Try This: Write a Greeting Card

Happy birthday! Although it’s more likely in this digital era that you’ll receive Facebook posts and texts acknowledging your day of birth rather than a hand-written greeting, the average American still receives more than 20 greeting cards each year, contributing to an industry that grosses an estimated $7.5 billion a year, according to the Greeting Card Association.

I venture that’s because there’s something special about giving or receiving the perfect birthday card. You know, the one that fits to a T the personality of the recipient, the birthday card you receive that makes you laugh out loud. But who writes those funny or sentimental messages? Who keeps them fresh?

OatmealStudiosLogoEnter Oatmeal Studios, a humorous greeting card company, and their pool of freelance writers and artists. Do you have what it takes to be a greeting card guru? Dawn Abraham, Editor at Oatmeal Studios tells all . . .

Freelance-Zone: Oatmeal Studios has been around for about 25 years. Can you tell writers a bit about the company?

Dawn Abraham: Actually, Oatmeal Studios has been around for more than 30 years. It started as a family-owned business with a few designs and grew into a large, alternative humorous card company with sales internationally.

FZ: How did you come to be involved with the company? 

DA: I started writing for Oatmeal in 1986 and because I lived nearby, it was a natural progression for me to start working in the company part-time as an assistant editor in 1987; I have been working here since then (with one break when my kids were little)…

FZ : Do you use a lot of freelance writers? 

DA: We have received and bought ideas from hundreds and hundreds of writers over the years and have hundreds of current freelance writers. We always welcome new writers.

FZ: What will help increase a writer’s chance of having their work accepted at Oatmeal Studios?

DA: Send us humorous ideas that work for many people who buy cards today. General and very funny birthday cards that you haven’t seen before (unique, fresh ideas) sell best.

FZ: What don’t you want to see in terms of material?

DA: We don’t use serious poetry or seasonal ideas at this time.  It is always best to send humorous birthday ideas and then see what our specific needs are (which I will let writers know when they send ideas or request guidelines).

FZ: Are there any subjects that you are in particular need of?

DA: We are always in need of humorous birthday ideas.

FZ: Can writers send more than one idea at a time?

DA: Writers can send as many ideas as they like, but 10-25 at a time is a good amount. (You can send as many batches as you like.)

FZ: Any tips for working with Oatmeal Studios?

DA: E-mail me at to request guidelines and I will keep in touch from there.  Writers can ask questions and get answers, tips and feedback along the way.

FZ: Do you pay writers for submissions that you want to use (if so, how much)?

DA: Currently we pay $75 per idea we decide to purchase

FZ: Can you offer writers any advice for writing cards?

DA: Read a lot of humorous cards. Pay attention to what you like and what your family and friends like and buy. Write cards that you would buy for someone you know.

Introductory copy by Erin Dalpini