The Greeting Card Business: 101

Where are you at in the greeting card business? Do you want to manufacture cards or sell your designs to companies? Do you just want to know what a good card design is all about?

Here are a list of articles on all these topics. Pick the one that best represents where you are right now.



Card Design Tips
Learn about the fundamentals of card design.

Greeting Card Sales Stats

Greeting Card Design Tips

Things to avoid in Card Design

Greeting Card Association Artist Guidelines

Other Great Card & Illustration Tips

You know you are a greeting card designer when…


Starting a Card Business
Learn how to manufacture and sell your cards to retail stores.

Good News for Indie Card Artists: New Sales Trends

Online Class: Design and Sell Your Own Cards

Starting a Card Line on Your Own

Backcopy:What to print on the back of your cards

List of Books on the Greeting Card Business

Book Review: How to Run a Greeting Card Business

Book Review: Pushing the Envelope

Setting up Card Ordering Codes

All About Envelopes

Greeting Card Quiz: How much do you know about the industry?

Greeting Card Rep Talks about Trends

Greeting Card Buying Statistics



Marketing Cards
Learn how to market cards.

12 Unusual Ways To Market Your Greeting Cards

List of Trade Shows for Greeting Card & Gift Designers

How to Sell Art Through Social Media

List of Trade Magazines for Card and Gift Industry

How to Use Email to Sell Art & Get Leads

How to Sell Designs Online: Jude Maceren

Venues for Selling Greeting Cards Online

How to Find Greeting Card Sales Reps


The Handmade Card Business
Learn how to run a thriving handmade card business.

How to make a living in the Handmade Card Business

How to Set Up a Handmade Card Factory

Making Cards: Questions to Ask

Simplify Card Making for a Profit

Paying People to Make Your Cards

3 Parts of a Greeting Card

8 Advantages of the Handmade Card Business

Interview with Former Greetings etc. Editor, Kathy Krassner

Handmade Greeting Card Business Directory



Card Writing
Learn How to Write Greeting Card Sentiments.

Meet the Master of Greeting Card Writing

Audio Interview: Getting into the Greeting Card Writing Market

How Poets Can Write Greeting Card Verse

Interview with Hallmark Card Writer

Artist & Writer Submission Guidelines for Card Companies

Breaking into the Greeting Card Writing Market

How to Write Greeting Card Verse (VIDEO)

7 Mistakes Card Writers Make



Licensing Your Designs to Companies
Learn how to license your designs to publishers.

Submission Guidelines for Card Companies

How to Mail Promos of Your Designs to Card Companies

How to Organize Greeting Card Submissions

How to get Started in Art Licensing

How to Make a Good "Art Licensing Website."

How to Deal With Rejection: Tips for Card Designers

Resources on Greeting Cards and Licensing

Greeting Card Licensing Information from the UK

List of Licensing Agents in the US

 

Support
Learn how artists manage their time and set goals.

How to Make Time for Art

How to Start a Buddy Meeting System

How to Start an Art Licensing Support Group


 More Resources




Take a Greeting Card Class
I have collaborated with skillshare.com to create an online course on Getting into the Greeting Card Business.  The content is based on my experience of working in the industry for over 20 years, and from publishing over 1,000 cards. Class is self-paced with student/teacher feedback on your final project in the gallery.
 
Register here. 


Topics Covered:
  • The fundamentals of professional card design.
  • Transforming art into a greeting card.
  • Writing sentiments.
  • Making designs "market-ready" according to industry standards.
  • Top selling occasions.
  • How to turn one card into a larger "collection".
  • How to make a card out of any image.
  • Handmade cards.
  • Where and how to sell cards (including online).
  • Licensing art on cards.
  • Manufacturing and distributing nationally.



Greeting Card Books
You can support this blog by ordering Kate's e-Booklets that are a compilation of different articles on this blog starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available. You can also view the list of all recommended greeting card books by a variety of authors.



