Guest blogger Suzan L. Wiener has had many greetings accepted by Andrews McMeel, Gallant Greetings, Peaceable Kingdom Press, Yippie Cards, etc. Many of her tips on writing, short stories, poems, and other short works have appeared in major publications. Learn how to submit your writing, free verse poems, and rhyming verses to greeting card companies.
Do you wonder how some poets and writers manage to sell their greeting card verses while others miss the mark completely or only get an acceptance on a rare occasion? This Q & A will give you the information you need to see your writing in the greeting card aisle (and help you make a little money at the same time!).
Q. Where do you find companies who will buy your greeting card verses?
A. I look in market books for writers or online at www.google.com. Then search for “paying greeting card markets.”
Q. How do I know what type of greetings to send to each company?
A. Always request the company’s guidelines. Follow them to the letter. If you don’t, your ideas may be disqualified just for that reason.
Q. If I only write rhyming verses, should I try to write unrhymed verses or one-liners?
A. Definitely. Why limit what you are writing? Who knows, you may have a flair for writing unrhymed verses. If you don’t give it a try, you will never know. You could be losing out on sales. I find it is a lot of 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. If submissions have been rejected for a year, it’s time to rethink what you are sending to the company. Something obviously isn’t meshing. Either you can sell your greeting card verses to another company, or you can rework them and try again. I always find it is best to send my ideas to another company, wait a few months, and then send other ideas to the first company. An editor might move on to another greeting card outfit, and the new editor might love your work. This has happened to me.
Q. What if I’m not an artist? Can I still get my verses published?
A. In fact, unless you are a professional artist, publishers prefer you send submissions without artwork. They have in-house artists to do the illustrations. You can, of course, suggest a visual for your text directly on the card you are sending. Editors even appreciate stick figures. If you cannot draw, just give them an idea of what you are trying to convey.
Q. What rights do greeting card companies acquire?
A. Each company is different. Some will ask for all rights, others will ask for first-time rights, etc. Some will send you a contract and others just an acceptance letter. Giving away 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 acquiring all rights is their policy, they don’t normally negotiate different terms.
Q. Do greeting card companies send you free copies of your cards?
A. Usually they do. It’s a great feeling to see the greeting that you wrote on the card itself. Some companies will even include your name on the card!
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 your ideas to what editors 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—anywhere from $50 to $300 per card. These rates can change, and it’s best to check each publisher’s writers’ guidelines.
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