Melanie Rockett –
All Rights Reserved
You only have
to walk into any one of a dozen greeting card specialty stores
to realize that there is a huge market here. There are hundreds
of companies competing in the arena ... from small one-person
enterprizes to the famed Hallmark and Carlton Greeting Card
companies. The thirst for greeting cards is insatiable ... and
the need for new material is constant.
If you are a savvy marketer you could end up with your own
line of products, licensing your images and words and creating a ready
stream of loyal buyers. Charles Shultz with his Charlie Brown characters and
Laurel Busch with her colourful cats are two that come to mind.
Photographers and artists can get anywhere from $50 to $800 per image,
depending on the illustration, the size of the company they are selling to,
your "status" and the rights you are selling. Expect to be asked for world
rights, exclusivity and a three to five year agreement.
Writers can look for a low of $15 per verse to $150. You can
get from $50 to $150 per concept. With some markets you can make as much as
$50 per word ... though don't expect that to be the norm. If your cards sell
well you can expect royally agreements and a steady demand for your work.
In the bigger leagues (you could get there) you get paid
through licensing fees and royalties. You'll probably have an agent by that
Though the market place is huge, the competition isn't as big as you might
think. Many people hold off from submitting their ideas simply because they
don't know how. Take the time to learn about this market, study the
competition and start presenting your material. In Part Two of this series,
I will talk about strategies and how-to's for getting started.
Here are a few resources I recommend.
have developed a "starter" list of over 50 companies that
publish greeting cards and calendars.
See the list at:
Here are several books on
Writing Greeting Cards
from Amazon.com I particularly like:
You Can Write Greeting Cards by
Karen Ann Moore and
Writing for Quick Cash: Turn Your Way With Words
into Real Money
by Loriann Hoff Oberlin
The Market Guides ... especially for Photographers and
Artists provides you with lists (and contacts) for Greeting Card companies.
I would suggest either the photographers or artists guides even for writers.
Graphic Designers Market 2006
Compared to greeting cards, magazines or some of the other
specialty markets for photographs the calendar market isn't as big as you
might think. The reason? Calendars are very seasonal and they only have one
to 13 images each. So even a company that publishes 50 calendars will only
need a max of 650 images.
The competition is fierce because getting your photos published on a
calendar is VERY GOOD for the portfolio as well as the ego. There is nothing
more satisfying than seeing your photo(s) on a nice big high quality
The fees range from poor to great $50 to $1200 per photo. Some calender
companies want an outright purchase of the image and transfer of copyright,
while others just want exclusive rights for the year of publication.
you have been in any of the "all calendar" specialty stores that open up in
November/December ... you know that there are calendars on virtually every
hobby, and interest you can think of ... cars, locomotives, cats, dogs,
flowers. The biggest sellers are scenic's that show the changing seasons. If
you have a photo niche, the calendar
market may be interested!
Weeding out the competition.
Most calendar companies want to see medium to large format transparencies.
If you are shooting digitally you should know what RAW is, and what to do
with it ... because the calendar companies want the final image submissions
in very high resolution files.
Did you just weed yourself out of the market because of what
I just said? All is not lost, because there are some back door markets that
still use 35mm transparencies. This could be your entry into the calendar
market by paying for your new equipment!! I'll talk about this more in Part
Two of this series ... next week!
Here are a few resources I recommend.
I have developed a "starter" list of over 50 companies
that publish greeting cards and calendars. See the list at:
2006 Photographers Market
About the author:
Melanie Rockett is a writer,
photographer, author of 9 books, and webmaster of
proofpositive.com an information portal for
freelance writers and photographers.
Read Part Two of this article