Welcome to a new post belonging to "The person behind the letter-writer". Penpalling & Letters today's guest is the Sandbook Team from Sandbook: Penpals and Swappers Site. Our guests will reveal facts, unknown until now, from Sandbook; they will also let us know about a surprise which is taking place at their website at the moment, and of course, directed to all the penpallers all over the world!
- Hello Sandbook Team! Welcome to Penpalling & Letters! Thanks for visiting us and for participating in The person behind the letter-writer! We are really looking forward to know more about the website and about what you are preparing right now!
Hello to everybody! We are very happy to be here sharing with all of you our projects in Sandbook!
- Could you tell us when did Sandbook Penpals and Swappers Site get started?
Sandbook Penpals and Swappers Site is online and running since November, 11th 2008 when we established its name and started building our community. Over the years, we managed to apply a lot of new features and sections to our website in response to our users opinions and suggestions. That is how SandbookNet evolved to the community that it is today. Thank you all for the support! We hope that we can continue to connect people and ideas throughout the world.
- What was the reason to start the website?
My name is Raia and I have been penpalling ever since I started learning English, which was more than fifteen years ago. Penpalling has been a vital part of my life and have helped me through some really hard times in my life as well. It helped me make sense of my crushes, my High School Drama and, of course, it has helped me throughout my life. Moreover, penpalling has allowed me to visit distant parts of the world on the expense of a letter. I have always tried to help my penpals connect with other penpals of mine by passing their addresses on. My hobby naturally became a website where people can post ads and connect with pen pals around the globe.
- I am really curious to know why you named it "Sandbook". Could you explain why did you choose this name?
Oh, it was quite hard to think about a name for a Penpalling and Swapping Website. Initially, I was trying to come up with a name that has the word "penpal" in the name, but they were all taken. I was around a swimming-pool with my friends, when we started pitching ideas about its name. There were some really funny names for websites, but eventually we all came up to the "message in a bottle" idea. We wanted to incorporate that old fashioned but yet romantic touch to the name of our website. Since most of our ideas were sadly taken, we decided to craft our own unique name. We came up with Sandbook as a way to incorporate that unique rush that you get when you discover the content of a letter. Of course, "sand" came from the original "message in the bottle – seaside idea" and of course the "book" is in the name to represent the start of an unique friendship.
- Could you tell us who is behind Sandbook, the people who form the Sandbook Team and the function/work each member of the team holds?
It might come out as a surprise for most, but the people behind SandbookNet aren't too many. The SandbookNet Team consists of two equally important parts: our technical support team and the writers in our penpal magazine. In fact, our technical support team is headed by our designer Aspeia from Gaya Designs, our IT go to guy, Jason, and me, Raia, as chief editor. Unlike any other website for penpals and FB swaps, we give anyone the opportunity to become a vital part of our team. I want to take a moment to thank our constant Sandbook Penpal Magazine writers – Rach Gee from Glass Completely Empty Productions (who has this big penpal movie project), Samantha Stroy with her Pages "Samantha’s Thoughts", Paula Milburn "UNESCO" series and last but not least Bea from Penpalling and Letters. Thank you all for the support, ideas and constant hard work!
- Besides the typical penpal and swapper ads section that many penpal sites present, which other sections can we find when visiting Sandbook?
SandbookNet started as a website purely for online ads for penpals and swappers. Over time, we expanded the ads and divided them into more detailed sections so that all the ads may have some structure. Of course, that allowed a really easier navigation through the ads that are placed on our website. Couple of months later, we started running the "PenPal of the Month" Contest and, steadily, as we gained more popularity we started thinking about other sections that might interest a penpal who is on SandbookNet. That is how we came up with the "Birthday Twin" section. Ever since I started penpalling I have always wanted to penpal with someone born on my date. For over fifteen years of active penpalling I couldn't actually make my dream come true. So this was basically my attempt to find my birthday twin penpal and a lot of people joined the project. We have over one hundred people on our birthday twin list. Eventually, we added the "FB" (Friendship Books) section in the website. It is all about those FB's that we swap in the snail mail. We have included some free templates for FB's, label bags and address labels, and information about how FB's are played.
