Do you wonder how some authors manage to sell their greeting card verses while others miss the mark completely or only get an acceptance on a rare occasion? I have sold a number of greetings, and I'll share some of my secrets so your path to publication will be a smoother one. These questions were the ones I asked when I first started writing greeting card verses, and fortunately, found seasoned writers who would answer those questions for me.
Q. Where do you find companies to sell your greeting card verses to?
A. I look in the Writer's Market or online at www.google.com. Type in paying greeting card markets, then click their search button. You will find a slew of them. You can also type online www.thestarlitecafe.com, click to the link, then scroll down to the bottom of it and click on The Publisher's Pen. There you will find a lot of publishers of greeting card companies also.
Q. How do I know what type of greetings to send to each company?
A. Always send for the company's guidelines. Follow them to the letter. If you don't, your ideas may be disqualified just because of that reason.
Q. If I only write rhyming verses, should I try to write unrhymed verses or one-liners?
A. Definitely. Why limit yourself to what you are writing? Who knows, you may have a flair for unrhymed verse. If you don't give it a try, you will never know. You could be losing out on sales. I find it is much for fun to write different types of greetings rather than limiting myself to one form.
Q. When should I give up on a company if I keep getting rejections?
A. Only you can decide that. My feeling is, if submissions have been rejected for a year, it's time to rethink what you are sending the company .Something, obviously, isn't meshing. Either you can sell your greeting card verses to another company, or rework them and try again. I always find it is best to send my ideas to another company, wait a few months, and then you can send other ideas to the first company.
An editor can move on to another greeting card outfit, and their new editor can love your work. This has happened to me.
Q. What if I'm not an artist? Can I still get my verses published alone?
A. Yes, in fact, publishers prefer you send it without artwork, unless you are a professional artist. Then, it is alright. They have in-house artists to do the illustrations. You can, of course, suggest a visual for it directly on the card you are sending. They even appreciate stick figures. If you cannot draw, just to give them an idea of what you are trying to convey.
Q. What rights do greeting card companies ask for?
A. Each company is different. Some will ask for all rights, others will ask for first time rights, etc. Also some will send you a contract and others just an acceptance letter. All rights isn't the best way to go, but if you want to write for that particular company, you will have to relinquish them, unfortunately. That means you cannot resell your card ideas at all. When that is their policy, they don't normally negotiate different terms.
Q. Do greeting card companies send you samples of your cards?
A. Usually they do. It's a great feeling to see the greeting that you wrote on the card itself. For instance, I know first hand Kate Harper Designs sends six copies of the cards, plus a list of where you can purchase extra cards in your area. It is quite a thrill to see these cards with your verses on them. My accepted greeting card verse from Kate Harper Designseven had my name on the front of the verse.
Q. Is there any way to guarantee that a card idea you wrote will sell?
A. The answer, in a nutshell, is no. But if you keep practicing your verse writing, gear them to what they prefer, make them a me-to-you message -- which greeting card enthusiasts refer to as "sendable" -- you will have a much higher rate of sales.
Q. How much can I get paid for writing greeting cards?
A. Greeting card payments vary from company to company. For instance, Oatmeal Studios pays $75, Blue Mountain Arts pays $300 for longer paying unrhymed verses, Peaceable Kingdom Press pays $50, etc. These rates can change, and it's best to check each publisher's writers' guidelines. The ones listed are just a few that take freelancers' greeting card verses.
If you follow the above answers, you should get a better acceptance rate. I know I have.
Suzan L. Wiener has had many articles on writing, short stories, poems and other short pieces published in MetroSeven (Australia), Sacred Twilight, Mature Living, Mature Years, NEB Publishing, Saturday Evening Post, etc. She now has unrhymed and rhymed e-books and chapbooks up at http://thereadersretreat.com/Suzan_Wiener_free_poetry.html.