Ben J Hutchison
Anyone have a good number for sending out postcards? In @Lee-White s making money in illustration class 2, he mentioned sending out 1400 postcards and the whittling it down to 750 in his first year. Doing the math, lets say I get 1000 post cards and send them out every 2 months for a year. That's around $2640 (1000 Vistaprint 4x6 postcards about $100 + 1000 .34 cent stamps) for the year. That is a crazy number I never expected to be so high (for the # of postcards sent or cost of advertising)! I thought I was doing my due diligence with 100! I'd like to hear anyone else who has started sending out mailers and how many you are sending out. Here are my two newest mailers that I think I need to order many more of. Thanks!
@Ben-J-Hutchison I think video 15 and 16 of the business half of the "illustrating children 's books" class talks about this - they talk about targeted vs mass mailing in 16 I think - and they talk to Stephen Fraser in 15 and he talks a bit about receiving postcards - good videos to watch (even if I'm wrong :)
Need to watch that class....
However, the maths is right - sending postcards is a notable expense (much more in Europe, where sending a postcard is between 0.7 and 1.2 USD, depending how many borders you cross)...Still much less than traditional advertising on annuals. And more than using e-mail of course.....but as everybody says, a postcard cannot NOT be seen.
The most challenging aspect of it, however, is not the cost, it is putting together a sensible mailing list. You can buy mass-mailing lists, but they cost a lot of money. I have decided to put one together myself, and I am working on it since many months...it cost a disproportionate amount of time. You can get name of art directors all right, but tracking down their physical address is very time-consuming, Even more time is needed to find out whether the type of illustration they commission is relevant for you. Currently I am between 10 and 15 minutes per name/address. You can make the maths there too ;-)
I have now about 90 vetted addresses of European publishers - did not even start with UK and USA yet. And I am not finished with Europe either. I am aiming at 100-200 before sending out the first batch. And then there is all the work of mail-merging and printing the addresses, etc...The time-expense is really becoming a hindrance for me more than any monetary cost - I definitely need to give more priority to this task, or hire somebody to do it, like I think every time I start on it again....
As for printing, I have decided not to print more than 200 at a time. As I keep building my portfolio, I do not want to be sending out old work just because I have a printed batch. Also, I have done 3 test prints already - fighting with color-consistency, layout mishaps and paper quality. Definitely print postcards on heavy stock (300 g/sqm would be the European weight), otherwise they look like flyers...
@smceccarelli I thought there was mention of SCBWI membership giving you access to an up to date mailing list in one of the videos..... I think # 16 - the down side was that it is the same list that everyone else has - that seem fine to me though
@Kevin-Longueil Yes, SCWBI gives you an awesome resource of ADs with addresses. You can take it as is and use it (which I will probably end up doing for lack of time), but my aspiration would still be to check out each of the houses and see what exactly are they publishing - probably will never manage for lack of time.
And you still need to physically copy-paste those records into a format you can print adress labels from...Whichever way, there is a lot of admin-type work to be done, which I thoroughly hate (which is probably why it takes me so much time and effort...).
Ben J Hutchison
@Kevin-Longueil and @smceccarelli I agree that building the list is hard. I have a list of 100 I sent out last year and only 7-8 got returned so I thought that was pretty good. I lucked out and found a list online that I pulled from but even that was a list of 200 people from who knows when. I haven't made a list of agents but I never really hear much about that. I haven't joined SCBWI yet so I don't know about their list, but I am thinking about trying out that agency access for the 3 day trial period and just cram? I think its hard to keep up with who is where. Some of the names I got back with my last mailer are still working in the industry but they've moved on to other places.
As for printing and sending, I ended up putting my list into an excel spreadsheet and then printed out labels using some sort of mailer function that is somewhere in excel or word. I googled it and was able to follow along with someone. I've used vista print for both of my runs and have liked the quality. But I kind of freaked out when I ordered 100 and then Lee said 1400! but if thats what you have to do that is what you have to do....
I'm getting ready to do this myself. The mailing list does seem to be the hardest part of it. I'm not sure where I'm going to get my cards printed yet. I definitely want to see a printed sample before ordering though. I'll have to look on the scbwi website for that list somehow I missed that.
Unfortunately advertising is an expensive part of doing business. I think I spent around $8000 in the first year on postcards (that's an estimate). Postage being the biggest expense. Still, in an age where everyone wants to send an emailer because it's free, you will stand out if you send tangible promos like postcards, etc.
The expense is the other reason you need to be DAMN SURE YOU ARE READY. If you aren't already getting lots of attention for you work, it might be too early. Signs you are ready are:
- you are winning contests
- people are sharing your work A LOT on social media
- you are being asked for interviews, shows, etc
- you are being asked to do actual work for clients
- clients are recommending you to other clients
- your instructors are saying that you are ready and encouraging you to start advertising.
If these things aren't happening, you may want to wait until they are. This is exactly what we are going to be going over in the portfolio class that starts in January.
This post is deleted!