In order to celebrate SandbookNet's second birthday we came up with, yet, another project: A free digital penpal magazine which first issue was released on November, 11th 2010. It is a monthly magazine that is released in pdf format and that you can download from our website. Its focus is on correspondence, penpalling experience and the lifestyle that a penpal has. Each issue has unique penpalling stories, games and articles that we strongly feel will interest most of the penpals. We are always searching for guest writers or team writers, so contact us if you would like to become one. We are always on the lookout for new and interesting stories.
As the SandbookNet Penpal Magazine developed, we developed the "Traveling Notebook" Project and, of course, sections on our website. The "Pen Pal Interviews Section" followed. We are really excited about all of our projects and we take pride in being able to connect penpals, not only through website ads, but also through all the games that we have going on on our website!
- Could you tell us about some of the projects you are running at the moment?
There are several projects/games on our website at the moment. We have our monthly contest "PenPal of the Month", where you can nominate a friend. We basically want to know what makes that friend your best friend and why you should think that your friend deserves to win the contest. Obviously, the better you argue your case, the greater the chance that you will be selected as the winners. Actually, when the nomination is selected as the winning one, we contact both the nominator and the nominee with the good news as both of them are winning awards that are shipped via snail mail. You can check all the rules and instructions for it at: "PenPal of the Month Contest".
Another project that we have are the "Penpal Interviews". It is a short inquiry about your penpalling experiences and it helps to present the penpal and his/her country. You can leave your contact information with your answers to the interview so you can find new penpals really easily. Moreover, you can give your interview a personal touch by submitting photos of your handwriting, of you and your friends/country. The Penpal Interviews are a way to present people who are searching for penpals and to let them find penpals easily. The interviews are printed in our penpal magazine as well as included in our website: "Penpal Interviews in Sandbook".
I always think about our "Birthday Twins" project with great excitement. It helps connecting penpals from around the world who are born on the same date and, in some cases, even the same year! How cool would it be to have a penpal who would never forget your birthday? You can browse the section on our website and check if there is a birthday twin already waiting for you. To participate you will need to send us your information so we can upload it on our website.
Yet, another project that we have going on right now are the "Travelling Notebooks". They are basically notebooks that are passed in a specific order that is predetermined as the people sign up for the real travelling notebooks. You will receive the notebook in your mail and you will have to decorate some pages on a theme you want – it might be your life, your country or town, your favourite things/hobbies, etc. You will be asked to snap photos of your entry in the notebook so that we will have a back up "notebook" in case the real one gets lost in the mail. If you are not really willing to wait for the real travelling notebook to arrive, you can always sign up for the "Travelling sheets". They are basically A5 sized sheets that you decorate as if they were part of the travelling notebook, but you will send it to us via mail so that we can upload them in a "virtual" travelling notebook. If that sounds interesting, please visit our "Travelling Notebook"section.
The latest project of ours is our Mega Giveaway, where you can win three super cool awards. It ends on July 10th, 2011 so hurry up and check it out! You could be our winner!!!
- Can penpals and swappers participate or collaborate with you in any of the projects actively?
Yes, absolutely! We are always looking forward to new authors, topics and ideas for our penpal magazine and of course for the website. So anyone who enjoys penpalling and has a story that he/she wants to share with our friends is more than welcome to contact us. You can email us at: info[at]sandbook[dot]net or directly email me at: raiasandbook[at]gmail[dot]com.
- Would you like to tell us which special feature are you running at the moment in Sandbook?
We try to bring out contests and games for penpals in our website. Right now, we have this huge Sandbook Megagiveaway that is going on until July 10th, 2011. The awards are three and are a mega stationery set, a notebook and, of course, a set of used stamps for collectors. You can choose to play for one or for all. And just as any giveaway you can participate in it with several entries – via a comment on our website, by twitting or facebooking about the giveaway (just be sure to tag us so we can count the entry). All the rules of the contest are placed on "Sandbook Net Penpals and Swappers Site" where you can check them out and participate.
Good luck everyone in the Sandbook Megagiveaway and hopefully you had a great time getting to know the team behind Sandbook and their activity in detail!
Thanks a lot for participating in The person behind the letter-writer! I always enjoy working together with guests and interact exchanging ideas and thoughts on penpalling. You know you are always welcome to Penpalling & Letters whenever you wish to visit us again!
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