Some freelance writers make decent money writing greeting cards. I doubt if anyone has gotten rich writing the words that go in greeting cards, but those cards seem to be an ever growing niche, which is good for writers.
Their pay-per-word can be more than generous, with freelancers reporting earning $25 to $150 or even more per sale.
You’re Writing for the Greeting Card Purchaser
As usual, think about who you’re writing for – and you’re not writing for the recipient of the greeting card but for the person who buys the card.That’s an important distinction.
When you write a greeting card you’re actually acting almost as a ghostwriter in a way. The purchaser has something to communicate and chooses the card for both the look and the words. You’re helping them voice what they want to say. (Yes, I know there are lots of blank cards out there – but here we’re talking about greeting cards with words.
The best way to begin to explore writing greeting cards is to go to the store, notebook in hand, and spend some serious time in front of the card displays. Note what catches your eye, read it and if you think you could do something similar, turn the card over and note the publisher. Explore like mad, taking notes all the way. You can do the same thing in specialty shops that carry cards. In large metro areas you can find cards at everything from Harley-Davison stores to stores catering to Gays and Lesbians.
For instance, I never, almost never buy the traditional type of card that has rhymed verse. I’d be foolish to attempt to write this kind of card. My style is more in the Studio card with a pithy or even slightly ironic statement or two.
I might do okay writing cards for teenagers, but not very at writing cards moms of two-year-olds would buy.
If, on the other hand, sweet, short poetry is something you love to read and write, writing traditional cards may be perfect for you.
You Don’t Need To Draw
Some writers hesitate to try their hand at greeting cards because they can’t draw. You don’t need to submit artwork with your words. Greeting card companies have staff and freelance artists who will create the image that turns your work into a whole greeting card. Of course if you are also an artist, you can include artwork and, in many cases, get paid for both.
Follow The Guidelines
Practically every greeting card company that considers freelance writers have their own specific guidelines. The guidelines include details about the kind of cards they produce and exactly how they want you to submit your ideas. Some companies want ideas submitted in batches on 3×5 cards, others want x number of ideas per page, and still others want a single idea per page.
It’s critically important that you follow the guidelines exactly – to do otherwise marks you as an amateur and practically guarantees your work will be rejected.
Most card companies that accept freelance work have websites that detail their guidelines.
Both the print and online versions of Writers Market list greeting card markets, although the list there these days is pretty small. You’ll have better luck Googling greeting card companies or even greeting card companies accepting submissions.
Have you written for the greeting card market? Tell us about it.