UPDATED FEBRUARY 2016
When you are thinking about freelance writing markets, how many of you think about writing greeting cards to make money? Greeting card markets often get overlooked in favor of writing for the web, copywriting, submitting queries to magazines and other ways to generate income.
You may think that in the Internet age that greeting cards are on the wane, and that this market is drying up. In fact, this is a market for writers that can be quite lucrative if you have the skills to convey a message that will grab an audience with only a few words.
General Facts About Greeting Card Markets
The following facts and figures about greeting card markets are courtesy of the Greeting Card Association.
US consumers buy about 6.5 billion greeting cards annually, worth an estimated $7-8 billion in retail sales.
Also read: How to Break into the Greeting Card Market
Women make up the majority of greeting card consumers. Not only will they spend more time selecting the cards they wish to buy, but they are also more likely to purchase multiple cards at one time.
Special Occasion Cards
The most popular occasion for sending a greeting card is a Birthday. The next most popular categories of greeting cards are Sympathy, Thank you, Wedding, Thinking of You, Get Well, New Baby and Congratulations.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Holiday Season is the most popular time of year for sending out good wishes to friends and family members. A total of 1.6 billion cards are purchased each year (this total includes boxed cards). Valentine’s Day is the next most popular occasion for seasonal cards at 145 million units, followed by Mother’s Day with 133 million units, Father’s Day at 90 million units, Graduation with 67 million units, Easter at 57 million units, Halloween at 21 million units, and Thanksgiving at 15 million units. St Patrick’s Day was also popular among card-givers with seven million units sold.
Giving greeting cards as a way to convey personal thoughts and showing affection for others is still deeply ingrained in our culture. When we give gifts, we still look for a card to go with it for special occasions. Many people turn to greeting cards as a way to say the things they wish they could say, but are unable to communicate on their own to the people they care for most. If you want to be part of this market and make it work for you, doing your homework first is essential.
Greeting Cards Markets to Explore
Before submitting unsolicited ideas to the company, download and complete a disclosure agreement (available in PDF format). Mail the completed agreement and your submission to the company. Submissions are reviewed approximately once a month.
Buys contemporary poems or prose which has been written from personal experience on topics such as friendship, love, family, missing you, and similar types of “real life” subjects. The company will also consider writings about birthdays, anniversaries, and congratulations, etc. Will consider submissions from writers located internationally, as long as submissions are in English. Writers’ guidelines are posted on the website. Pays $300.00 for a poem for rights to publish on a greeting card, and $50.00 for one-time rights to publish it in a book.
The company does not accept submissions from writers by e-mail. Send a request by mail to the Editorial Department (address is listed on the website) to request specific guidelines for the card line you are interested in writing for, as guidelines will vary.
When submitting your verse or poem, it should either be on letter-size paper or index cards. Send along a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your submission returned.
This company is looking for short, clever submissions. When preparing your verse, stay on the “light and catchy” side. Submit a writing sample of between three and five greetings at a time by e-mail to the address on the website.
Send poems, verses or writing samples as typed photocopies in black on white paper by regular mail. Send with a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE) to the address listed on the website.
6. Smart Alex
Smart Alex is looking for submissions that are “funny, edgy and risqué.” If you can produce this type of work, send your submissions by e-mail or regular mail for consideration. Compensation is discussed after a submission is selected for publication.
This company buys ideas for a smart, adult audience, and pays $100.00 for each idea accepted for publication. Visit the link for a list of categories and detailed instructions for forwarding submissions to the company by e-mail or regular mail.
Shade Tree Greetings pays $50.00 if the company publishes a card using your verse. Visit the website to see terms and conditions and to find submission instructions.
Oatmeal Studios provides one of the most easy to follow writers’ guidelines available from any of the greeting card companies we’ve profiled. You won’t go wrong if you go step-by-step here.
10. Calypso Cards
Calypso Cards is seeking submissions for its Selfish Kitty line of greeting cards. It is described as being edgy, without crossing the line to being cruel or degrading. Submission instructions are available on the website, and writers are advised that it may be some time before their work is reviewed.
Dayspring Ministry produces a line of religious greeting cards, and accepts submissions from writers who have previously been published. This company is looking for a complete greeting card idea, which includes the cover caption, inside and outside message, closing tag line and Scripture (including version). Submit by regular mail for consideration.
Noble Works publishes humor greeting cards. This company’s offerings can be described as “mildly offensive.” To get a copy of the writers’ guidelines, fill out the online form on the website or request one by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom publishes several lines of greeting cards – both everyday and seasonal. Send requests for writers’ guidelines or submissions to the address listed on the website.
This is an adult greeting card company. Greeting card ideas are accepted on 3 x 5 index cards with a SASE. Pays $50.00 per idea. Writers’ guidelines are available on the website.
15. UK Greetings
UK Greetings is always interested in receiving editorial submissions that help people connect with each other. Send your submissions as a text document or in PDF format for consideration.
Greeting Cards Markets: Tips for Writers
Before you start writing your submissions and sending them off to one or more of these greeting card markets, do take the time to do some research first. You probably know from your own greeting card purchases that the image on the front of the card draws you in, but the message inside is what will ultimately influence you to make a purchase.
This type of writing is unlike others you may have worked with before, and you may want to go out into the field (one or more stores that carry greeting cards) and do your own reconnaissance work (spend time looking at samples of cards for different occasions.)
- Are they in rhyming verse or more of a free style?
- How many lines are used inside the card?
- How many words are used per line?
- Does the message use humor or is it more serious?
- If the message is lengthy, how does it keep the reader’s interest?
When researching greeting card companies, find one which produces cards that closely matches your writing style. (If you like to write short, snappy verses, finding a company that produces flowery prose for its cards would not be a good fit.)
Read the submission guidelines carefully and follow them precisely. The company will not consider your submission if you do not follow the instructions correctly.
Do put your name, address and phone number on each page you submit. It’s possible for multiple pages to become separated, and you’ll want to make sure that the company can contact you if your submission is chosen for publication. Include a SASE so that your work can be returned to you, and keep track of where and when you submitted your work, with a copy of your submission.