Freelance Writing for Greeting Cards:
Submitting Your Ideas

You have guidelines for several companies and you've written your verses. Time for the moment of truth! Submit!

Make up a system of serial numbers so you can easily keep track of all your verses. It doesn't have to be sophisticated. Here's an idea: Use initials for the name of the company followed by a number representing each submission. For example, "NSC-012" meaning the twelfth verse submitted to NonSense Cards. A serial number also allows the editor to easily reference a particular piece, such as "We are accepting NSC-012 and NSC-018."

If a company accepts email, put all submissions for that company in one email. Don't forget your name and serial number for each entry.

For the companies that want entries on index cards, type one submission per card. In the upper left corner type the occasion; in the upper right corner type the serial number and date; type the verse in the center; and your name and contact information in the lower left corner. One more thing that can't hurt and adds to the professional look: the copyright.

Here is an example of an index card submission:

Birthday                                 NSC-012 May 20, 2012

(outside) I'm not opposed to change; I just can't deal with it myself.
(inside) Happy Birthday! (deal with it)

Truman Capote
12 Balzinyur Court
Denver OH, 45018                    ©Truman Capote 2012

If the verse requires an illustration to make sense, describe the illustration where appropriate. For a professional look, use index cards without lines. Cards that are a subtle color, such as gray or a light earth-tone look nice. What about chartreuse or shocking pink? No way.

Include a SASE so it is convenient for the editor to return your submissions.

When your ideas are accepted

Most companies will want you to sign a contract for the purchase of each submission. This contract will say that you give up all copyrights and that the work becomes the property of the buying company. They are allowed to use your idea for any purpose in any way they want.

Record your sales and if you haven't received payment within four to six weeks, give the editor a follow-up call.

When your ideas are rejected

Yes, you're human and, yes, it hurts. But don't take it personally and please don't let it discourage you. If you really want this to work, it will. There are many reasons why a verse may be rejected. Keep in mind that 9 out of 10 submissions are rejected. But this is a business, so learn from the rejections and make corrections.

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