Do you have a way with words or design? You might be able to make money selling greeting card ideas. Breaking into the greeting card market is relatively easy compared with other writing and design genres because competition is much lower. All you need to get started is a strong idea and the know-how to submit it.
Develop a list of greeting card companies by browsing markets (Writer’s Market has one of the most extensive lists) and greeting cards in local stores. Visit a mix of book stores, supermarkets, gift shops and specialty stationery stores to find the widest variety.
Read each company’s guidelines and select the publisher most likely to be interested in your idea. Guidelines are often available through Writer’s Market or on each company’s website. They can also be obtained directly from the company by request.
Find the correct submission address. Find out whether the company prefers email or snail mail (this is usually indicated in the guidelines) and begin a submission letter accordingly.
Formally address the letter to the correct editor or department. Clearly identify your idea. If pitching artwork, include a copy of the original work or a sketch that will help editors visualize your concept. Even if you’re just pitching verse, editors often appreciate a conceptual sketch.
Include relevant experience and samples, if available. Sign off with your name and contact information.
If mailing a hard copy, include a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your submission.
Carefully proofread your pitch before sending it off. Misspellings will not only distort your idea but make you look unprofessional. Consider starting small. If you’re a beginner, your ideas are more likely to be accepted by a small- to medium-sized company than, say, Hallmark. Consider pitching non-rhyming verse. Greeting card companies receive a disproportionate amount of rhyming poetry and are often on the lookout for fresh, less clichéd ideas. However, if you feel strongly about a rhyme, check to make sure a company accepts rhymed prose before submitting. Though most greeting card companies prefer to receive ideas on standard paper, a small number request different submission methods, such as index cards. Always check a company’s writer’s guidelines to find the appropriate submission method.
Never include original artwork. Chances are you won’t get it back, even if it’s rejected. Never include attachments with submission emails unless specifically told it’s acceptable. Many editors can’t open attachments and will sometimes just delete the entire email.