Don't Be Caught Cardless
It happens often. I'll be attending a convention or a conference and ask the person for their business card at the same time I offer them my card. The other person will rummage in their briefcase or bag and not be able to produce the card. Sometimes they will take an extra business card from me then scratch out their name, email and phone number on the back of my card then hand it back. Other times they will make a note and promise to send me their information--which sometimes happens and sometimes never happens.
Why should I care? I have a broad network of friends, acquaintances and people who have crossed my path over the last 20 years in the publishing community. After I've been in one of these settings, I return to my office and add their information into my database. If I've known them for a while, I check that business card to see if any of their information has changed--and often it has changed so I fix my records. Our society is incredibly mobile. I don't use the information often yet these business cards provide a means of access. You don't want to be caught without a business card.
Another frequent situation is where I meet an editor toward the end of a conference and we talk for a few minutes. I ask for their card and they say, "Oh, I didn't bring enough and what few cards I brought were gone in the first day." When this happens, I have to do something proactive to write down their information or some other means to get it. A number of times, I've been one of the few people in the room to receive this contact information from a speaker.
Several of my long-time friends have told me they collect my various business cards. I'm sure they have quite an array of different companies and locations. You want to make sure your card gives a physical mailing address, a phone number and an email address. You can be selective which address or phone number or email address that you include but it should have all of these elements. Also I have different business cards for different purposes. One card touts my writing credentials while another card promotes a particular book or another aspect of my work.
In preparation for my forthcoming conference season (check this link for my various speaking opportunities), I've made a business card for Whalin Literary Agency. For the first time, I used Overnight Prints and was impressed with the quality (and low cost) of their work.
With a bit of preparation, you will be able to make sure you aren't caught cardless.