Sandra Miller-Louden's

Greeting Card Writing Dot Com

HUG A GREETING CARD WRITER DAY!

 

  

Issue #3

By Sandra Miller-Louden 

 

Dear Sandra: 

Hi Sandra,

 I recently asked a greeting card publisher about their guidelines for
submission.  The Brand Manager informed me that they had enough writers at
 the present time; however, I could feel free to send her "samples" of my
 writing and she would review them and keep them on file.


I guess I'm a little hesitant about sending "samples" of my work that I
plan to submit to other greeting card companies that do have room for more
writers.  So the question is, am I correct in being hesitant?

Please advise. 

Thanks!

La Monica R. Smith


Sandra says: 

This is an excellent question and one many new writers ask.   Even though you're hesitant about doing so, sending samples is actually a fairly commonplace procedure.  In fact, I have sold a number of verses that started out in life as samples in an editor's file.

  Clearly mark the 5-6 verses you send: "SAMPLES ONLY" and very important:  advise the editor that you will feel free to submit these verses to other companies, even while she is holding them in her files. If one of them sells in the meantime, you will immediately tell her it has sold; if she wishes to purchase one of these sample verses in the future, she must check with you first to be sure it is still available.

This is a case of having the best of both worlds.  You have ideas "out there" without actually sending them "out there" and as editorial needs arise and editors go back through their files to see what looks promising, your ideas are always there, waiting to be considered...and hopefully, sold!

Dear Sandra: 

Dear Ms. Miller-Louden:

I am in the process of becoming a greeting card writer, but am finding it quite frustrating!  I've sent approximately 15 guideline requests to companies I've found through writing websites or various publications.  Each request was sent with a business-sized SASE, yet I have only heard back from 2 companies.  Have you run into others who have had this experience?  Do you recommend I try again?  Any advice you have would be very helpful.

Jennifer Renk

Sandra Says:

Hi Jennifer!

Take comfort in the fact that you're not alone.  Some of the sites I've seen that list companies don't update these listings and I've sometimes seen companies listed that haven't been in business for a decade or more.  (Maine Line is a perfect example.)  If you sent your requests out during the Holidays that also could account for a slow response.  Generally, however, it shouldn't take over a month to receive a set of guidelines back.  The great news is some are actually now available on company websites, so writers don't have to go through the aggravation of a long wait via traditional mail.

I do recommend you try again, but I'd also surf the web first for the some of the companies you originally tried who have not yet responded to your guidelines request.  When you find them, most have a "Contact Us" icon.  Use it and ask if they take freelance work and if so, is it possible to receive their writer's guidelines via e-mail.  I think you'll be a little less frustrated because either way, you'll hear back much faster.

Dear Sandra: 

Dear Sandra,

I read an article that you had on the Internet about greeting card writing.  I would like to submit some of my work to various card companies, but wanted to ask you if I needed to copyright my freelance work before I send it in?  If so, would I just copyright a whole line of my work?

Katherine B. Stano

Sandra Says:

Copywriting each individual greeting card would be overkill and is unnecessary.  A whole line is a different matter, but as I tell my readers and students, if you are a beginner in this field, do not submit an entire line to an editor.  They are very reluctant to commit their resources to a line of cards from someone they don't know.  You can always work on a line of cards simultaneously while sending in individual, unrelated ideas.  You get to know different editors and they get to know you--your work, how reliable you are in meeting deadlines and tackling assignments, etc.  They are much more likely to consider a line of cards from someone whose work they have come to trust.

Dear Sandra: 

I've had a go at rewriting some of my own verses. The only trouble is I sometimes find it hard to choose whether the rewrite or the original is best. Do you go for "less is more" or do you just get to know with experience?            --Karen (UK) 

Sandra says:

As far as rewriting, yes, experience is a great teacher. You do develop a 6th sense-based not only on the verse itself, but also on steadily working with a particular editor and knowing the text format she'll be most likely to buy. Remember, too, to allow a visual to "do the talking." Many times an appropriate picture-either drawn or photographed-on the front of the card, with actual words only on the inside, make a fantastic mix. Finally, rewriting can-and often should-involve a change of product. The verse you've written that just isn't quite "cutting it" for a greeting card might work better in a sticky note, mug, calendar or t-shirt. In my online greeting card writing class for writerscollege.com as well as my new course in greeting card writing for bizymoms.com, I talk about rewriting in detail, as well as alternate product captioning and how it differs from-and is similar to-writing for greeting cards. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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