All you need to know about greeting card printing
Many of us have some images that we would like to see sold as greeting cards. However, the chances of us selling our images to one of the big greeting card publishers, such as Hallmark, are just about zero. The answer is to get your greeting cards printed privately and sell them yourself.
Self-publishing is not a new idea. Authors have been doing it for hundreds of years - often very successfully. Many very known works were originally self-published. Now you can do the same with greeting card images. With the advent of digital printing came shorter run lengths. We can produce as few as 20 greeting cards, although naturally, larger quantities are more profitable for you. Greeting cards are being sold everywhere and most of us buy tens or even hundreds of cards every year.
So where do I start?
If you like the idea of selling some of your own images as greeting cards, the first step is to identify a market. Greeting cards are being sold in very many places, but the ideal market for your own images is probably local. Most of us have a local shop, a local pub, a local hairdressers, a fuel station, a garden centre, a tourist attraction or even our own outlet. The next step is to choose a size and place a smallish order for some cards. The best way to choose a suitable size is to request some samples and a price list
How much money can I make?
Greeting cards sell to the trade at around half the retail price, less VAT. In other words, if a retailer pays you, say, £1 for a greeting card with an envelope, they will have to sell it for £2 plus VAT = £2.40. Even though you don't charge the retailer VAT when you sell the card to them, they have to charge it to their customer and account for it to HMRC. This may seem like a good mark-up for them, but they are paying for rent, rates, staff, heating, lighting, insurance and many more outgoings. They are also providing the actual customer. Once you get going and order greeting cards in reasonable quantities, you can easy be making 80p on each card so the earning potential is excellent.
What images can I use?
As long as the image is your own work, you can sell it. Popular subjects for both artists and photographers are local scenes, animals, flowers, local attractions, boats and almost anything else. Anything that you can draw or photograph from a public place such as a road is allowed for reproduction. If you are taking photographs from somewhere private, you should get the landowners permission before selling images. Artists have more freedom in that the copyright of the image always belongs to them. Have a stroll around a high-class greeting card outlet and see what they are selling. Ask the shop owner what they may be interesting in buying. Don't bother looking at the cheap and cheerful high street chain greeting card outlets. They sell to a different market.
How should I present my cards?
Many wholesalers supply cards in five or in sixes of each design. Your cards will be supplied to you flat, creased, ready to fold. Most people also order glass-clear 'cello bags'. These are actually made from polycarbonate and are quite cheap to buy. If you fold each of your cards around an envelope, then insert and seal into a cello bag, this will keep your cards clean. This is essential if you are offering 'sale or return' which some retailers will ask for. Packing your cards does not take very long and is well worthwhile. As your orders get larger, we can pack the cards for you if you prefer.