Monday, October 31, 2011
Witches, Goblins, and Trick or Treating may be what is on your mind today, but why is this still the perfect time for writers?
Writers can use the atmosphere and thrill of the season to plan articles, stories, and activities for the market for NEXT Halloween. Writers need to submit at least 6 months in advance but some don't think about it until it is too late. It may be too late for the current year, but write and organize your articles, puzzles, and material for next year.
Research what has been published this year. Where will you book idea or story fit into the market for next year? Begin making a list of possible target markets. Make sure you write down word counts, themes, and any specific items the publisher lists in their writing guidelines.
Mark on your calendar when they begin taking submissions or if there is not a time frame listed, make a priority list of publishers to query for your Halloween article for next year.
Writers can benefit from writing during each season or holiday by keeping the target and focus for next season as their goal. The spookiness of Halloween, the scents of fall, the feeling of Christmas, the heat of summer, all can influence your writing making it the perfect time to write whatever the season.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Have you signed up and taken the pledge:
I do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into
picture book manuscripts
throughout the year.
For those of you who write for children and have wanted to write Picture Books, this is a great time to challenge yourself and your imagination. Thirty days and thirty ideas will give you material to work on as you hone your writing and promotional skills. I have taken the challenge now why don't you come and join the fun.
Visit : http://taralazar.wordpress.com/category/piboidmo-2011/ and get the information to get started.
Let me know how you do. I am off to get my notebook ready. Look for more ideas here and a Picture Book workshop coming soon to help you get those ideas ready for market.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I have just joined Writers on the Move in hopes that it will increase my network connections and improve my writing, marketing, and promotional skills. If you are a writer who feels the need to branch out, this may be a good place to start.
Visit http://www.writersonthemove.com/ and check out all of the informational articles and workshops. I'm sure you will find something useful in your writing career. There are helpful posts on marketing your book but if you don't have your book ready, there are articles on that too. It is a wealth of information from both the founder, Karen Cioffi, and from talented authors who contribute like Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Donna McDine, and Virginia Grenier.
Here is a complete list of talented members:
Stop in and see what the site has to offer. It can improve your skills in writing, marketing, and promotion. Maybe you will even decide to join us. Let me know when you stop by and what you found to be the most helpful piece of information for your writing career.
Friday, October 28, 2011
InkSpotter Publishing is very proud to announce to release of its latest anthology, Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra.
Our anthology celebrates the most female of body parts, the breasts. From light-hearted memories of the first buds of puberty to heart wrenching accounts of breast cancer, these stories and poems run the gamut of experiences and emotions. And a portion of all profits will be donated to Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
Currently available through CreateSpace and Amazon.com, Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra will soon be available to multiple brick ’n mortar and online stores.
Please help us spread the word about our new book. Breast cancer research is counting on you!
Blogging with Betty http://bettydobson.blogspot.com/
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Please welcome Nicole Langan from Tribute Books. She has graciously agreed to answer some questions about submitting your book to Tribute and what it takes to get published in the YA genre.
I am more than happy to answer your questions. We are excited about 2012 and what Tribute offers.
1. What advice do you have for writers wanting to find a traditional publisher?
Develop a well-written, well-crafted story. Establish an eager fan base for your work. Have your manuscript professionally edited before submitting it to a publisher. Learn the ins and outs of book promotion before seeking publication. Build a social media platform by devoting the time and energy necessary to run a well-followed blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.
2. What types of subjects and genres are you looking for at Tribute Books?
We're looking for ebook submissions for the young adult genre. Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, ebooks written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.
Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.
Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We're looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc.
My hope is that we are able to recruit some talented writers of well-written, well-crafted stories in order to develop an eager fan base for the titles we publish. We want readers to be excited about the ebooks we produce. Young adult authors have the most devoted fan followings out there, and we'd like to introduce that audience to a whole new host of talent.
