Wednesday, January 11, 2012
How creating remembrance cards brought solace to me
Here's a piece I wrote that was published at the online site I often write for, Writing for Dollars. I hope it'll help those of you with sorrow to produce something meaningful in memory of your loved one.
Create Your Own Line of Cards!
Five Tips to Help You Sell
by Alice J. Wisler
Until I reach the New York Times Bestseller List and get to wallow in cash, I’ll be looking for ways to make extra money. While I have some new ventures going, I wanted to focus on one that has been true to me over the years—my own cards!
Yes, I’m talking about glossy colorful postcards you can mail to a friend, just like the kind you buy in stores.
The idea came to me when I was on my porch thinking about my young son who had recently died. He was only four. Will people remember him in five years? Suddenly, through the autumn leaves and night sky, this verse came to me: “Who will remember those who no longer sing on earth? We, who hear their songs from Heaven.” I liked the verse and wrote it down. Next, came the interest in putting the sentiment into a card. I had a friend who had a whole line of cards on her website and so asked her for some advice.
Coming up with a line of cards to sell both online and during events is a way to generate income as well as add to your creative outlet. Here are five tips for getting started, motivated, and selling.
First you need to come up with a passionate plan. In addition to what you are passionate about (horses, roses or fishing), consider the market out there and potential buyers. Will your cards hold only photos on the front or will you add a short sentiment? Will they be note cards or postcards? Will you sell them with envelopes?
Spend time creating at a card website. I found that Vistaprint—http://www.vistaprint.com—is a great printer to use, offering quality merchandise. They often have specials and their customer service is wonderful.
Don’t rush this process of creating the best card you can. Be sure to spell all your words correctly. Do you want to use the stock photos at the printer’s website or do you want to upload your own pictures? A woman I met at a craft fair where I was selling my novels and cards had a line of folded note cards, each one with a different photo she’d taken in Ireland. There were quaint village pictures as well as those of nature. If you are an avid photographer, think of offering a line of cards with your own photos. Come up with some encouraging verses or a short poem, too.
Order a small amount at first. Make sure the name of your company or your name and website are printed on the back side of the card. Once the cards arrive in your mailbox, check them over. Make any necessary changes for your future orders.
Put on your business hat and set up a website. If you already have a personal website, you could add a page for your cards as I did. Decide the price of your cards (charge enough to make a reasonable profit) and which methods of payment to accept. I used PayPal or ask that a check be sent to my post office box. Will you give a discount if customers order in bulk? Bereavement organizations across the country get discounts because they order two hundred or more cards at a time from me.
Advertise! No one will know about your product until you tell them. Spread the word to family, friends and others in your address book. Send out a “Just Released” email alert to all you know. Social media is a great way to share your cards with others. Promote every chance you get without over doing it and being downright obnoxious. Business cards with information about your card company, links, a phone number, etc. are handy to have, too. To promote business, give some cards away and attach ordering details. Once folks like your cards, they’ll pass the word along to others.
The sky’s the limit! Take your time to create a top-notch product, advertise it, and watch the orders come in!
© 2011 by Alice J. Wisler, reprinted from Writing for Dollars
Alice J. Wisler, author of the Southern novels Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (Bethany House), lives and writes in Durham, NC. On sunny days, she places her decorative tri-fold poster board with pictures and information about her novels out by her mail box. Email her for more ways to build your sales at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at http://www.alicewisler.com.