Becoming a Greeting Card Writer
Greeting card writers use a personal voice to create cards that convey sympathy, celebration or appreciation. They put into words what others may not be able to express to friends, family and acquaintances. Writing for greeting card companies demands creativity and talent, and writers need to be able to adapt their style to the assignment. Staff writers work in an office setting, while freelancers write anywhere and contract with a variety of card companies. Freelance assignments may be quite competitive, and writers' incomes fluctuate. In addition, some jobs have tight deadlines, which can be stressful. Although not always required, certain positions or assignments may require a bachelor's degree in a field such as journalism or English. A portfolio of personal work may give greeting card writers an edge.
As stated, a bachelor's degree may be required for a full-time staff position as a greeting card writer. This could be a degree in the field of English, creative writing or journalism. In addition, potential employers may be looking for someone with writing experience and a professional portfolio or an individual that has completed an internship. Some key skills that may help those working in this field are strong writing skills, creativity, critical thinking, an understanding of English grammar and composition, persistence, initiative, innovation and attention to detail. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all authors and writers was $60,250 in May 2015.
Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree
Some greeting card companies prefer to hire writers who have a bachelor's degree. An undergraduate degree program in English or creative writing helps students hone their writing skills and teaches them how to accept critiques about their work. Some programs allow students to focus on writing poetry, which could be helpful in composing greeting card verses. Students should create a portfolio of work to show employers.
Step 2: Learn Greeting Card Styles
Greeting card companies vary in the types of cards they produce. Writers should research companies and their greeting card styles. This will assist writers with determining what kind of cards they would like to write and which card companies they should approach for employment. According to the Greeting Card Association, humor cards tend to command a higher price than poetry. Still, it's best for writers to work in a style they feel comfortable.
Step 3: Undertake an Internship
Some of the larger greeting card companies offer internship positions to new college grads and other prospective greeting card writers. To apply for an internship, a writer might need to submit writing samples. Internships can provide valuable experience in industry-specific writing styles that may not be taught in college classrooms.
Step 4: Consider Freelancing
Many greeting card writers start out as freelancers. According to the Greeting Card Association, there are over 3,000 publishers of greeting cards in the United States. These range from large, well-known corporations to small, family-owned businesses and individual studios. One way to garner experience is to freelance for some of the many smaller card houses that ask for online idea submissions. Submission guidelines can often be found by contacting greeting card companies directly or by visiting their websites.
So, if considering a career as a greeting card writer, a bachelor's degree in creative writing or a similar field may what be some employers are looking for in an employee that is creative, has strong writing skills, who can write in a variety of styles and can meet necessary deadlines. Gaining experience in this field may require completion of an internship, working as a freelance writer in order build a portfolio, and then moving on to a small or large greeting card company.