Sandra Miller-Louden's

Greeting Card Writing Dot Com




We 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 all about you" would be a welcome, interesting chance to feature YOU... the creative force

This month, Greeting Card Writing Dot Com and FEATURES:

Robin Prevade

Robin 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.

2003 ©Greeting Card Writing DOT com/Sandra

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 writing!

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 sales!

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 day.

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 each year?

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 field?

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!



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