As authors, we struggle to balance writing time, marketing time, and family life with paying the bills and bringing in adequate income. Have you considered writing fillers or greeting cards to bring in added funds? Writing fillers and verse can take less time, marketing is not such an issue because you submit and don’t have to continue to have a marketing plan for one or two cards or puzzles, and they can be fun.
Writing greeting cards or fillers is the ultimate in writing tight. You have to make your sentiment known in fewer words than a story, novel, or magazine article. You must touch the emotional side of the reader or buyer for cards and grab the interest of the reader immediately for writing fillers. Some of the same rules apply to writing fillers that apply to greeting cards.
- Study the market. Writing for a greeting card company is as important and professional as writing for a publisher. Knowing your market and what is being published will help you hone your writing skills to meet their needs. The same goes for fillers. Does the magazine you target use puzzles, quotes, brain teasers, or number games? Writing requires you to know your market.
- Write your words or verse as if you are writing it for a friend. If it appeals to one person, more likely than not, it will appeal to the masses. Write your filler in the same way. It should be aimed at a single reader because if one reader likes it so will others.
- Be specific. If the card is for a friend, say so. If it is for a mom, dad, sister, aunt, etc make sure your words are special to that audience. If the puzzle is for a child, send it to a children’s magazine and if your filler is more for adults, don’t try to send it to a kid’s publication.
- Target specific publishers that fit your writing style. Don’t try to rhyme if that is not what you are good at. Don’t try number puzzles if you are not good at math. Write what you feel in your heart and then write it tighter to fit your target.
- Be persistent. Write everyday and continue to hone your writing skills.
- When you are ready to submit, follow the writer’s guidelines just like you would for a magazine or book publisher. If they say to put one verse per index card, then do it. If they don’t want a word search filler, then by all means don’t send them one. Guidelines are meant to weed out those that are not professional. Make your submission shine by following every guideline suggested.
Writing fillers or for the greeting card market can be very rewarding and satisfying. Don’t forget the E-card and online markets for greeting cards and fillers too. Research the greeting card market, look at your local stores for the types of cards that are selling, and then tweak your writing to fit the target you choose. It can be the best writing move you make to advance your career in a forward direction.
Author of The Cancer Prayer Book