Have you ever thought about putting your writing skills to work for the greeting card industry? I know a couple of writers who’ve had lots of success in this niche. Here’s my interview with Ingrid Heffner who’s the editor at Blue Mountain Arts…
This Writer’s Life (TWL)-Tell us about Blue Mountain Arts and what you do?
Ingrid Heffner (IH)-Blue Mountain Arts is an independent publisher of greeting cards, books, and gifts, and we have been helping people communicate their deepest, most sincere thoughts and feelings about love, friendship, family, ideals, and dreams for over 45 years. We are based in Colorado and are known for our innovative art styles, quality papers, unique production techniques, and ever-increasing selection of authors, artists, and product lines.
Blue Mountain Arts was founded by Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz in 1971. Idealistic and very much in love, the couple had left the busy East Coast in search of a new life in Colorado. In the basement of their Boulder apartment, they silk-screened posters of Susan’s poems paired with Stephen’s paintings and then traveled the country selling the posters from their pickup-truck camper. Everywhere they went, people were drawn to the candor and emotion of Susan’s words and to the mystical beauty of Stephen’s illustrations. What began as a way for Susan and Stephen to spend their time together doing something they loved quickly became a publishing phenomenon.
Today Susan and Stephen are widely hailed as a bestselling poet-artist team, with Susan’s book, “To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life,” illustrated by Stephen, having sold over 1.8 million copies. Blue Mountain Arts continues to be at the creative forefront of personal expression — a thriving, international publisher with strong product recognition and a loyal following. Blue Mountain Arts cards, books, and other products have been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, Dutch, Hebrew, Finnish, Hungarian, Polish, German, and Portuguese.
Susan and Stephen credit much of the company’s success to the fact that it has never strayed from the principles and beliefs on which it was founded. The warm, communicative style, dense inks, rich colors, and beautiful papers that distinguished the very first Blue Mountain Arts products continue today to make them standouts in the marketplace, filling a very unique and necessary role… that of helping people communicate their feelings and connect with the special people in their lives.
TWL-You’re a paying market for writers. Could you tell us more about that, the type of work you’re currently looking for and what the pay rate is?
IH-We are always looking for new writings that would be suitable for our greeting cards. Most of our cards feature contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience that reflects the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don’t always know how to put into words. We are looking for new, original, and creative writings that do not sound like anything we have already published. Our cards capture genuine emotions on topics such as love, friendship, family, missing you, and other real-life subjects. We suggest that you have a friend, relative, or someone else in your life in mind when you write. Writings on special occasions (birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc.) as well as the challenges, difficulties, and aspirations of life are also considered. The poem length does not matter, so long as it can fit on a greeting card. We publish both long and short pieces.
If a poem is selected for publication on one of our greeting cards, we pay $300 per poem for the worldwide, exclusive rights to publish it on a greeting card and other products.
TWL-Are you looking for anything in particular…something you’d love to see submitted but can never seem to find?
IH-Our cards capture emotions on topics such as love, friendship, family, missing you, and other real-life subjects… universal and timeless topics. The real challenge is to find a new spin on an age-old subject, and we are always on the lookout for a new way – a new voice – expressing these feelings and emotions.
TWL-What mistakes should writers avoid when submitting to you?
IH-We are not looking for rhymed poetry, religious verse, or one-liners. Also, try to avoid frequently overused words and phrases, such as “special,” “gift,” “sending you a hug,” “birthday wishes for you,” and “angel.” We receive a large number of submissions about mothers, sons, daughters, and love. For these themes, we only consider writings that are refreshing and unique or that express age-old sentiments in new and different ways.
TWL-You currently have a poetry contest. Could you tell us more about that?
IH-We are currently running our 31st Biannual Poetry Contest, and the deadline to submit is June 30, 2018. The first prize is $350, second prize $200, and third prize is $100.
Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although – as with our cards – we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better. Because this contest is a Blue Mountain Arts poetry contest, we suggest that you write about real emotions and feelings and that you have some special person or occasion in mind as you write. Poems are judged on the basis of originality and uniqueness and can be as long or short as you like. To find out more, read through previous winning poems, and to submit please visit our Poetry Contest page at http://www.sps.com/poetry/index.html.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this market. Is there a publication or publisher you’d like to know more about? Let me know and I’ll do my best to interview them here at This Writer’s Life.