3. Do new writers always need an agent to get a traditional publisher interested in their book?
For a small independent publisher like Tribute Books, we accept submissions directly from qualified authors. However, if the end goal is to break into one of the big New York publishing houses, then an agent is absolutely necessary to breach the gatekeepers.
4. What does your average writing day look like?
I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com/. I try to keep an active online presence with the Tribute Books web site (http://www.tribute-books.com//), Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176), Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks) and blog (http://tributebooks.blogspot.com//).
5. What do you see as the best marketing advice for an author and how can that work to help the publisher?
I am a big believer in the power of social media. I even conduct monthly blog tours for outside publishers and authors in order to help them increase the online presence of a book. Book bloggers are a powerful force in the book industry. With more and more book stores closing and book review columns being cut from major newspapers, readers are depending on bloggers to help them find the books they want to read. They are turning to the internet as a reference point to fill this information gap.
In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author's promotional efforts. Without it, it's like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger's book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They're now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community.
Thanks for agreeing to host me. It has been fun. Here is more information on Tribute Books and what we are looking to do for 2012.
Beginning in 2012, Tribute Books will become solely an ebook publisher of young adult titles.
We're looking to work with authors who are savvy with social media - those who blog, tweet and update their Facebook status on a daily basis.
Our preference is for authors who already have a book(s) published through a royalty-paying press. We want to work with those who are familiar with the ins and outs of the publishing process. We seek those who have experience having their work edited and know the effort required for successful book promotion.
There would be NO charge for authors, and those selected would receive 50% of the net retail price in royalties.
To begin, we're looking to work with 12 authors in 2012, publishing one per month.
PO Box 95
Archbald, PA 18403
Web Site: www.tribute-books.com
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Ready to start a freelance writing business but you don't know how?
Have you been looking online for someone or something that will help you?
Then find out more about the Working Writer's Club in this interview with the club's founder and president, Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach.
The Working Writer's Club might be just what you're searching for!
Q: Suzanne, as the founder and director of the Working Writer's Club what is the first thing you would like people to know when visiting www.workingwritersclub.com?
A: I'd like visitors to know that our club is all about helping freelance writers learn to write better, make more money, and live the writer's life they've always dreamed of living.
Q: Having created your own successful freelance writing career you know what it takes to build momentum. What is one of the most critical steps a writer needs to take consistently to develop their own freelance writing career?
A: The most critical step is to develop your goals - you have to KNOW what you want before you can figure out HOW to get there. Yet, this is the one thing that so many new writers don't take the time to do - or at least they don't take enough time to do it well. They may think that "write a novel this year" is a goal. But actually, I think of a goal as something even BIGGER than that. Writing a novel is an action step toward a goal rather than a goal itself. To get to the goal, consider WHY do you want to write a novel? What do you want this novel to do for you or your career? Your answer to that question is closer to your goal (or at least one of your major goals).
Q: What advice would you give to a newbie in freelance writing? And the intermediate freelance writer that has seen some success, but seems to be in a holding pattern at the moment?
A: Whether you're a newbie or an intermediate freelance writer - or even a very experienced, successful writer - continue to learn from other successful writers.
Join our club or another organization for writers. Then take an active part in whatever group you join. Next, develop a focus for your writing and create no more than 3 major writing/career goals for yourself that you hope to attain within the next 12 months.
Also, constantly evaluate what you're doing to see if it's getting you closer to your goals. If it isn't, then change what you're doing.
Q: By becoming a member of the Working Writer's Club what can a freelancer expect?
A: Well, for one thing, you can expect us to help you create a focus for your writing career or your writing business. And, we can help you create no more than 3 major goals - so you'll get really, really clear about WHAT you want, WHERE you're wanting to go, and then we'll help you stay focused so you take the steps to attain your goals and build your writing career and/or your writing business.
Q: With the wealth of freelance writing information available on the Internet what makes the Working Writer's Club unique?