Get Your Greeting Cards into Stores: Find and Work with Sales Reps
If you already make your own greeting cards, Get Your Greeting Cards Into Stores is a book that explains how to get them into stores and sell them sell nationwide. Included are guidelines on: how to price your cards for a profit, how to get professional feedback, where to find a sales representative and and what industry standards you should follow. All the information is also applicable to gift items, such as magnets, journals, calendars, collectibles, etc.





Unusual Ways to Market Your Cards and 22 places to get featured.
Booklet on Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured. A 20 page booklet on how to get your cards noticed in non-traditional ways. Everything from why you should send cards to your dentist, to how to get special features in national publications. Great tips for designers who are starting out and want to get their cards into the hands of people beyond friends and family. Special Section: Submissions guidelines and contacts for 22 Gift Industry publications and professional gift industry blogs that seek out new greeting card designs to feature for free. (5,000 Words and 17 greeting card images included)



7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make
Booklet on 7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make A list of 7 things to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers. Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, articles, card samples and other current resources. 20-page booklet and 2,300 words and 8 Pages of Card Samples.





20 Steps to Art Licensing
Booklet on 20 Steps to Art Licensing that is a list of suggested steps to to take for getting into art licensing. How to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, and manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. This booklet covers 20 basic steps from how to prepare your art, to what companies to contact. It includes topics on: How to find agents, classes and what trade shows to attend. There are extensive resources on social media, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers (5,200 words).


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10 Mistakes Card Designers Make When Submitting Press Releases

Note from blog editor, Kate Harper: I asked Kathy Krassner, (former editor of the trade magazine, Greetings etc.), what is was like to be at the editor's desk, receiving press releases from artists. I asked her if she could write about mistakes artists make, when submitting press releases to trade magazines. These tips are not just useful for artists, but for anyone with a product looking to be featured in a publication.

By Kathy Krassner, Owner, Krassner Communications


As a longtime editor of trade magazines in the gift and stationery business, I've received my share of good and bad press releases from greeting card designers and publishers. As an industry consultant, I've also had the opportunity to write press releases for various card and gift companies. Since I've sat on both sides of the publicity fence, I'd like to share the following 10 mistakes that are often made when writing and submitting press releases to editors -- and tips on how to do it correctly!

1. Sending releases to the wrong editor. Make sure you have the correct name and e-mail address of the correct editor to whom to send your press release. Check the publication's website, or call its main number to confirm you have the right information. It's usually best to send your release to the editor-in-chief, and it's definitely not necessary to send the same release to more than one editor at a publication.

2. Sending releases to the wrong industry. If you have a press release about your new greeting card line, be sure the publication to which you're sending the release actually covers greeting cards. Editors at tabletop or home-furnishings magazines who don't ever cover greeting cards shouldn't be on your press list.

3. Sending releases at the wrong time. Check the publication's editorial calendar -- which should be on its website -- for which issues it's covering specific occasions and holidays. Then, be sure to send your press release by the editorial deadline date, which is usually well in advance of the issue's publication date as well as earlier than its advertising deadlines. If you miss a magazine's deadline for its print publication, you might check with the editor to see if it's not too late to submit something to run on its website.

4. Too little product information. Editors prefer to run press releases that contain all of the information they need, since most don't have the time to track down any missing information. Therefore, do provide as many relevant details about your greeting card line as possible, including dimensions, special embellishments or techniques used, inner versing and, very important, retail pricing.

5. Too much company information. It's good to include a short paragraph about what your company does and how long you've been in business; it's not good to provide a multi-page history. Press releases should generally be kept to one page, if possible. It's much better to include a link to your company's website where editors can read your whole story if they'd like.

6. Not enough contact information. In addition to supplying your company's website address, be sure to include your full name, company name, e-mail address, company address and company phone number (toll-free if you have one). If you are submitting a press release on behalf of a card company to whom you've licensed your designs (please double-check with your licensee before you do this!), you should also include that company's name, address, website address, toll-free phone number, and the name and e-mail of the correct p.r. contact there.

7. Not proofing press releases. Editors hate typos! If your release includes the wrong website address or retail price, those errors will end up running in publications nationwide and could cost you business. And, whatever you do, be sure to spell the word "stationery" correctly!

