business cards

New interview with Joe and Denise, now up at Hoban Cards!

There’s a wonderful interview with my wife Denise Kiernan and I up today at the website of Hoban Cards, a letterpress printing shop in Chehalis, Washington. Hoban prints the loveliest letterpress business cards and stationery. The interview has us talking a little about our work as writers, our books, and how we use Hoban’s business cards. Check out the interview here.

I don’t recall exactly how we found Hoban. It may have been via their etsy shop or their website. We had used other printers in the past to create everything from business cards to bookplates to rack cards, but we wanted to step it up and get some some really special cards made that would leave a lasting impression with people we met at conferences and book events.

I’ve always been a stationery geek, but I’m far from an expert. Letterpress is an old style of printing probably best known these days for the distinctive texture left behind when the photopolymer plates literally press into the surface of the paper. Since pieces are printed by hand, one at a time, on antique, rescued and refurbished equipment, orders are pricier than offset printing, which is the technique used to create almost every bit of generic printed matter in our world.

You don’t use letterpress to advertise Happy Hour specials. It’s typically reserved for small-batch stationery, wedding invites, baby announcements, and business cards like the ones we have. You can check out the process in Hoban’s nifty video.

I’m no expert on the process, by the way, just a fan. If you’re curious, it’s worth checking out Hoban’s website, which features posts on such topics as Victorian-era stationery, the qualities of letterpress paper, the difference between fonts and typefaces, and modern-day business cards. Their hilarious templates often imagine the business cards of fictional characters. They did a post recently analyzing the business cards in the movie American Psycho. If you know the film, you know what I’m talking about.

Denise liked her Hoban cards so much that she now has three different types. I just placed my second order, which I’ll show off in a few weeks when they arrive. My photos don’t really do them justice. The photography at Hoban’s website will make you salivate—if you’re a psycho about such things.

joe-card.jpeg

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New Business Cards, Part I

I accompanied Denise on a business trip recently, and was embarrassed to find that my stash of business cards was woefully out of date. I ordered two new batches as soon as I got back home. I used Moo.com, whose Printfinity option that allows you to print as many as 50 different images on the backs of your cards. Which is a great opportunity to showcase book covers!

I don't know about other authors, but when I meet strangers the conversation usually goes like this:

"So what do you do?"

"I'm a writer."

"What kinds of things do you write?"

"Well...uh, um—"

And that's where it breaks down. I typically end up verbally describingthe types of books I've done, and if they ask for a card, I end up giving them my old outdated card, and a few other old, publisher-printed cards depicting the covers of one or two of the books we discussed. (Denise sidesteps this issue by merely giving them a bookmark for The Girls of Atomic City.)

The new cards allow me to show them them the covers, describe the books if we have time, and then say, "Here—take your pick."


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