Submitting Postcards to Publishers

  • I am putting together my mailing list to send to book publishers to try get some freelance work. I've watched the "how to get freelance work" video (need another 2 or 3 more watches) and I apologise if it was already me tioned and I missed it, but I have a few questions before I send my postcards off for printing:

    1. If a publisher states they don't accept unsolicited ms (manuscripts) does that also apply to illustrator postcards? Would you just send it anyway on the off chance anyway?

    2. If they accept tear sheets should I avoid sending a postcard with a single image and make a seperate version with 3 or 4 images on? In addition, if they accept samples, should I look at sending them more than 1 postcard of different styles?

    3. Does anyone have any printing companies they prefer over the ones stated in the video? I am living in Japan at the moment, so I would need to have the postcard posted directly from the printer.

    4. Should I only target 1 employee at a company? If there are 5+ editors how do you choose?

    Also if anyone has any advice they wish they known before seeking out freelance work then it would be most appreciated 😃

  • Well, I just sent out a mailing of postcards so if I can be of any help I'll do my best. I did my postcard printing through Vistaprint. Decent quality for the price, but I don't know if they post directly. I mailed mine myself, so I'm afraid I'll be of no help with that part.
    If you are a member of SCBWI, then you have access to The Book, which lists publishers and their submission guidelines and whether or not they'll take art samples. I checked out websites too to see if I thought my illustration style would be a good fit. While they include names of art directors, because positions change I addressed mine to "Art Director" unless they specifically asked for something else (one requested "Art Coordinator).
    Best of luck! Your work is bright and fun. Did you ever finish the illustration with the lady walking down the road with the fox and the deer? If so I missed it - I'd love to see the finished piece.

  • These are great questions. I would love to know the answers as well.

  • @Gary-Wilkinson Hi Gary!

    1. Definitely send the postcards even to those who are not open to unsolicited mss. That rarely applies to illustrators and postcards are easy to save or discard.

    2. I would recommend sending strong single images and doing frequent mailings (at least quarterly). If the art grabs them they will go to your website to see more. Make sure you have your contact info and website on the postcard!

    3. I wish I had a printer to recommend but I'm searching for one myself. I used Vistaprint for my last postcards but was disappointed in the reduction in quality. I'd used them previously with good results but the paper quality and print quality were no where near as good as previous orders.

    4. Send to art directors and editors. Try to do a little research re: multiple eds. Target those that would be interested in your style. If your work is more suited to early grade or picture books then your postcard and postage might be wasted on YA editors. An AD once told me that postcards sometimes get passed around or given to other editors that might be interested.

    I think the two most important things I've learned are to keep getting your work in front of people and always be working on new work. Not easy to do!

    Hope that helps a little :O)

    Love your work, by the way! Good luck!

  • SVS OG

    I use Modern Postcard. A bit more expensive, but a nice product and they will mail the cards for you. They even check your addresses before sending to get rid of duds. You’ll still get some returned but that’s just how the game goes. 😊

    Most publishers are open to illustrator postcards even if they are closed to manuscript submissions.

    If you know the name of the editor/art director you want to send to that is best, but if you want to send to a publishing house and can’t find he right name you can put “ART DIRECTOR” or “EDITOR” in the name space and it might find the right person that way. 😊

  • I agree with previous answers. As for printer... I live in Russia and in the begining of my postcard campaign I was also thinking about a printer somewhere in the US with a post service. But then I decided to print them here in Moscow and post them myself. Oh, boy... I spent 2 days signing my 100 poscards and 1 day more putting stamps!)))) It was so dull and boring... But at least I had the whole control of my postcards and the quality was exellent (I even chose special art stamps that perfectly fit in my backside design). I think next time I'll do it myself again.

  • @margarita-levina
    Maybe you can put on some movies next time, to help with the boredom!

  • Thank you for everyone's input and replies, it has been really useful.

    @RHirsch I'm not a member of SCBWI as I currently live in Japan and it seems there is little to no community here for SCBWI members. I bought the 2018 ilustrator's market book that has a whole list of publishers and what they are looking for, but a large majority were stating that they don't receive unsolicited work or they require inquiries through agents only. Touched up a few parts of the fox and deer illustration, but it's on the back-burner whilst I get other illustrations for the book closer to completion. I also got sidetracked with doing a bunch of new illustrations for my portfolio.


    1. I was thinking along the same lines.

    2. If after sending your initial batch of postcards you were to receive very little interest, what image would you aim to send for your next batch of cards? Would you try to do something very different from the first or try as be consistent in your style as possible?

    3. I have used vistaprint for t-shirt printing in the past and it was quite cheap and seemingly fair quality. Never tried postcards with them, but I would imagine it's not going to be something amazing based on the price.

    4.Thanks, I don't want to make it feel like I am spamming a publisher with multiple copies of a postcard to different editors, but I guess I could do different images aimed at what that specific editor is interested in, if possible.
    I appreciate you taking the time to give me your answers and i'm glad you like my work 😃

    @Sarah-LuAnn Thanks, I'll check them out. Would you say to send it to publishers who also state that they only receive inquiries from agents. I guess it's only the cost of a postcard, so it's not a big deal if they chuck it away anyhow right....

    @Margarita-Levina I was thinking to do the same to have more control over it, but it seems like a lot of work writing or printing each address and I would have thought the cost of sending a postcard internationally would add to the cost considerably when sending 100+ postcards.

  • Hi @Gary-Wilkinson

    I'd strongly recommend sticking with the style in which you most want to work. How awful would it be to be hired to use a style that wasn't your best for an 18 month project! Those months would seem like an eternity and you'd hate yourself for every second of it!

    From what I've heard from others it may take up to four rounds of postcard mailings to get any real response. ADs and Eds may be holding on to your card until something comes up for which you're a good match. I've also heard many people say it just takes time and repetition to sear an artist's name into memories. The more often you put new work in front of them the better!

  • @gary-wilkinson yes, in this case it really costs more. I spent almost 90$ only on stamps(( don't know about your prices in Japan though.

    @miriam Actually, I was watching some series last time, but it still wasn't very exiting process)))

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