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.

FAQ’s:

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?


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