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Greeting Cards and Cash

Greeting Cards and Cash
By Trevor Blake

Yes, greetings can earn you cash!

Did you know that 50% of all first class US Mail consists of greeting cards?

Did you know that 7 and a half billion greeting cards were bought last year?

And, although there are three biggies (American Greetings, Hallmark and Gibson Greetings), did you know that there are 1,500 greeting card companies?

With these facts, it is obvious why the greeting card industry is a multi-billion dollar one. And this article will show you how you can get a share!!

A quick look in the Writer's Market will tell you that most greeting card companies are accepting of freelance submissions. First, you will want to study those lines and find out which most fit your style. Some greeting card companies focus on traditional sentiments or even religious cards, while others are more non-traditional and like off the wall humor, and sometimes even the obscure. To do this, browse the card aisles of discount stores, drug stores, gift shops and even novelty places such as Spencer's Gifts. If a card seems to fit your style, flip it over and see who makes it.

Next, you may want to send a letter with a SASE to obtain a copy of the writing guidelines as well as the current "want list" of a few companies. (Another quicker option would be, of course, to check their website or look them up in Writer's Market.) Sometimes a company may have a few particular needs during a certain time period. This way, with their wish list, you can narrow down what you send to them. (If they are looking for Get Well cards, you can save your birthday selections for the next company.) Also, some card companies prefer submissions typed individually on a 3x5 index card, while others would like them all on a regular sheet of paper. Submitting in their requested format is always a plus.

Once you know how the company wants your submissions sent, and what type to send, you are ready to go! After sending them, give yourself a month to 6 weeks to hear back. Most companies will pay a flat fee upon acceptance, where you will sell all rights. Very few actually pay royalties.

Here is a story of one successful card sale. A good friend of mine, Donna, recently told me of her first success story. She was so excited when she received that thick envelope from Oatmeal Studios.

Donna had been thinking of greeting cards for sometime, but never submitted any. That was until one day she stumbled over an ad from Oatmeal Studios that asked, "Are you funny?" Assuming she was, she prepared a stack of six index cards, each with a concept she had come up with. She sent them, along with a cover letter and a SASE. About a month later, she received a response from the creative director. In the packet was a congratulations letter saying they had purchased one of her ideas, a check for $75, a writer's agreement form and a list of their current needs so she could submit more work!

The winning card idea was a suggestive love card.

O: (picture of a road with a U-turn sign)

I: Me On.

So, the card reads, "You turn me on."

Clever! And it got Donna her first sell on a greeting card.

You may not sell your first idea to the first company. In fact, one company may reject the very idea that the next found to be a best seller. Companies vary, so do not be afraid to recycle your ideas.

Remember to be creative and think out of the box. You really want to wow the creative directors with your idea. Follow the steps in this article and a few months from now, your card just may spark the interest of someone browsing the aisles and very special birthday boy may be receiving a card that you wrote!

Trevor Blake

About the Author

Trevor Blake is the editor of PIP Tips - Ezine For Serious Writers And Poets http://www.piptips.com and the founder of the PIP Tips Writers' Club. Subscribe by sending a blank email to mailto:thepip@getresponse.com

Tags: Start and Run a Business



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