A: I think the one thing that makes the Working Writer's Club unique is that we're not out to get you into our club so we can sell you a bunch of other high priced programs or products. We just want people who love to write and want to build a business or a career around writing to join our club and make use of all the resources, information, training, networking and support they'll receive for just $9.99 per month. I think another unique thing about the Working Writer's Club is that we all genuinely have fun helping each other be more successful.
Visit the Working Writer’s Club www.workingwritersclub.com today and explore all they have to offer.
Thank you for your time. We look forward to your visit.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Here is a review of one of the best books for 2011 and Halloween is a good time to tell bedtime stories with happy endings.
When Monsters Get Lonely
Author: Maha Huneidi
Illustrator: Karen McDonald
Monsters tend to come out after dark but this story has a different spin. Hannah is afraid of the dark because the monster comes out and scares her. Grandma tells her that she can choose to be afraid or she can make a different choice.
The author does a wonderful job of helping the reader see how it is a choice to be afraid and a choice to be joyful. Hannah learns to make the choice to see the monster in a different light discovering that the monster isn't there to scare her but is there because he is lonely.
This is one of my favorite books. It is a delightful read, has a life lesson woven throughout the text, and has an imaginative ending. Children will have a new attitude about bedtime after reading this comforting bedtime story.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
New and seasoned writers may want to take advantage of the Poetry or Verse Story Writing Contest at Children's Writer. Visit the link for details and prize package: http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/af627/
Entering contests will help you to hone your skills and spark your brain for new writing ideas. Join the fun and check it out. Share with us what contests you have entered and how they have helped your writing career.
Contests can be fun, productive, and lucrative but most of all they give you practice in following guidelines, in writing consistently to a theme or topic, and in developing discipline for your writing. Write, write, and write again..... there is someone who needs to read your words.
Monday, October 17, 2011
All That Matters is fun, romantic, sad, tragic, and suspensful all wrapped up into one good read. The reader immediately learns to love the characters Buddy Lee and Faith and the situation they have found themselves in. And they are drawn into the suspense and mystery that centers around a death. (This is a good example for new writers to read to help with the concept of action and moving a story along as well as a great hook to get the reader into the story from the very first page. )
The story moves quickly and can easily be read in a weekend making it a good choice for those with little time to sit and read. There are a couple of intimate scenes between Buddy Lee and Faith that are done in good taste within the scope of true love but I would still warn the reader that it wouldn't be appropriate for teens or those uncomfortable reading scenes with sexual content.
( This is also a great part of the story for new writers who may be interested in writing romance. It is a skill that needs to be perfected to write romantic and intimate scenes with the love and romance the reader wants without being vulgar and turning the reader off. This author did a good job for adult readers but it would behoove the new writer to take care when writing for the teen or YA market in this area. Most parents would appreciate romantic scenes for teens and YA to be less graphic. )
The mystery and suspense is good, the story line keeps the reader caring about what will happen, and the ending has its own twist and turn. All in all a very good story that brings out realistic emotions and true to life relationships.
All That Matters is available at http://www.amazon.com/ as an E-Book for Kindle. It is also available for Nook readers as well.
Friday, October 14, 2011
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Reviews: Quincy Moves to The Desert by Author...: Quincy Moves to the Dessert Author Camille Matthews ISBN: 978-0-9819240-1-4 A Pathfinder Equine Publications Book 2010 Picture ...
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Review: When Monsters Get Lonely by Author Ma...: When Monsters Get Lonely Author: Maha Huneidi Illustrator: Karen McDonald ISBN: 13-978-1461063070 2011 Monsters tend to come out ...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Quincy Finds a New Home ISBN: 978-0-9819240-0-7
Quincy Moves to the Desert ISBN: 978-0-9819240-1-4
Author: Camille Matthews
Illustrator: Michelle Black
The Quincy books are the best for children who love horses. The first book, Quincy Finds a New Home, Quincy is purchased by a new family and must leave the only home he knows. He is afraid but finds his new home to be a wonderful change with loving new owners.