8. No images or low-res images. One way to help guarantee that your press release will run is to include several high-res images of the cards mentioned in the release. Just as they don't like to track down missing information, editors don't want to have to call or e-mail for images. While low-res jpgs are fine for online coverage, most print magazines require hi-res jpgs (usually at least 3 inches big at 300 dpi). Only send a few images that best exemplify the line, and make sure they're not so large that they bounce back.

9. No actual product samples. If an editor isn't familiar with your card line, it's a smart idea to send actual printed samples so that she or he can see and feel the quality of your product for themselves. Be sure to include the envelopes that the cards come with; editors that use your line will definitely remember it.

10. Too much follow-up. In this age of spam filters, it's perfectly fine to follow up with just one phone call to make sure your press release and images made it to the editor's desktop. Making numerous calls, however, is basically the equivalent of editor stalking, and many editors find repetitive calls and e-mails annoying. It's better to follow up by mailing a hard copy of your press release and a few actual samples of your line, as previously mentioned.

Actually, the biggest mistake you can make is to not send any press releases at all! It's surprising how many companies don't take the time to respond to editorial requests or to send in press releases when they have new releases. Take advantage of every opportunity to get free publicity -- and remember to follow the guidelines above.



Here's an example of a press release written by Kathy Krassner:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS CONTACT: RON KANFI
800-346-6253; rkanfi@nobleworksinc.com


NobleWorks Has New Lines!
(And we don't mean on our face.)

(June 15, 2010) NobleWorks has just launched more than 20 hilarious new greeting cards, including two brand-spankin'-new lines: "RUBES" and "I'm Just Saying." The introduction also includes additions -- some nice, some naughty! -- to several of the company's other popular humor lines.

RUBES
The new "RUBES" line features greeting cards by NobleWorks' newest licensed cartoonist, Leigh Rubin. The initial launch includes six eco-themed illustrations that make "green" funny! These birthday cards (and one get-well card) poke fun at everything from recycling to saving the whales.

I'm Just Saying
"I'm Just Saying" is an original new line featuring a seemingly cute, androgynous little character who pops up on the cover of these cards. Behind this character's innocent exterior, however, hides a sharp sense of humor. The line includes several birthday designs plus a new list-type card.

Among other introductions are new "Talk Bubbles" cards featuring naughty, typewritten messages on brightly colored covers; as well as new cartoons from Daniel Collins, including "The Seven Dwarves of Shoes" ... which everyone is sure to get a kick out of! All of these new NobleWorks cards retail at $2.95 and are available immediately.

About NobleWorks Inc.
NobleWorks Inc. is celebrating its 30th anniversary in business this year! Known as "The Humor Company," NobleWorks' line includes more than 1,500 everyday and seasonal designs, ranging from slightly silly to somewhat risqué. NobleWorks' complete product line can be viewed at its website -- www.nobleworkscards.com -- where visitors to the site can also access the company's blog as well as send free e-cards. A fully functional wholesale version of the site is soon to be launched. NobleWorks is located at 500 Paterson Plank Rd., Union City, NJ 07087. For additional information, please contact NobleWorks at 800-346-6253 or visit www.nobleworkscards.com.

Kathy Krassner is owner of Krassner Communications, a writing-services firm based in Ringoes, NJ. She was previously editor-in-chief of Greetings etc. magazine and has been an editor at Gifts & Decorative Accessories and Giftware News magazines. She can be reached at krascom@yahoo.com or via LinkedIn.

Tips from a First Time Surtex Exhibitor

Artist Khristian Howell exhibited for the first time at Surtex this year. I asked her to tell me what it was like, along with tips she might have for newcomers thinking of exhibiting. Here is what she had to say:

2010 had been long marked as my year to make my big debut in the surface design world. I wanted to have a successful show at SURTEX.

This experience was like nothing I have ever had before. All the fear and anxiety that went into preparing for the show was instantly transformed into excitement and anticipation of what was to come.

What were some of your favorite things about exhibiting?
Experiencing the great sense of community. All the exhibitors surrounding me were vets. The were all so very kind, eager to share information, and excited about the future!

