After a bit of a hiatus for a pretty awesome traveling stint, I am back at it working on my portfolio and various children’s book concepts. Right before I left on my travels in 2015 I sent out my first batch of illustrator postcards and am finally getting to posting them here. I didn’t know much regarding how to go about doing whole postcard thing, so I googled and found some very useful articles that helped me down this path (links to articles below).
Great Postcard posts from:
If you just google “illustrator postcards,” you’ll get several great links to illustrator websites where they dive into the topic in different ways.
I curated my list using SCBWI’s The Book – which is a great resource for all things children’s book publishing. Make sure you have the most recent copy, so you have the most up-to-date publisher addresses and art director names (even then, still check on that publisher’s website to make sure you have the names right!). If you are an SCBWI member you can access the current issue on their website by going to the Resource Library tab and clicking the first option for: The Book.
I didn’t just pull names and addresses from The Book and send my postcards. I first highlighted those I thought would be a good fit, then went to each of their websites and looked at the types of children’s books they were publishing, to confirm my artwork would be a good fit. Then I honed my list down to about 90 art or creative directors. I also sent a few to art directors or agents I met at SCBWI events and had some kind of personal connection. Be careful as some art directors have specific guidelines for how they accept postcards or art submissions.
I used Gotprint.com for printing this first batch, which turned out great. They are a heavier weight, matte finish and have rounded corners which isn’t much of an upgrade fee. I ordered 150 and sent around 90. I saved the rest to hand out at any event in the future or perhaps to someone I meet on the train! Hey, you never know!
Although I would recommend GotPrint for your postcards, I plan to use Printingforless.com in the future as I have worked with them on other print projects and have a contact that I like working with there. They are great as well, and will send you a sample packet of the different types of paper and printing options they have so you can choose accordingly.
I made sure to include my full name and web address on the front of the card as I have heard many art and creative directors will post these to a board in their office. If they can’t see your name on the front at first glance, then it could be an opportunity missed. Easy enough. Name and web address on the front. On the back I included a black and white drawing to save on double-sided color printing, but also to show that I can create BW artwork. In the future I may not do this. BW isn’t really my strong suit, so I will probably opt to do full color on the back, even with the extra cost. I saved space for a HANDWRITTEN address and a short HANDWRITTEN note. I am a firm believer in doing these sorts of very personal things by hand. I think it DOES make a different. I did have a few card that were returned to me, mostly because of my silly errors – transposing numbers in a zip code or something to that effect. With those that I had some kind of connection with (like I’d met them at an SCBWI event) I would mention that by saying, “It was great to meet you at the Oregon SCBWI Fall retreat. Thank you for taking a moment to view my art. Kindly, Bri Davey” For the others, I wrote something like: “Thank you for taking a moment to view my art. I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Bri Davey”
In the future, I think I’ll try sending an envelope that includes the art postcard, and an additional postcard (self-addressed and stamped) for the art director to send back to me, offering: 1)Any feedback or advice 2) An opportunity to say “Yes, please send me more postcards” 3)An opportunity to say, “Please take me off your mailing list” and 4)A line for their name and company represented.
I’ve always had high hopes for sending out 3-4 batches of postcards per year. That’s never happened, but again, I have high hopes of doing so and will be sending out a late summer (end of August) batch this year (2016) to hopefully kick off a trend of sending more regularly.
I hope this helps with your postcard queries! Good luck!