Quincy Moves to the Desert finds Quincy on the move again. His owners are moving to a different state and Quincy is nervous about going somewhere different. He and his friend Beau travel by horse trailer across nine states with their owner and soon discover being in a new place can be a great adventure.
These books are beautifully illustrated with storylines that children can relate to and enjoy. Visit http://www.quincythehorse.com/ for more information on Quincy.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Terri: What age range is your book for?
A: I didn’t think of an age range when I wrote the book. I just wrote a picture book for my granddaughter. When I later ran the Flesch Kincaid reading level on Word, it gave me grade 4.2. In Amazon it’s listed as 9 to 12. I really can’t understand this age classifications thing, especially if parents can read the book to their kids. In my mind I was writing a book that parents would read to kids starting at 3 years old, because I wrote it for my granddaughter who was just about 3 when I sent the galley proof to my son. He read it to her and she loved it, and now she’s over her fear. She sometimes tells her Mom “the monster came last night,” and when her Mom asks if she was frightened she says, “I made friends with him.”
Terri: Can you share a memory of yours or a story of you from when you were within the age range of your target readers?
A: I remember being afraid of the dark and seeing little monsters all around my bed closing in on me in the dark, I was petrified. They were little, but there were so many of them! My parents would come in and look for the monsters, but they always disappeared when the lights came on. For little kids things can look so different in the dark. Sometimes I would see a monster on the dresser, and when my parents turned on the lights it would turn out to be a jar or something like that, but there was no consoling me; I was terrified of the dark.
Terri: How has life changed for children today than when you were that age?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is all the technology. We never even dreamed of it. The computers, cell phones, electronic games… kids now live in a completely different world than the one we knew. I think it’s great, so long as there’s a balance between their use of the Internet and their interaction with nature… Another thing that has changed, in a way that’s not so good, is the consumerism. We didn’t have that in my time. You bought something and used it and then it was handed down… none of that nowadays. The sad thing is that we contribute to it as well. How can I help it as a grandparent? I just want to buy all that cute stuff for my granddaughter.
Terri: How is life still the same?
A: For me family ties are still the same and parents still want to do the best they can for their children. Other than that I think that life is very different now. It was very different for my children, and now it’s even more different for my granddaughter.
Terri: What was your favorite toy or activity when you were that age?
A: The earliest I can remember, and I’m not sure exactly what age that was, I loved to play outside with the boys, to ride my bike, or play hide and seek with my friends. I wasn’t into dolls; I was more of a tomboy. I preferred to play with my cousin’s Mekano set (that was the Lego of our generation, except it had metal pieces and nuts and bolts).
Terri: What inspired this book and how did you decide on this age range for your book?
A: At first, I wanted to write a picture book to help kids get over their fear of the dark, because I was afraid of the dark as a kid and I know how awful it is to be frightened, but when my son told me that my granddaughter was having nightmares because she was watching monster movies, she became my inspiration. She loves monster movies. They give her nightmares and she still loves to watch them anyway, so I decided to make the book about her to help her get over her fear.
In my mind I was writing for ages 3 to 8 and I wanted to convey the idea of how our thoughts create our lives in the simplest way I could put it. I guess the story line dictated the age range.
Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book.
Terri: If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on your book, what else would be in the basket besides (your book’s title)?
A: Besides “When Monsters Get Lonely” I would definitely put a “cloud b constellation night light” for kids who are afraid of the dark, or maybe one of those “dog animal pillowz” to keep them company.
Thank you so much for your time. We wish you much success with your book.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Author: R. L. Stine
Goosebumps Book Series
The November/December addition of Writer's Digest arrived and as a writer who dreams of being published, I began reading it on the way back from the mailbox. ( My mailbox is down a long lane, in case you care) Thumbing through I find an article on R.L.Stine and dig in. I am curious because my son loved those books when he was younger and my grand kids love them now so what gives?
