- Jun 14, 2018
The other day, I was watching the Netflix movie “Girlfriend’s Day” with my wife (we’re big fans of Bob Odenkirk). It’s a dark comedy about the lengths some people will go through to have the perfect greeting card, and one card writer’s misadventures about trying to write it. When it was done and the credits were rolling, I made a decision - I want to try my luck at being a greeting card writer (minus the murder and drama of that movie).
Sure, it’s an odd job, but it’s something that brings joy or comfort to people, therefore I think it’s a noble pursuit.
But here’s the thing - I confess to knowing next to nothing about the greeting card industry. What I do know is that those with Hallmark jobs (or similar) have dozens of special occasions and holidays to wax poetic about every year - plus all those days that people need a friendly congratulations or sympathetic greetings, such as with a promotion, or the loss of a loved one.
Surely it’s an industry that rakes in a lot of money, given all those occasions and holidays? But would I really get paid as a freelancer to write greeting cards, and from home, to boot? Let’s investigate.
Yes, you can write at home!
Of course, popular greeting card companies like American Greetings prefer an in-house staff for better coordination, from conceptualization to printing through packaging. But the good news is, there are now greeting card companies that accept submissions! So for home-based freelancers like yours truly, this is really something that will both get my creative juices flowing while allowing me to earn some serious cash on the side (more on this in a bit).
With a bit of research, I came up with a list of these awesome companies I can submit my original writing to, along with a brief summary of what they’re looking for:
- Blue Mountain Arts - the company is interested in reviewing original writing for their greeting cards publication. They prefer creative submissions on family, friendship, love, philosophy, and other highly shareable sentiments - but no rhyming poetry, please!
- Noble Works Cards - seriously, with a tagline that goes “Make America Greet Again!”, how can I resist submitting an original and risqué piece of writing? The company prides itself in being one of the country’s leading humor card publishers even before e-cards were born, and are casting a wider net for original submissions from witty contributors.
- Card Gnome - this company is more about paying you a royalty for each card you sell through them. You basically set up your own shop, don’t pay any other fees, and get a payout once you accumulate $10 in royalties (which is not bad at all).
- RSVP - a greeting card company that prefers contemporary language and style, along with a personal and connective touch, plus authenticity and cleverness without relying on clichés, RSVP has been making people smile since 1992.
- Oatmeal Studios - my personal favorite. The writing is sharp, witty, and has enough sassiness to put RuPaul to shame (okay, maybe not). And I love their writers' guidelines! They come with comic illustrations and short instructions and tips, from making it funny to the best occasions to write about, through to what to avoid (AKA “narrowly focused ideas” and general gross stuff that shouldn’t be in a greeting card).
Companies like Blue Mountain Arts are willing to pay around $300 for accepted original writing for greeting cards! Phew, that’s really something. Others claim to pay according to industry standard (around $50-$75 according to sources) or royalties for every sale, but I suggest to go ahead and ask before submission so there won’t be any miscommunication.
My bottom line though is - you get paid! For being funny, or sweet, or sarcastic, or comforting, or...
You get to share your creativity (or weird sense of humor, in my case) while speaking for others!
Funny greeting cards have always been my childhood favorites (I miss the giant Ziggy and Garfield ones - where did those go?), but honestly, when it comes to blank cards, I had no idea what to write. Even those thank you notes my parents required me to write for all the people who gave me birthday or Christmas presents proved to be a challenge.
So if you’ve ever wondered what to write on a birthday card as a kid, here’s your chance to remedy that. Pay it forward by writing for greeting cards - the kind you would want to send to yourself! If you have original ideas, wit, a sense of humor, and instinctively know what can make people feel better, then you have what it takes. And now that we’ve proven that it does pay, being a greeting card writer sure sounds like a nice and creative work-from-home gig to consider.
Also, if you have some artistic skills you want to put to good use, a lot of the companies listed above (and more) are also willing to pay for original art for their greeting cards.
I love that working from home opens up new and exciting avenues to be creative while making money. Being a greeting card writer may sound like an odd job to most, but based on the research I’ve done on the industry, plus talking to some friends who are in it, it’s definitely worth looking into as a source of income.
Ever wished you could write for a greeting card company? Do you think it’s worth a shot, or it’s too whimsical and frivolous to be considered a real job? Tell us your thoughts below.