If you’re a gag writer, or just a comedy writer of any sort, then writing copy for greetings cards can be a good alternative source of income. A single line can sell from £50 to £150 and they take very little time to write so if you get rejected then you haven’t wasted much time in writing them. Of course companies don’t buy much, they tend to stick to the writers they know, but every little bit helps and if you can get in with a company then they can provide you with well-paid semi-regular work.
I’m always keen to find and exploit any new possible source of freelance income and (for reasons you can read about in another of my posts) I had a huge number of jokes to dispose of a few years ago so I approached several companies with examples of my work. Those of them who got back to me (which was certainly not the majority) responded in the negative, so I gave up; I tried but you can’t win them all. Sometime later I got a response from one of the companies with a polite apology for taking so long and accepting some of my work. Now, I’m certainly not complaining given the end result, but I should make it clear that when I say ‘sometime later’ what I mean is 18 months. A year and a half without a single word and then an acceptance completely out of the blue. And their apology, though very polite, was not the ‘Wow! How long?! Sorry, that shows a complete lack of competence on our part!’ that might have been more situation-appropriate. Normally I would have written a pretty sarcastic reply but they were offering me money and I’ve got into trouble that way before.
After the initial success I was told that they would be in touch shortly with more specific guidelines about their requirements. That was five months ago. I could fire off an irritable email asking them what’s going on, or I could assume I’ll never hear from them again and give it up as a dead loss. But given my history with them I have to ask myself what ‘shortly’ means in their vocabulary, I could easily hear back in a year or so. And however long it takes, I’ll be glad of the money.
I doubt this is a typical experience, but it’s one worth bearing in mind on those day that freelancing feels like a pretty thankless game. Never give up.