How to Organize Greeting Card Submissions

Copyright © 2009 Greeting Card Designer
Why should artists keep their card submissions organized when they send them off to companies?

-To avoid resubmitting the same card twice.

-To keep track of which card was submitted to what company.

-To show the status of any given card at any point in time.

-To keep a record of rejected cards, so you can redesign or adjust them.

-Once you have 50-100 cards, you need some sort of system for organization.

Here's a simple, functional filing system.

Step 1.
Get a heavy shoe box or re-purpose an index card filing box.

(filing system)

Step 2. Cut Extra heavy duty 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 cardboard or mat board.
These will be used for dividers to separate major categories such as Birthday, Valentine's Day, a specific company, etc.

(mat board or heavy cardboard)

Step 3. Cut several 5x7 pieces of cardstock for each card sample.

(cardstock or heavy paper)

Step 4. Gather a copy of every card you have ever submitted.

(card assortment)

Step 5. Photocopy or Print out the front image and the inside text of each card.
Make light copies. (can be adjusted with photoshop opacity) This will allow you to write notes on top of the image, and it will also save ink.

You can put both parts of the card together on one page and print them on a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. print as a 5x7 folded card.

(sample front and inside of card)

Step 6. Glue the image of the card onto a piece of the 5x7 cardstock.(glue inside text copy on backside of cardstock).

(inside text of card glued on cardstock, printed very light)

Step 7. Write any reference numbers or holiday code on the card.
It helps you know where it belongs in the file.

(card data)

Step 8. After submitting the card to a company, keep a running record of information. On this card sample (below) I have the following handwritten notes of things that happened time.
-The occasion category (Birthday-Juvenile)
-The 8 digit ID number the card company gave me.
-The date I sent the art.
-The date of the result. In this case, the company wants to hold the card because they might have a place for it later on. After 6 months, I will call the company, and write an additional note on the card about the phone call.

(card sample with handwritten information)

Step 9. Once the card has been accepted by the company, and they send back a sample, replace the cardstock copy with the "real" card.
Write all reference information on the front, such as what day it will be released on store shelves, along with the past history (when it was accepted, when you submitted art, etc)

All cards, no matter if they were rejected, accepted, or are in any stage of the process, should end up in the file, because you need to know the history of what happened with each design. Then, when Mother's Day submission time comes around, you can easily pull out all the mother's day cards and analyze what happened last year. What cards did you already submit? What succeeded? What failed? What was printed? What was held? This helps you decide what to submit this time around.

(finished card arrives from the company)

Step 10. Where do you submit?
Check out this list of company guidelines.

Want to see more articles like this? Then be brave! Share your organizing tip and leave a comment below. Your ideas help other artists. We all don't need to reinvent the wheel. -Kate

Ebooks by Kate Harper

You can support this blog by ordering Kate's e-Booklets 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 explains how to sell cards nationwide. Included are detailed guidelines on: How to price cards for a profit, get professional feedback, find sales representatives and follow industry standards. Information is also applicable to gift items, magnets, journals, calendars, collectibles, etc.

20 Steps to Art Licensing is a book about how to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, or manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. Learn how to prepare your art, what companies to contact, how to find agents, and what trade shows to attend. Includes extensive resources on social media, copyrights, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers.

7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers is a booklet that explains what to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers. Learn how to create a trendy card that reflects the contemporary world we live in, and how to use your own personal experience to create card verse. Topics include: how to avoid limiting your market, when to use adjectives, not creating card for enemies, write like people talk and a list of why card sentiment submissions are often rejected. You can increase your odds of success by 60% just by doing a few simple things. Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, and writing exercises for how to create good verse.

Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured is a 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 a special feature in national publication. 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: 22 Gift Industry Trade Publications who seek out new greeting card designs and feature artists for free.

How to Make an EBook Cover for Non-Designers is an illustrated book will show you how to make your own e-book cover, even if you are not a designer. It is intended to help the indie writer who is on a budget and wants to publish and sell their own book in online stores such Amazon.com and the Apple ibookstore. Selling your book in these stores will allow readers to purchase your book and read it on multiple devices such as the Kindle, iPad, iPhone and many other electronic devices.