Friday, 8 October 2010

Making Money from your Greeting Card Designs - Part 3

In parts 1 and 2, I suggested ways to make money from your greeting card designs, either by submitting them to publishers or by selling them through online Print-on-Demand stores. Neither of these routes is likely to bring in instant earnings. So if you’ve had no success with the publishers and the PoDstores aren’t producing as much income as you’d like, there is a way you can begin to bring in money more quickly, though it involves more work and probably will take away still further from the time you can spend designing, depending on whether you have any friends or family members to help with the practicalities.

What I’m referring to, of course, is producing the finished cards yourself and finding ways to sell them. Again, there are various ways you can go about this but the first thing is to decide on is how you’re going to print and package the cards. Inkjet printers have not only come down in price but they have improved over the years, both in terms of the colour quality and light-fastness and the type of print media they will accept. But before you decide to print your own cards, here are a few points to consider:

1.    If you are to produce enough high quality greeting cards to bring you in a worthwhile income, the printing process will take up a lot of your time, especially if you do it all alone.

2.  It’s not just the printing but the setting out of the cards, ready for printing, with the details you want to put on the back, such as the name of the design, possibly the medium, your logo and contact details. I use Coreldraw for this part of the process but in the past I have used Microsoft Publisher quite successfully.

3  You will also need to find a reliable and economical source of coated inkjet card, preferably at least 260 gsm weight, envelopes and packaging, such as cellophane packets and labels. And you will need to work out the costs, including the ink cartridges, in order to decide on the selling price of your cards.

4.  Once this is all done to your satisfaction and the cards are printed, there will be the folding (best done with the bone handle of a dinner knife), trimming, for which you will need a sturdy trimmer, and then the inserting in the cellophane packets, together with the envelope - all time-consuming.

If this all sounds like too much hard work, you might consider getting your cards professionally printed. It will probably cost you somewhat more than doing it yourself because, of course, the printer will expect to be paid for his time! On the other hand, you will not have the expense of trying out different kinds of inkjet card until you find one that produces the best result.

Here are some points to bear in mind when making your decision:

·    Whether you approach a local printer or investigate online printing services, you will probably find that, even with digital printing, the printing firm will only consider printing 50 or more cards of each design. There are a few who will print fewer but they tend to be even more expensive. If you only have half a dozen designs, this may be your most practical way forward, but, if like me you are prolific in your designing, it would require a huge investment of cash and somewhere to store all the boxes of printed cards!

·    You may need to spend time making your cards into .pdf files to send to the printer.
·    Some printing firms will take your raw designs and ‘clean them up’ and set them out for printing, saving you a lot of time, but again, adding to the cost.
·    If you use an internet printing firm, you will need to allow for shipping costs and time.
·    If you use a local firm, you will need to allow time to collect your finished greeting cards.
·    You may still have to fold and package your greeting cards, depending on the printing firm you use.

Successful UK artist and greeting card designer, Alex Clark, began by printing her own greeting cards. You can now buy her greeting cards in shops all over the UK!

And you will find more information about printing and other aspects of selling your greeting cards in ‘Starting & Running a Greeting Cards Business' by Elizabeth White, though it was published in 2008 and I think things have moved on a little as far as online selling is concerned.

Please bear in mind that I am writing entirely from my own experience and that there may be suggestions that you can add which would be useful to others who are thinking about making money from their greeting card designs.



Country Mouse Studio said...

wonderful advice, I wish someone in Canada would do all that hard work then put it into an article for us.

gvart said...

Very interesting indeed! It does sound like a lot of work, but I am sure it is worth it.
Really enjoying your blog

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Carole - thanks for you comment. Do you think things are very different in Canada?

Hi Steve - glad you're enjoying my blog! It is a lot of work, but by printing the cards myself, I can offer a very wide choice of designs and customisation. And it does get quicker with practice :)