Writing: Greeting Cards

While texting, email and Facebook have taken over many kinds of traditional communication, there is one that holds its status: Greeting Cards.

Interestingly, according to NPR,  “Millennials are also eschewing e-cards and seeking a feeling of nostalgia in card-giving. As a result, fancy and often pricey cards from sites such as Etsy are gaining popularity, perhaps in response to digital communication exhaustion. Older generations, however, seem content to send e-cards.”

best-birthday-greeting-card-design-25-creative-greeting-cards

That greeting cards are so popular is also a boon for writers who are looking for extra freelance work, but as I’ve discovered, it’s not as easy as you might think. I started writing for a few greeting card companies before we moved to a new house, when I was frozen in writer’s block after a difficult year. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but writing these short, creative texts allowed me to write something and feel productive. I had a lot of fun writing them, but then didn’t do any more for a while while moving, etc.  I’ve recently had the urge to get back to it, so I’ve had to reacquaint myself with the basics.

As writers do, I looked at my rejected ideas and pondered the few that sold, trying to find a pattern.  It’s difficult with many, many rejected ideas and only a few sales. Sometimes in fact, I feel like this one that sold, was, in my opinion, not very original:  the art suggestion was “A picture of a cartoon opera singer on the front of the card” – with interior text that read “Go out on a high note!” “Happy Retirement!”

But hey, that got me a check, so yay! 🙂

Then, here are some of my rejected ideas:

Reject #1. Art: Old guy/woman yelling out the door at kids…  

Outside Text: “Get off my lawn!” 

 Inside text:  I love the classics (like you!). Happy Birthday!

Reject #2.

Outside: 60 is the new 50, and that’s the new 40, which is the new 25. . . . (birthday person and friends looking at the cake…)  

Inside: But we’re all 10 years old when we get a birthday cake!  Have fun! (birthday person swiping some frosting with their finger…?

The first one, I can sort of see why it tanked…but I still like the second one. Ah well. 😊

While it’s a lot of fun, it’s harder than it seems to come up with 10-20 original ideas a month to send in to various card vendors.  I have to  be in a particular mindset that similar to brainstorming — popping out lots of ideas quickly and refining them later. This is completely the opposite of longer format writing, where I have to feel it’s “right” before I move on.

As I refresh and research in preparation to submit more card ideas, I thought I’d share some tips and advice:

  1. Go to company websites for guidelines and to know if they work with freelancers. Also go to the store. See what’s on the shelves and the kinds of themes they tend to use.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with riffing off of an existing idea, but there is A LOT wrong with copying ideas or text … DON’T STEAL.
  3. You don’t have to be an artist — many times they just want you to suggest art.
  4. Try to write for the companies that make the cards you like to buy (if they use freelancers) – obviously, there’s something in the messaging that appeals to you.
  5. Write from where you are in life. Marriage? Kids? Family? Aging? Work? Pets? Do you have hobbies or areas of interest you can exploit for card messages? Find your way in through what you know.
  6. Ask the vendor, if possible, what categories need more submissions.
  7. Know your strengths: Don’t try to write long, sentimental cards if you are not the kind of person who enjoys them.
  8. Set monthly or weekly goals: 5-10 ideas a week, and submit each month (unless guidelines state differently)
  9. Be patient. It takes at least a month to hear back.

Here are some more tips from The Greeting Card Association.

What happens if you sell some ideas? Well, first, they PAY you! That’s always nice. 😊

Also, often the vendors will send you copies of your card once it’s printed – which is a pretty nice bonus. 🙂

Have you written or sold any greeting cards? Please feel free to share!

 

 

 

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