Monday, 12 March 2007

Writing Greeting Cards

From American Chronicle

How To Get Paid Writing Simple Greeting Cards

"Most of us enjoy getting greeting cards from time to time. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, the birth of a baby, and other occasions mean even more to us when we are remembered by friends, relatives and colleagues. A well written card can make a genuinely personal statement for any occasion. That's why greeting cards continue to be a sincere and effective means of communication. In fact, the demand for greeting cards is such that it is now a multi-billion dollar industry and still growing.

Writing greeting cards on a free-lance basis is a creative way for writers to make excellent part-time money. In some cases, extremely talented and prolific writers can write greeting cards full time and make a comfortable living. Of course, the amount of success a free-lance writer can expect from writing greeting cards depends on talent, initiative, knowledge of the industry, and time devoted to creating new ideas and concepts.

While the greeting card industry is not stagnant, and new ideas and trends are frequently being developed, the three basic card categories remain the same -- traditional, studio (or contemporary) and alternative. And when publishing a line of greeting cards, in any category, a company must cater to the people who are most likely to buy and send cards. In most cases, that means women between the ages of 18 and 50. So the majority of companies are looking for cards that target issues these women care about; relationships, success, religion, money, health, and so on.

Here are several of the most sought after types of card ideas:

(1) Birthdays. Since there's never a shortage of birthdays, the market for original birthday cards, both humorous and serious, remains a steady market for writers. Birthday cards can make us laugh about getting older, or they can be sensitive, serving as a reminder of the positive side of life, past and future.

(2) Friendship. Good friends are hard to find, and keep. That's why friendship cards continue to be a profitable part of the greeting card industry. Most friendship cards deal with the general value of friendship, or the significance of a specific friendship. Again, both humorous and serious card ideas are acceptable to most greeting card companies. The main thing is that the ideas must be original and genuinely and clearly express some positive aspect of friendship.

(3) Get Well. Like birthday cards, the need for get well cards remains constant. Most people with not-so-serious illnesses appreciate humorous get well cards. But, prospective writers should be cautioned to stay away from over-used and worn out hospital humor concerning hospital gowns, hospital food and so on. Greeting card companies are looking for fresh ideas, not a re-working of old ones. There is also a need for non-humorous get well cards that express appropriate, and sensitive sentiments toward someone experiencing a serious illness. What greeting card companies are looking for here is a sensitive approach to a serious, and even grave situation. Sometimes the sentiment "get well soon" is not appropriate, even for get well cards.

(4) Sympathy. Unfortunately, sympathy cards are always needed. To fill that need, a writer must be able to address the loss of a loved one with good taste and sensitivity.

(5) Love And Romance. Writers of love and romance card ideas will do well to address all kinds of love and different aspects of romance; first love, long-term romantic relationships, marriage, sharing, trust, commitment, renewing an old romance, and so on. The market is good for both humorous and serious cards addressing the themes of love and romance.

(6) Support And Encouragement. This type of card has increased in popularity over the past decade and offers creative writers a good deal of opportunity. These cards can be given to friends, relatives, colleagues, lovers -- anyone who might need to know that they are not alone. The most common message with this type of card is "I'm here for you." These cards offer both encouragement and support, and can be treated in either a serious or humorous manner.

(7) Inspirational Cards. Most companies looking for inspirational cards request messages that address spiritual or human potential. These cards normally deal with some aspect of personal growth, are non-humorous, utilize sensitive language, and require an understanding of the spiritual and human condition.

(8) Alternative Cards. These cards are designed for non-traditional sending occasions. The most common card ideas in this line are those offering congratulations for a new job, job promotion, or raise in salary. More serious issues, such as divorce, terminal illness, and substance abuse, are also top-selling themes in the alternative card line.

The main thing a writer should remember is that greeting card companies are all looking for fresh ideas and messages, not time-worn cliché’s and sappy sentiment. Greeting card messages should be immediate and clear. Writers should avoid wordy or complex messages, and be direct and original. In short, most greeting card companies are looking for ideas they haven't seen or heard before."

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