Are post cards still a thing?
Hi everyone! I’m just wondering if anyone has insight on how to promote to art directors and editors in these times. When quarantine first started I feel like we were told not to send postcards because no one was there. So what do we do instead? Thanks!
burvantill Moderator last edited by
When I was posting to agents and reps last week a couple of them had on their submission page to not send anything by snail mail because they would refuse it.
I'm wondering if this is a turning point. On Social media it seems like the art directors and everybody that you would normally submit to say they still like postcards but when their companies website tells you not to send them because they would be refused do you send them anyway and risk that cost?
Things to ponder.
@burvantill so then do you just submit to the publisher's website?
burvantill Moderator last edited by
@carlianne That's what I did. I know I'm the past preCOVID that the publisher site said to not send physical submissions. But I think the statement has new meaning now. I'm not sure what right or wrong. We should pose the question on Twitter to the art directors out there. Lol
@burvantill I tried going to a few publisher sites and didn't even see a place for submissions. Were you sending it to publishers or agents? And hey if you can make sense of the twitter land please let me know lol
danielerossi last edited by
You can always ask them directly Use the fact that you’re a student/new to the profession to your advantage and do some networking. Maybe even an informational interview to ask about their needs, etc. Only ask for 20 minutes of their time and reciprocate afterwards. The advantage of doing this is they get to know you on a more personal level than yet-another-illustrator-in-social-media-land.
Just keep in mind that the goal of informational interviews is not to get a job (that’s the stretch goal) but to build your network so those in hiring positions can think of you when a job comes up.
carlianne last edited by carlianne
@danielerossi do you reach out to them on twitter or LinkedIn or find their emails?
xin li last edited by xin li
My impression from attending SCBWI virtual conference 2 times, and hearing what the editors +ADs said in panels:
- Post card is still a thing, but not for everyone.
- Email is a big thing, but not for everyone either.
- Social media is a big thing, but not for everyone either.
- Pandemic is still going strong sadly, otherwise, face-to-face at conferences or book fairs is still the most effective way to connect with publishers.
Here is a bit of my experience from last 1,5 years:
After signed with my first agent, I had no problem getting work, but having a huge trouble of getting work that I want to do. I had a few conversations about this with my first agent, and things did not change much.
So I decided to change the strategy. I switched to a literary agent, and start writing my own PB stories in the last 6 months. I kept a list of publishers that publish books I love, and I try to track down who are the editors and designers behind the book. I googled the editors and ADs, making attempt to track them down on IG, and followed them. Some of them followed back which was very nice. I did that on Twitter as well, but most of the time, I do not have the energy to be active on twitter at all.
Tracking editors down on social media is a bit easier than tracking down emails in my experience. If you do build up an email list for your favourite publisher/editor/AD, email them every 4-6 months is probably not a bad idea. I talked with a couple of editors and ADs - in general, they are fine with illustrators sending them email directly. They are happy to get an update every couple of month or so, as long as you have updated your portfolio since last time you write to them. If you have an agent, you could discuss the promotion strategy with her/him. I realised different agents work so differently.
My lesson learned from the last the 1,5 years of working full time is that I need to be very focused on who to show my work to. It takes a lot of my energy to reach out, I might as well do my research to figure out who I am reaching out to.
If you are in the mode of getting a good agent, email is the way to go - I do not think post card is very efficient for that purpose. Seeking agent is a very different thing than connecting with publishers. Normally, agents makes decisions on rep you or not shortly when they see your work. There is no value for them to keep your post card on the wall. But with editors or ADs, they might reach out to you years after they have seen your work, because they are waiting for a book that you will be a good fit. Post card would be a good physical reminder (for some people).
Hope this make some sense.
jdeebella last edited by
Hi, thank you so much for sharing this! I am in between about my day 9 - 18 job, full time mothering and my dream about get the leap to a full time illustrator thing... but, you know it’s hard. Your words helps a lot to switch mindset and keep going on the building a portfolio and never resigning
Thank you. ️
danielerossi last edited by
@carlianne I don’t but only because I’m not in the children’s books market nor scoping out for art directors I’m an indie cartoonist. I applied what I know about professional networking for my day job to what you’re looking for which @xin-li did an excellent job at providing her example of how she does this. Networking is an ongoing process but we’ll worth it.
Matthew Oberdier last edited by
@xin-li do you recommend trying to find an agent if you haven't done any books yet? I'm reading Will Terry's book and he says most agents won't want to represent you if you're just starting out. Also, what kind of things would they ask you to draw that you didn't want to?
xin li last edited by
@Matthew-Oberdier hmmm... I do not have a straight forward answer to your questions. The best I can say is it depends on your personality and what you want to do. I do not have a short answer, but here is a long one... ...
I did not have the "piles of rejections from agents" story personally, I got an offer of representation 2 hours after I sent out my first batch of email to agents. But I waited for almost 2 years before I reached out to anyone. I remember many SVS fellow artists had been telling me that I was ready to reach out, but I still waited for a long time. Was it good to wait? well, the good thing is that I did not experience the desperation of landing an agent. And the down side? I could have gotten an agent and kick started my career a year earlier.
Some artists got very discouraged from the agent seeking experience, to the point they almost quit making art. But other artists manage to use agent rejection as a form of feedback, and improving their portfolio and eventually start their career. It all depends on your personality, and what works for you.
I think Will´s statement is probably true. But the question is how do you define "Starting out"? I know a few artists who has not worked on a book yet and got representations. But all of them have good understanding on foundation of art. So to me it is not a surprise that they got representations. Essentially, from an agent point of view, the most important question they want to figure out when looking at your work is "am I able to sell the work of this artist?". If the answer for them is probably yes, then there is a good chance they will get back to you. Your CV, your past experience and everything else is secondary. Also sometimes, not getting a rep from an agent has nothing to do with your work, but with the agent´s capacity, taste, her existing artists list, and her own network... (the list goes on here).
Regarding the projects I was not interested:
There are so many factors - Subject matter, size of the book advance, or methods of payment (I did not like flat-fee book project for example), and schedule (I was asked to do a book in 2 months several times when I was with an artist agency). The reality I have experienced was quite different from what I heard from other artists. I am guessing I have been around in the forums with most of the artists are US based. My previous agent was based in the UK, and I think the market is a bit different, especially in terms of the book advance and the schedule of producing a book.
MirkaH last edited by
@Matthew-Oberdier I know of several illustrators who have gotten agents without having books out. Its really hard to get a book deal without an agent, so when you have a strong portfolio, I would start submitting to agents, without waiting for that elusive first book deal. I'm my own case in point- got an agent without a book deal first. I'd say if anything what helps sway a literary agent to represent you is if you are able to write your own stories. Publishers really like to work with author-illustrators, because it cuts down a lot of communication and time, and you are one person with a clear vision instead of two who might not agree. So if you can both write and illustrate, the agent will be more interested in representing you because it will be easier for them to get you work.
keithryanstudio last edited by
@MirkaH good point. I hadn't thought of it that way