Also, all artists struggle with confidence at some point. It was so nice to hear wonderful comments like 'oh everything is so fresh'. One group sat to review my work and said this is all too modern for my customer, but wow such an inspiration. That was such a great complement to me. It really has given me another boost to just continue creating from my heart.

It's so funny putting your work in front of others for their comment and interpretation. One thing I got tons was 'how many artists do you have?' This always made me giggle, and my response was it's just little ole me. I knew my hand and ideas were diverse, but it all just feels like different elements of me.

Was it worth it?
Absolutely. I can't wait to do it again next year. I know there are many different opinions out there about the dwindling value of trade shows, the rising costs of doing them, and the stiff competition out there. I am offering my opinion from the perspective of a first time exhibitor. These are only my opinions, however, I hope they will provide a bit of insight for those considering doing a show for the first time or giving it a go again.


TIPS FROM KHRISTIAN:

Enthusiasm goes a long long way.
I am not here to be the positive mental attitude police. Ok. Maybe just a little. Nobody wants to hang out with a grumpy artist! It is so important to really project the kind of response you want to receive.

If you are attending a show you are likely self-employed at this point. However it is important to not forget some key job skills. If you were interviewing for a full-time position, I highly doubt that you would complain about the state of the economy. You would also be unlikely to complain about the state of the industry. In fact, you would probably not even think about complaining at all - about anything!

Represent Yourself as a good "Partner."
You have to remember you are not only their representing your art, but you are also representing yourself. Buyers want to know that you are going to be someone they can work with. Remember you are there to build relationships, not just to SELL. Licensing is essentially a partnership. Ask yourself who would I choose for a business partner? Someone positive, energetic and forward thinking or the alternative?

Make the investment in you.
Everyone talks about the costs. The costs of doing the show, the cost of walking the show, blah, blah, blah. Is it a secret that you must invest in your business? I don't think it is a new concept that you have to spend a little to make much more. Spending can come in the form of money, sweat equity or time. Whatever it is, it is all an investment. If you are not willing to invest in you, why would anyone else?

Surtex is one best places to learn about licensing.
Let's put it in perspective. for a $150, and artist can walk the show. Is it really that much money in the grand scheme of things? The return of the $150 to walk the show, or a few thousand to do the show will far out weigh the cost.


Face to face interaction is important.
We can send jpgs all day long, but in the end it is actual people who will be making the decisions on whether or not to proceed with your artwork. Forming a positive relationship at a trade show just could make all the difference.

I can only speak for myself, but I am thrilled with the results of going to SURTEX. I worked with some wonderful well known clients, and established a few licensing deals prior to exhibiting, but nothing compares to the exposure of the show.






CONTACT INFO & WEBSITE
Khristian A. Howell
Surface Design and Photography



6 Tips in Writing Query Letters to Manufacturers

Here's a useful article by Joan Beiriger's blog about presenting your art to manufacturer's and card publishers. Here's an excerpt:

The purpose in writing query (also called Cover) letters is to market your art and also to build relationships with manufacturers. Including the right information in query letters starts those relationships and makes sure that the letter is read. Note: The following discussion also applies to writing query letters to art licensing agencies.

The six tips in writing a good query letter are:
1. Research each manufacturer
2. Personalize the letter
3. Describe your past licensing success (if any)
4. Tell the manufacturer the next step
5. Attach/include art example(s)
6. Have an attention getting subject line (if e-mail)

Research
To write a winning query letter you should first do your homework. Become familiar with the manufacturer and the products they produces (or the type of art the agency represents) by looking at their website. This will help you determine if the manufacturer is the right fit for your art. It will also let them know that you are targeting their company and aren't just sending out e-mail/"snail mail" blasts to hundreds of companies when you mention specific information pertaining to them. Studies show that you get better results by writing individualized query letters than generic letters. Article continued...



Other Articles by Joan about connecting with companies:

-Art Licensing: Achieving Brand Recognition

-List of Over 50 U.S. Art Licensing Agencies

-Finding Manufacturers that License Art

-Art Collection & Mockup Examples

 

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