R. L. Stine has a long list of successful books for kids, around 400 titles. He has single handed brought more kids to the written word than any other author and I know this because I see kids reading his work wherever I go. His books may not be your thing but any writer can learn from his work.
I just read Deep Trouble from front to back along with re-reading the article about him in Writer's Digest and I have come to this conclusion. You can learn about writing by reading R. L. Stine. And if you dream of becoming a children's writer, you can learn even more.
This is what I learned.
- R. L. Stine has exceptional titles to his books. The title is his inspiration and it is what hooks the reader
- He outlines. Writers who outline and then go back to fill in the details have a solid story every time.
- He uses a common emotion to hook the reader, he uses fear among other emotions. Courage, acceptance, and love are woven through most of his stories as well.
- He uses a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. Cliffhangers keep the reader turning the page, and don't we all want that when we read. We should strive for that for our readers when we write.
- The words he puts on paper are the exact words needed to tell the story. He is not wordy, doesn't have extra descriptions, and puts the specific nouns and verbs necessary to make the writing clear. Choosing the right words make the reader want to keep reading.
- He creates realistic characters. Don't make your characters too perfect, give them a flaw and the reader will relate to the character easier than having the perfect kiddo. The readers are not perfect so why would they want to read about perfect kids.
- R.L. Stine leaves the adults in the background. Kids love that. The child in the story is the active character with the problem and who can solve the problem without adult interventions for the most part. The kid solves it. Perfect. Children's writers take note.
As for the book review: Deep Trouble is part fantasy ( mermaids), mystery ( missing mermaid), scary ( deep sea adventure including a sea monster), and suspense ( is there really a sea monster, how about mermaids, and how does he think this stuff up) all rolled into a great book for kids that I actually couldn't put down. I see why kids love it, now if I could only write the same way. Next up for me, reading Don't Go To Sleep and whatever R. L. Stine can teach me from this one.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Joining me today is Camille Matthews, author of Quincy Moves to the Desert. This is a children’s book geared toward ages 5-9. It is always fun to hear about other writers and about their inspiration.
Thank you for joining us today, Camille. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Lexington, KY. I am a life long equestrian and it is not surprising that I write about horses. I have also been a clinical social worker and psychotherapist for many years and am certified to provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. The real Quincy is now a 20 year old Quarterhorse who is a therapy horse in my program. We live in Reading PA.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I loved writing as a child and teen, but I changed directions in college and grad school and became a clinical social worker. I have done a good bit of technical writing in my professional role but never from a creative perspective. About 8 years ago I had the idea for the Quincy the Horse Books and it grew into a series of 4 books. The first two, Quincy Finds A New Home and Quincy Moves to the Desert have been published.
Why did you decide to write for children?
Quincy is a real horse and the stories were inspired by adventures he had early in his life. They are reminiscent of everyday challenges that children face. I sensed that Quincy was a character they would relate to and bond with. Another factor was that I began to write the books during a period when I was taking care of my elderly mother who was ill, and I was more in touch with memories of my own childhood.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
I would say it is different. The two main differences are that there are fewer words and there are pictures. At times writing the text is like writing poetry where every word has to count and there is a rhythm. I specifically wanted to create a picture book because my goal was not just to tell the story but to create a world that children could enter and experience. I believe the melodic style and the vibrant artwork are what make the books special.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
My work as a therapist has given me a lot of insight into what children feel and need, and I have always had a good rapport with them. I like the feeling that I am providing them with a role model in Quincy’s adventures. Quincy is an observer of the world around him. He tries to solve problems by struggling to get outside of his comfort zone and learn new things. He is able to do this because he has a mentor in Beau, an old horse who is his best friend. He is also motivated and comforted by his love for his owner. I hope to convey that it is ok to have feelings and to ask for help with problems because I think this is an incredibly important coping skill for children to have.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Quincy Moves to the Desert is the second book in the Quincy the Horse series. In this story Quincy goes on a BIG TRIP. He has doubts about the journey at first but his trusted friend, Beau, explains that in the West they will find “Trails as far as a horse can see.” Before he knows it, Quincy is soaking up the sights. He discovers different parts of the US and all the jobs horses do in different places. Quincy even begins to dream about his own possibilities and wonder what kind of horse he is and what job he will find in the desert. It is a story of self-discovery.
