Ask Wendy Your Writing and Publishing Questions

wendywotr.gifBy Wendy Burt

Q: I’ve got some funny ideas for bumper stickers, doormats, mugs, etc. Who buys that stuff and how much do they pay?

A: There are several companies that buy “novelty items.” Most are considered greeting card companies (primarily), so that may come into play when you’re doing your Google search. Payment varies – depending on the size, history and type of company. One of my favorites is Kalan ( They buy text for just about everything that you’d find at Spencer gifts: shot glasses, gag gifts, key rings, t-shirts, beer mugs, lighters, etc. If I remember correctly, they pay $50 – $75 per item. Not bad for a couple words! You can sign up to be added to their freelancers list in the bottom right corner of their Web site.

Also check out Ephemera, Inc. ( This company produces buttons, stickers and magnets. Be forewarned: the Web site has some very risqué items! But they do buy some “cleaner” stuff too – like age-related gags, political paraphernalia and job/boss topics. They pay $50 per “slogan” and accept submissions via mail or e-mail. Visit the Web site to read their writer’s guidelines.

And finally, visit for a huge list of greeting card companies with contact info. Some buy other items – like calendars, notepads, etc.

Q: How do I go about trying to get a column in a newspaper or magazine?

A: The main two things you’ll need are published clips and several columns written in advance. (The latter is because editors don’t like to save a space in the publication only to find out you can’t meet deadlines.)

As a first-time columnist, you probably have a better shot getting a column in a small local or regional publication. Although I don’t necessarily advocate writing for free, if you’re getting something ELSE out of it (a byline that promotes your new book or Web site, promoting your other business – such as consulting, accounting, marketing, etc.), it could certainly work to your advantage. (Small publishers often don’t have much money and are more likely to jump at the chance for a freebie.) Also, even those who CAN pay may have tons of other offers from businesspeople that are willing to write for free just to promote their business (which, unfortunately, makes it harder for those of us who write for a living).

In any case, pitch the editor your idea and offer one-time rights. Then, if the editor accepts, you may be able to sell the column to other non-competitive publications. This will give you more money for no extra work!

Articles, books, greeting cards, oh my! Wendy Burt is a successful full-time freelance writer and editor who has more than doubled her income since leaving her job as a newspaper editor just three years ago. With two women’s humor books for McGraw-Hill and more than 1,000 published pieces, Wendy’s typical day might including writing ad copy, greeting cards, health articles, personal profiles or her marketing column for Her Business magazine. Her work has appeared in such varied publications as Family Circle, The Writer,,, Home Cooking Magazine and American Fitness. Wendy teaches “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” and still finds ample time to spend with her beautiful baby, Gracie. Visit to see books by Wendy and her award-winning dad. More info at


2 Responses to “Ask Wendy Your Writing and Publishing Questions”

  1. 1 Sylvia C. June 25, 2007 at 4:13 am


    I’ve been working out my ideas for a column and I appreciate your ideas and info!


    Sylvia C.

  1. 1 June Writers on the Rise has Articles for Writer Mamas! « Writer Mama Riffs on Raising A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids Trackback on June 21, 2007 at 1:07 am
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