couldn't hope to express it any better than Richard Rodgers or Oscar
Hammerstein. Since their music and lyrics have provided us with many
stress-free hours through the years, we decided "getting to know
you" would be a welcome, interesting chance to feature YOU... the
Greeting Card Writing Dot Com and sandralouden.com FEATURES:
Prevade of Robinson Township, PA
SAYS: We're pleased to introduce you to Robin Prevade
of Robinson Township, PA. Robin was one of my students in my
CCAC course here in Pittsburgh. She almost immediately began
selling her greeting card work and so impressed me with her talent,
professionalism and enthusiasm, that I turned to her last year to take
over my class when time and outside duties no longer permitted me to
continue my "live" teaching. If you want to be inspired
and uplifted, read on.
©Greeting Card Writing DOT com/Sandra Louden.com
Welcome To Greeting Card Writing Dot
Com, Robin. Let's begin with some background information.
How and why did you get into the field of writing?
I've always loved to write. In fact, I was in a writing course at
the University of Pittsburgh that required us to keep a journal, at the
time I met my husband Allen. We had gone on a blind date and I
came home that night and wrote in my journal that I had met the man I
was going to marry! Twenty three years and two sons (Tim and Adam)
later, I like to tease him that he had to marry me since I had it in
As far as my interest in greeting card writing, I can remember seeing an
ad in the newspaper over 15 years ago for verse writers at American
Greetings in Ohio. At that time, however, I was a stay-at-home mom
and relocating wasn't a realistic option for our family. I
remember clipping out the ad and thinking that I would write to them to
see if they would accept freelance work, but I never did.
Fast-forward to 2001 when I was browsing through the Community College
of Allegheny County's non-credit course catalog and "Writing
Greeting Cards for Money" jumped out at me. I registered
immediately and totally immersed myself in Sandra's 6 week course.
By the fourth week of the class, I had already received an
"assignment" from a company to greet some artwork for them.
Two submissions from that batch were purchased and became my first two
What do you find particularly
appealing about greeting card writing?
The best part of greeting card writing is that it's "fast and
flexible". By that, I mean you can write whenever the
creative urge strikes, or schedule yourself a certain time period once a
day or once a week to sit down and write greetings. I haven't yet
written in any other genres. Since it took me so long to get
started writing greeting cards, I'm guessing I won't attempt a short
story before 2015!
Tell us a little about your writing
My best time to work is early morning after everyone else has left the
house. I am most alert and organized at this time, so the process
really flows. However, I don't ignore those times when
inspiration strikes. One restless night, I left my bed, went
downstairs on the couch, and placed a little notepad on the coffee
table. Throughout the night, my mind was racing and I was
"writing" in my head, periodically jotting down my thoughts
(without turning on the light)! The next morning, I had about
eight ideas scrawled on little pieces of paper strewn about the floor.
How many cards do you personally send
I probably send close to 40 cards a year. My favorite occasion to
both send and write for is birthdays. When you can go into a store
and pick up the perfect card that seems as though it was written
exclusively for the person who will be receiving it, then the writer has
accomplished her goal. Everyone celebrates a birthday and the
possibilities for humor seem endless. If there's a certain emotion
that an occasion elicits in your mind, most likely there are thousands
of others out there feeling the same who could relate to your verse.
What surprised you the most about this
I am absolutely amazed at how many companies out there produce greeting
cards and at how many places they're sold. From pet stores, to
dollar stores, to convenience stores, you can pick up a card almost
anywhere you shop. I, too, was fooled into believing that only the
"big name" companies produced all the cards in the country.
Now when I see a rack of cards, I pick up each one of them and take it
in. It's a good mental exercise and a great way to know what's
being sold in today's market.
What are some occasions that you'd
like to see out there that are currently hard to find?
As the mother of two teenage sons, I know that it's difficult to find
cards for them. There are the usual cards about turning 16 and
getting your driver's license, but that leaves the rest of the teen
years overlooked. Unlike a teenage girl, you can't just pick up a
card with a puppy, flowers or teddy bear and still get away with it.
I think there's also an untapped market for those people who influence
our growing children, such as coaches or other parent volunteers in
sports, music, scouting, etc. We live in a generation where our
children run from one activity to another. When it is time to
acknowledge these mentors, it's often hard to find anything but a
generic thank you card.
Walk us through the creative process
when you receive an assignment for greeting cards.
When writing greeting cards, you never feel as though you are
"working" in the traditional sense of the word. When I
get an assignment from an editor, I just can't wait to tear it open and
go through the pictures over and over again. Each time I go back
to them, I "see" them differently and generally a new angle
will emerge. My friends and family have been very supportive of my
venture. When you tell people you write greeting card verse, they
want to ask you a lot of questions about it. It's something
everyone can relate to since we all send and receive cards to mark the
occasions of our lives.
What were the exact first steps you
took when you began writing cards?
After taking my very first class with Sandra, I went home and read
through the entire book. [Write Well & Sell: Greeting Cards].
She suggested that by our third class we should have sent for guidelines
to three different companies. Not me! I was so excited about
the prospects that I sent for guidelines to as many companies as I
could. Once the guidelines came back, I focused on those companies
I felt could give me the most immediate feedback. One had sent an
exercise to caption their photos and drawings and I worked on those
first. Another had referred me to their website and said to submit
a different caption for three of their existing cards on the site.
As a result, both of these companies then contacted me (one by phone,
one via mail) and sent me an assignment. I made sales to both of
them and now continue to receive regular assignments.
Where do you think you'll be in the
writing life in five years?
It's hard to see where my writing will take me in five years. At
this time, writing greeting cards fits nicely into my life because it is
so time efficient and doesn't require a set number of hours per week.
I work part-time and do volunteer work at my son's high school, and
greeting card writing allows me the time to do this. I'd also like
to go on Jeopardy some day just to be introduced as "A greeting
card writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!"
What advice would you give a new
writer who would like to break into this field?
My best advice for new writers is simply to give it a try. You'll
never know if you can succeed in the business unless you send in your
ideas. Also, you must be disciplined, organized and able to not
take rejection personally. When you sell that first idea, you'll
be on cloud nine!