Knowing Your Stuff – The Building Blocks of Greeting Cards by Bev Cleveland

So, you’re a wiz with words. You’re ready to wow all those greeting card editors out there with your outrageously impressive ideas.

Great! But, first, know your stuff — know the basics of greeting cards.

A good greeting card is a “total package,” a marriage of design (the art and any special card folds and finishes) and editorial (the words). You may pick up a card for the design, but only the right words will sell it.


Does the art or editorial come first?

It varies. Usually, it depends on a card company’s operating procedures.

Do I submit art with my editorial ideas?

Not necessary. Occasionally, your idea may hinge on a very specific art tie-in; in that case, include a brief art description.

Now, let’s focus on the editorial.

The Editorial Parts of a Greeting Card:

  • Caption: A caption is similar to a title; generally brief copy on the front of the card. Captions can refer to the recipient only (“For Someone Special”), or to both the recipient and the sender (“To a Special Mom From Both of Us”)
  • Quote: A quote is “additional copy” that is used to enhance the card’s message; it is not a part of the sentiment/verse.

Types of Quotes:

  • Famous source: well-known person, author, books, the Bible, etc.
  • Other source: freelance writer, editor, etc. (Always give appropriate author credit to quotes.)
  • Sentiment: A sentiment is the card’s focus, the “me-to-you message.” A “split verse” is a sentiment split between two pages. Note: Some of the best sentiments (also called “verses”) are simple and sincere.
  • Tag: A tag is the brief “P.S.” to the card’s sentiment. Tags generally appear directly below the sentiment. (Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon, etc.) Not all cards will have a tag.

As a freelance greeting card writer, your main concern is the sentiment/verse. Does it say what someone really would say to a co-worker, an ailing seven-year-old, Mom and Dad at Christmas?

Want to Read More?

To read the full article, subscribe to today and access hundreds of articles, more than 8,000 market listings, and our submission tracker.

Subscribe today for only $5.99 a month!