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What does a Greeting Card Writer do?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated May 17, 2024
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A greeting card writer provides text for cards purchased by the public for presentation to friends and loved ones on special occasions. The position may require the writer to focus on one emotion or topic, or she may be free to write on whatever theme she wishes. This type of writer may work on the staff of a greeting card company or freelance her services to several card publishers. More recently, greeting card writers also pen verses for electronic greeting cards available exclusively on the Internet.

The most popular greeting cards normally include ones that relate to occasions, such as birthdays, deaths, and anniversaries. Cards also are popular for specific holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Other cards convey messages related to school graduation, new home acquisition, births and career advancement. Some cards offer encouragement during difficult times, extend a message of love and friendship or seek to mend broken relationships.

Some companies specialize in one style of greeting card, such as religious themes or nature scenes. Others carry a full line of cards that include greetings for every age and event, with premises that range from simple humor to heavy sentimentality. A greeting card writer may find her niche in just one of these areas or find her talents are best displayed when she varies her topics and emotional approaches.

When composing card verses, a greeting card writer normally has to follow the guidelines of her publisher. Some companies require rhyming verses and a prescribed number of stanzas for each card. Other publishers purchase only witty cards with one line on the outside and one on the inside. A number of greeting card companies have strict guidelines on how risqué their card verses can be as well.

Success as a greeting card writer frequently depends on the writer’s ability to know what her audience needs and wants. This generally requires empathy, a good understanding of human nature and familiarity with the latest market trends. Since the card writer is generally expected to express in words what others cannot, her insightful qualities are typically important in composing messages that appeal to a wide range of personalities.

There are normally no educational requirements for this position. Most people in this profession have experience in creative writing. A significant number of greeting card writers are poets, fiction writers or songwriters. Many companies prefer applicants for this position to have a portfolio of their best work available for review prior to hiring.

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Discussion Comments

By Reminiscence — On Mar 09, 2014

For a long time, I was hoping a greeting card company would publish more in-depth poems and sentiments. I've always thought most commercial greeting cards were too surface-level. Now I realize that most people would not want to buy a card that was too intellectual or arcane. They want to share a simple sentiment that anyone would understand. Poets like Maya Angelou or William Carlos Williams have crafted very deep works about love and death and life, but that's not what people expect from greeting cards.

By Phaedrus — On Mar 08, 2014

Greeting cards are not easy to write. They may appear simple and straightforward, but they are actually complicated from a writer's point of view. Greeting card writers have to think like their target audiences, not necessarily like "professional" writers. Poets may be able to craft intricate love poems filled with symbolism and passion, but that's not what most people want to send their loved ones on Valentine's Day. The sentiments on most greeting cards need to be accessible to a general audience, but still have some intellectual appeal for the reader. Editors at greeting card companies aren't afraid to tell their writers to rework their lines several times before they can be published nationwide.

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