people to this blog. So that’s cool.
I’m concerned that I might be shooting myself in the foot with my fanfiction marketing idea. I’m not concerned that it’s illegal – if you use original works within the public domain you don’t even have to worry – but that it’s viewed quite negatively in the professional writing world. I wouldn’t know; I’ve never been in the professional writing world before. But I could understand how that connotation would exist – at base fanfiction is assuming a different author’s beloved characters/world/plotlines and using them without permission. That’s why I’ve only ever worked within fandoms that have been expressly supported by their creators, like JK Rowling. George R. R. Martin has expressed his views against fanfiction and so I’ll never work within his world. I could understand why authors would be against fanfiction in general, and so I worry that putting my fanfiction name on my business cards will be viewed quite negatively.
So, a choice: do I risk being gauche in order to have something to offer or do I go to a conference with nothing but contact information on my business cards and nothing to offer? Neither is a particularly awesome position to be in but which is worse?
I found out something neat – as long as you’re not picky about style, you can get business cards printed to arrive with next-day shipping. So, at least I can procrastinate on this for the rest of time. Well, until the 20th.