Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
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by Moira Allen
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What types of material do electronic greeting card markets look for? (E.g., do they look for longer verses, or just very short material?)
In general, electronic greeting card markets look for humorous, punch-line material.
What are some of the advantages you've found in writing for electronic greeting cards?
The biggest advantage of writing online is the turnover of ideas. Normally it takes a maximum of three working days to receive a reply from an editor as to what he thinks about your submitted material. This means that if editing is required it can be done straight away and re-submitted. Material that has been rejected is painlessly done, as your hopes don't have time to build too high.
What are some of the disadvantages of working for this market?
The disadvantages for working for this market is that you never really get to see the finished product, unless you are willing to go through the categories of cards searching for the title of the one you created. The other disadvantage for working for an online greeting card market is that unless you are attached to one that gives credit to the writer your work is nameless, so you come like a ghost writer.
How does the electronic greeting card market differ from the print market?
The online card service is built on immediate trends. If, for instance, there is a big news headline or event they can automatically cash in on its popularity, as was seen online by the various cards for the recent USA elections with Bush and Gore. Also because they can monitor which cards are sent, you can see from their daily top ten sent cards whether your card is very popular or not.
How does one break into this market?
It's actually a lot more difficult than I thought, having been at the right place, at the right time and being accepted as a writer straight away. I understand from other writers that the online greeting card market is a case of luck and chance. Most online companies tend to have a pool of in-house writers who satisfy their greeting card needs. They only seek outside help when they are in need. At the point when I joined blab.com formerly ecards.com, they were aiming to significantly increase the card count available on their site.
What pay range can you expect in this market?
Unfortunately the pay is low at $10 per card idea at blab.com, unlike the paper greeting card market which can range from $75 to as high as $200 per card idea.
How do you submit material to the market?
Before you can submit any ideas, you have to be an accepted writer by the online greeting card market. This means that you will be given access to the developers area where you have your own password and login name. Once you gain access to this area you can submit card ideas on a pre-loaded descriptive area which permits the use of four scenes to make an animated or interactive card giving graphic descriptions of your idea to the graphic artist who will make it into a fully operative animated card.
How much do you have to know about graphic design to work for this market? Do you have to be able to actually draw a design?
You do not need to know any graphic design for this. What you do need is the ability to visualize your card and be able to describe the various scenes you wish to be illustrated. For example, with a simple Mothers' Day card. For the first scene I would introduce a character of a little girl, she skips into a garden scene, holding a red heart in her hand. For the second scene the girl starts waving the heart in the air. For the final scene, we see just a head and shoulders shot with her saying, "I Love You Mom". The graphic artist will then take this and animate it according to what the description states.
What tips would you offer to writers seeking to break into this market?
While it is a difficult market to get into, perseverance and keeping an eye open for job openings is needed. Check online sites, some have 'jobs" or "employment" areas and others you may be able to locate in the 'about us' area. You can always just send a query letter asking if anything is available. Writers Write offer an online message board, specifically on the greeting card market at http://www.writerswrite.com, scroll down to specialty sections and click on greeting cards.
Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer's Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts VictorianVoices.net, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat. She can be contacted at editors "at" writing-world.com.