Did you know that over one billion birthday cards are produced in North America
annually? And that's only birthday cards! When you
consider all the other cards (Valentine's Day Cards are BIG),
there are a multitude of different ways to get involved in writing greeting cards.
In the States, there are three big
greeting card companies: Hallmark, American Greetings and Carlton Cards.
There are also hundreds more independent publishers who are also looking for fresh,
innovative thinking (if there's money in the budget), all of whom
are open to suggestions from outsiders. The result is that people from
all walks of life are writing greeting cards:doctors, lawyers, business people,
housewives, just about anybody with a word processor and an innate ability to understand
Your chances of finding employment as a greeting card writer
are good, particularly if you're a woman. Apparently, women possess
the feminine touch that is oh so necessary
for writing greeting cards. It makes sense.
90% of today's greeting cards are bought by women.
Of course, like all the writing jobs detailed in
The Canadian Copywriter, you must
"pave" the way by calling the editor in
charge or sending a query letter. In your letter, never say that you would like to
submit your "poems". Apparently, this only wrankles them and brands you as a
rank amateur. Call them
When you do submit your work, don't expect an immediate response. Give them plenty
of time to review your submissions. If they do respond,
they may ask you to sign a special disclosure form, which states that your work
is original -- and your work will only be
submitted to that particular company. At a later date, you might be included in
a "call for entries" for a special assignment -- which doesn't mean
you will get the work -- just a crack at it! If things go well, they may give you
a specific assignment. If things go
swimmingly well, you might be offered a contract. Standard procedure is that
the contract stipulates that your work is exclusive
to the greeting card company.
- What they don't look for is clichés.
That's the absolute last thing they want!
- Conventional writing works best. Avoid avant-garde prose. Remember, they're trying to appeal
to the masses, not small market segments.
- When you submit your verse, stick to one idea within the verse. Pick one core idea -- then use the words to describe it. Don't let your
thoughts wander all over the place.
- Stay away from the "Roses are red, violets are blue" type of rhymes. Unrhymed verses are best.
- Try to come up with something that's from the heart. Something that truly grips the emotions...and makes the recipients feel like the
verse was written just for them, and nobody else.
Birthdays are the biggest reason why people send cards. But birthday card buyers want
an expression that is "custom tailored" to the
recipient -- and they'll spend quite a long while searching for the "perfect" card.
Some cards can also be considered gifts as well as greeting cards. They may have
chocolates in them or some other type of present.
Sometimes, a card can express a thought that people can't put into words themselves.
Sometimes it's easier to send a card than
speak to someone directly.
As the population grows progressively older, there is
more need for "get well" and sympathy cards.
And in these hectic, trying times there are more people who need encouragement.
Here's how to come up with ideas!"
- Keep an eye on the trends. World trends, political, geo-political or sociological can have a great impact on people's mindsets.
Keep these in mind when you're writing your greeting cards.
- A major trend today is the greeting card as a gift. It's a two-in-one proposition.
- Photography is becoming more prevalent. Good photography is becoming the norm.
- Stay with meaningful prose and topical situations. They are becoming more important as America is returning to traditional family values.
- The most popular adult special occasion is "a fortieth birthday"
Valentine's Day is the second largest card-sending occasion after Christmas. Approximately
40 million cards will be exchanged this year (2016).
According to Hallmark research, 52% of Canadians give gifts at Valentine's Day,
45% opt for cards, 41% give candy, 38% have dinner at home and 27%
have dinner at a restaurant.
Funny cards are the most popular, with 43% favouring a light-hearted approach, while 29% want a loving and
romantic card, 21% like simple and cute while only 5% desire steamy and suggestive.
One fifth of Valentine's Day cards are given to a spouse, but friends, children and grandchildren
are often common recipients.
Seventy percent of all Valentine's Day celebrations involve the exchange of
at least one card.
Source -- Hallmark Canada
Check out Eva Szela's book "The Complete Guide to Greeting Card Design
Karen Ann Moore's book "You Can Write Greeting Cards"
"How to Write Greeting Cards, Bumper Stickers, T-shirts and Other Fun Stuff" by Molly
If you need a refresher course in poetry, try Jeff Mock's book "You Can Write Poetry".
"Writing and Sending Greeting Cards" Carl Goeller.
"When You Care Enough" by Joyce Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards.