Writing For Greeting Cards
We have all looked at cards and thought 'I could do that!'
However, it is hard to get a piece of writing published. It is only when you decide to have a go yourself that you come to appreciate that, somewhere along the line, talent and skill actually come into it.
So what is the best way to go about it? Where do you start?
There are generally three styles of writing in greeting cards:
- Prose and
What is your forte?
What are you best at? Usually the best way to start is by acknowledging your strengths. Even if you can turn your hand to any style there will usually be one at which you excel.
Research the market
The best place is your local high street card shop. Go in take a look, see who the publishers are in the market you are aiming for and take a note of the publisher. This is important, you can imagine how unprofessional is would look to send a punchline to someone whose cards are blank! Most publishers do print their names and addresses on the reverse of the card. It is worth jotting down as much as you can.
It is a good idea to visit one of the greeting card trade fairs, where you will find a great variety of publishers under one roof. This will help you to target the best publishers for your style of writing. Some publishers will be happy to discuss your ideas on their stands, others are not. Please be aware exhbiting is an expensive business and that publishers are there to sell their cards - never interrupt a sale! Just make a note of the publishers you are interested in approaching so that you can contact them later.
The Trade Fair Calendar
Progressive Greetings Worldwide
This is the leading magazine for the greeting card industry and the official journal to the Greeting Card Association. The editorial and advertisements will provide you with an immediate insight into publishers, new products, industry issues and news of the day. It often carries advertisements of publishers looking for freelance designs and verses. Published 12 times a year and available through annual subscription (£40 per year) it also includes special supplements such as an annual 'Words and Sentiment' supplement and a 'Focus on Humorous cards'.
Art Source, an editorial feature which has devoted at least two pages in every issue of the magazine to promoting the talents of artists, is now being extended to covering verse writers. This publicity is a free service to writers - so if you wish to be featured, send information covering your style, subject matter, and inspiration together with examples of your verses and your contact details to Emma Cain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You now have a starting point...
So now you know whom you want to approach, how do you go about it?
All card ranges are created many months before they appear in the shops. Publisher's requirements also change all the time. Cards are highly seasonal and the copy isn't written during the traditional seasons we enjoy eg. Publishers may need Christmas verses in July!
The best idea is to phone or write a brief letter to the publisher simply asking for their current editorial guidelines. Enclose a large SAE, the easier you make the editor's day the better. When sending in your work, always enclose an SAE if you want it returned. Ensure the envelope is large enough for your work to fit back into and has enough stamps on it to cover the postage.