What inspired you to write it?
In 1998 I made a life-changing move to New Mexico from upstate New York where I had lived for many years. The real Quincy made that move with me. Those events gave me the initial idea. At first it was more of a travel story. In the middle of my writing the story, Quincy began to dream about his own possibilities and the issue of self-discovery became more central. As with many authors, I find that characters have minds of their own.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many independent bookstores. The Quincy the Horse Books are also in public libraries. If a library does not have it, I hope readers will ask the librarian to order it.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Our website http://www.quincythehorse.com/ has lots of information about the two books in the series and pictures of selected illustrations. It is also possible to order a copy on the website. Kids can even meet the real Quincy on the Kids’ Page.
I have a blog called Pathfinder Pursuits and it is a good place to see all the things I am interested in and learn more about me. The address is Pathfinderpursuits.wordpress.com and I always love new subscribers.
What is up next for you?
The third and fourth books in the series are in the pipe line. The third book in the series is called Quincy and Buck. It is about Quincy’s fear of trail riding alone in the desert. Beau advises him to get out there anyway and practice not being afraid. He has the idea of following in the footsteps of Buck, an experienced trail horse. Unfortunately Buck does not like Quincy and turns out to be a bully as well.
Do you have anything else to add?
I have a creative writing project called Build A Book that involves 2nd and 3rd graders joining into writer/illustrator teams and writing, illustrating and designing their own children’s picture book. Teachers like it because it involves the use of language arts, fines arts and computer resources and collaboration among the classroom teachers and specialists. If a classroom teacher decides to use it, I can often come and begin the project with a reading of my books. A more detailed description is available on the website and I can be reached through the website contact if there are any questions.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Camille. We wish you much success.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
First, note that this is not easy. Just like writing for children is not easy simply because it takes fewer words, likewise greeting cards are not easier to write because they have fewer words. Unless you are a gifted writer that doesn't need to hone your writing skills, writing for a greeting card company can be challenging.
Writing must be tight when writing greeting cards. Every single word must be just the right word. Authors of this type of work must learn to write each and every card as if it were to one special person while at the same time making that card appeal to a mass market.
Research your markets and write to a specific target audience. These are important skills to learn. What you may put on a card for an adult may be totally inappropriate for a child even if both are for a birthday. One company may accept funny verses and another may only take serious prose. Research before you write and it will save you time but it will also help you to learn to write for a specific target audience.
Writers must also follow the writer's guidelines for each publisher they have researched. Guidelines are specific for word count, subject, and voice just like any book or magazine publisher. If you don't follow the guidelines for a particular company it is likely that your work won't be accepted.
Guidelines will not only spell out voice, subject matter, and word count, the publisher will ask for a specific format for each verse. Some will accept several on a typed page while others will want one verse to one 3 x 5 card. Some guidelines will specify if you can send 1, 5, or 10 sample verses and some may want 20. Read and follow the guidelines to the tee if you want your work reviewed.
Additional education may help to improve your chances of being accepted by a greeting card publisher. Search the Internet for courses on writing greeting cards. Sandra Miller- Louden is a well known writer of greeting cards and has an online presence offering free and tuition courses on the subject. Her first book, Write Well & Sell: Greeting Cards was first published in 1998 but more recent editions are available.
Google the topic and a number of books and resources are available from your home but don't overlook the library and your local book store for other resources that may be available.
With persistence and practice, you can write and publish greeting card verse. It may be just the niche you are looking for as a new or seasoned writer.