Greeting Card Submissions

I sent good color copies to Novo Card. They bought out a company I had originally sent to... had about 8-10 color copies and a cover letter, SAS postcard for their response and an SASE. It never hurts to do one or 2 dummies of the color copies to size, folded (no message needed inside) if you want to give them a "feel" of how your art would look in that format.

Pam is a good one to help with this. Lots of GREAT experience in the card industry! She probably has ideas that I would never think of. Pam.... what do you think?

Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!

Hi, you all who are interested in doing greeting cards!

Good color copies are just fine...10 to 20 are sufficient for portfolio (8-10 is good, too). Cover letter, resume and tearsheet are what I send first letting the companies know if interested, I've a portfolio with colored copies to send to give them a more comprehensive perspective on my abilities. My portfolio is the one with black vinyl cover and see-through pages...I pasted the colored copies of my card samples onto the black construction paper fit inside those pages. When I send out my portfolio, I also send a self-stamped address "priority" envelope with insurance paid for with it.

Most companies ask for 5"x7" artwork.

Lainey, that's a great idea about a SAS postcard for a "response!"

Have fun and best of luck!

Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 16:41:11 EST
From: JHWdraw
Subject: Re: illustration: Novo Card guidelines

I just sold 13 or so pieces to Novo. I initially sent a resume, a slide list, slides, some color copies, and some printed card samples. NEVER send original artwork at the outset-in fact most card companies don't want it until they are sure they want to use it. Good luck!



"What is the best way to show my cards to a company?

1. As 5x7 print outs on portfolio pages? or
2. Have some mock cards printed up? or
3. Bring my mother with me?"

Have your mother show mocked up cards (this assumes you are writing them too - if not, just illo samples would be dandy)

- -Kevan

Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 14:16:55 EST
Subject: Re: illustration: Claudia,Joy,Kevan: CardsVS Licensing writes:

"Am getting together images...Do I submit to card company first or submit them to a licensing group? Or a Print company? I spend 60 hours on a piece and can't just sell it outright. Am going through marketing books to find the right companies. Where's the starting point?

If they're really detailed, how many do I need to send? I'm guessing 3-5. Also, how does one find out which card companies have a good marketing, distribution set-up? Ask them how many sell yearly?

Anybody going to show or visit the card show in NYC in May 99?"

First thing you should do is get guidelines from companies you'd like to submit to. Generally (I've found) they like to see ideas submitted in groups of 10 - 12 designs. Rather than send finishes (color copies of course) of designs, sending roughed out sketches of the designs and illustration samples of your style would be appropos. If the company is publicly held, you can get sales information on the web. If it is privately held, then you will have to do some inquiring. I doubt that anyone is going to be free with that kind of information though. I would concentrate on finding a company that is a good match for your work first, rather than their marketing program. If the money and terms are not right for you after you find a match and some interest, then maybe it is not a good match for you after all.

So . . let's see . . .simply, it would be something like this . . .

1) Research (at the retail level) and find card companies that seem right for your work.

2) Write those companies for submission guidelines.

3) Put together a series of designs (sketches are more than fine) and samples of your illustration style and with a letter of introduction, submit to the companies.

4) Sit back and wait for the huge contracts to come rolling in.

Oh, and I will have a booth at the Stationery Show again this May in NYC. A great show . . .a must for folks interested in this industry!

- -Kevan


"Please help? I'd like to break into the greeting card business (overnight of course LOL!) But I have a "few" questions. Many thanks.

Should I submit ideas as roughs or include copies of finished art when available, if it would suit the sentiment? Make up a dummy form or just send a wad of index cards for the sentiments? How many submissions at a time, in one mailing? Submit one theme (like Birthday sentiments or a line that shares the same "look" for all holidays) or totally different ones ganged up?"

OK. Since you're just starting out, and I presume none of the people you're sending to have seen your work, you'll need to send some finished pieces. I'd suggest putting together a 'mini-line' could be 4 to 6 cards. All in the same style, with the same 'thinking'. They can be all for one occasion, like birthday, or mixed. Do them at about 5 x7, send good color copies made into actual 'cards' if possible (although that's not necessary). Along with that you may send a list of other ideas or 'greetings'. The idea is to show that you can produce consistently.

Put them together in a nice package, write a query letter, and send them off. Include a SASE if you want them back. Put a copyright symbol on each of them, as well as the list of ideas. Try to only send to companies who produce cards that are similar in style or feeling to your own. You have to do a little research here, but it's the fun kind. Look at cards you like and write down the contact info on the back. Sending work to companies who aren't 'on the same page' as you is a waste of your time.

"How do you nail down WHO to submit to -- at each publisher? (Writer's Market and/or Graphic Artist's Market followed by a phone call to confirm any changes?)"

That works fine.

"PS How much, on average do you earn for an illustration? Sentiment? Or both?"

Usually $200 (that's very very low) to $700 (that's rare). Mostly between $250 and $400 for an advance against a royalty, which is usually 5 %. This means that after your card earns you your advance amount, anything on top of that is the royalty for the length of time your card is circulating. Or you can work for a flat fee, which means you get paid once and that's it.

They usually stay out there for about 3 years, unless they're a really good seller. And you have the option to renew your licensing contract at the end of that time. Be sure you make a note on your calendar of when your contract is up for renewal, because most of them 'renew automatically'. This means you have to alert them ahead of time (and they're usually very specific about this) if you DON'T want to renew. You might decide you don't want that card out there anymore for some reason, or want to do something else with it, etc., and want to have the greeting card rights to it back.

Caution: Don't work for free! Beware of anyone offering "Royalties only". That means you might NEVER see any money for your work. There seems to be a plethora of these worms out there today. Only work with people who will pay you an advance of some kind.

Personally, I sell mainly the artwork, but there's always a joke involved. Sometimes they use it as is, sometimes they tweak it a little. Sometimes I just have the concept for a funny illustration, then we have to figure out what the greeting will be. Sometimes, knowing my style, THEY'LL come up with an idea and ask me to draw it up. The price is always the same, either way. But that's the relationship I've worked out with my companies, so I'm sure it varies.

And you CAN be a success overnight! All it takes is getting one published, and then there you are! It's a lot of fun to go into a store and see your work sitting on the rack.

Good luck,

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