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Freelance Writing for Greeting Cards:
Setting Up Office

If you're like most of us, you don't have bunches of extra time. Being organized and using your time efficiently will make achieving your goals much easier.

Having a place in your home set aside exclusively for your greeting card writing business is important. I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated office in our small home, but if you can't have that, at least make a place where you can sit comfortably and have all your supplies at hand. Spending half of your allotted work time gathering materials and then cleaning up is not an efficient way to work.

Even more important than a dedicated work space is a dedicated amount of work time. Maybe you only have one hour three times a week. That's fine as long as you stick to it. It's easy to fall into the trap of wasting time on the phone, playing with the kitties, or getting involved with (horrors) TV. I'm guilty of making too many trips to the kitchen (kitchen = food). You won't get far without some discipline.

Tzilla the office kitty
Tzilla the office kitty wathcing herself come out of the printer

Supplies:

  • 3x5 and/or 4x6 index cards
  • business-sized (size 10) envelopes
  • large (9x12) envelopes
  • postage scale
  • address book or Rolodex
  • self-stick notes
  • day planner
  • Greeting Card Industry Directory

The dictionary is one of my favorite books. More than just for looking up definitions or spellings, it is a great idea generator. A rhyming dictionary is also very useful for writing for greeting cards. A thesaurus is a must and if you can afford a copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, it is well worth it.

I believe technology can help us, so if you want to use a computer for record keeping, by all means do so. But computers do crash and a back up system is wise. A small filing cabinet is very helpful but if you don't have the money or room for one, you will need at least a filing box or one of those accordion filing pouches. A hint for filing cabinets: the hanging-type files are much nicer to work with than the standard file folders. Here are my suggestions for which files to set up:

Submissions - You need to keep track of what you've sent whom. Sending an editor the same ideas already submitted is not professional and sending the same idea to more than one company is a no-no.

Rejections - You will sometimes get a reason for rejections, but often not. The ones with reasons are helpful in knowing why they didn't sell and allow you to make adjustments in the future. Even the rejections without reasons are helpful because if you study them patterns may show up (especially when compared to the successful ones).

Accepted submissions - For each accepted submission record to which company it was sold, the date, and the amount you were paid. This is also a good place for filing check stubs - you can attach them to each respective submission. Pay attention to what was accepted and turn out more work like that.

Ideas - This one may end up a sloppy, overstuffed file and that's okay. Save anything that could help you generate an idea. See the page on getting ideas.

Guidelines - You'll want to have this as a reference to each publisher's particular guidelines.

Needs - Once you're established, publishers will send you lists of what they currently need.

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