Impressing an Agent: Leave your mark

Calling-card

Literary events are a great opportunity to meet new friends as well as agents.  Many people come away from them with a writing buddy, a critique group or a social support network; and that requires exchanging details at some point during your conversation.

Do you have a business card yet? If you meet someone you really connect with at an event, networking experts suggesting getting their card – rather than giving yours – since you’re more likely to make the effort to track down someone you’re interested in (rather than hoping they’ll contact you first). But you want to be prepared when someone – agent, writer or illustrator – is interested in you, so think about having some business cards at the ready.

A business card is a neat little snapshot of your personal details and creative work. With carefully chosen images and text, you can also use a business card to reflect your brand identity: a funny picture for a middle grade humour writer, red text on a black background for dystopian writers, and one of your own unique illustrations if you’re an artist. Here’s a few examples of business cards from writers and illustrators at last year’s SCBWI Winchester Conference (courtesy of Kirsten Carlson)  and of postcards from this year’s SCBWI LA Conference (courtesy of Giuseppe Castellano).

Business cards don’t have to be expensive: anyone with a computer, printer and scissors can make their own! There are also some fantastic sites that allow you to create your own cards by uploading images or choosing from a stock library. One of the best is moo.com. Moo offers ‘mini-cards’, business cards, postcards, stickers and more. Create items online by choosing from hundreds of gorgeous hand-designs or upload your own images; creating a truly unique snapshot of your work.

I co-ordinate the annual SCBWI Agents’ Party, which offers an unrivalled opportunity for un-agented, aspiring writers and illustrators to mingle with agents who represent children’s illustrators and children’s, middle grade and YA writers. Guests have the chance to promote their work and potentially secure meetings, or their very own agent, after the party. In the lead-up to this year’s event, I sent guests hints and tips to help them prepare for the party and stand out from the crowd. An edited version of these appear on the SCBWI blog Words and Pictures, but I’ve reproduced them in full here on my blog.

Business card above available from typescale on Etsy.