I have been very busy! I got these beautiful Promo Postcards printed through MOO.com and since they were having a sale I got a lot more than I usually get. Usually I print 100 but this time, since it was so cheap, I got 250. It was a good motivation for me to collect more addresses to send my postcards to and expand my mailing list.
I have been sending postcards since I was still in college. Possibly my first postcards were just thrown out, they were not as good as I am now, but I am okay with that, for many reasons: first of all, it shows progress, I like looking back and seeing how much I have improved and possibly some of those recipients, if they remember my name at all, will see the progress too and see that I am still working really hard to improve, everyday and they can expect even better things from me in the future so they should “snatch” me now while I am still available (ha ha!); second, I think that even if they only looked at my card for a fleeting moment, name recognition goes some way and maybe next time they will stop and look at my card for a second longer while thinking “where did I see this name before?”; lastly it is a bit of a lottery, so every postcard is sort of like buying an extra ticket, which increases, even if just slightly, your odds of getting picked, right?
Anyway, I thought I would share how I find/collect addresses because maybe it would be useful for other fellow illustrators. I have a core list of addresses that I purchased from Agency Access. I am not saying you have to do this, I did this to save time and to have updated art director names for the larger publishers. It is my impression that people move jobs A LOT in those companies and it is easy to have out of date names and roles. Also, since those are LARGE companies I think having the postcards addressed directly to a specific person gives you a better chance to be out of the slush pile. I am sure you could collect the same information yourself and also that if your art is good enough it will be seen even if you just address it generically, but I wanted to improve my odds a bit and so I thought the investement worthwile.
That list only contains some main publishers however. Sometimes it has 10 different names for the same company, and I am not going to send 10 postcards to one publisher, I would rather spread and cover as many companies as possible. For this reason, I add to that list my own research. Particularly, I like to look for small independent publishers. The reason is simple: as an emerging illustrator that is not represented by an agent I feel like I have a better chance with a small publisher. The problem is that there are a TON of small publishers but not central directory of all their names that I have found. So here is what I have done: I started from one local small publisher I knew and went on their website. I saw that this company listed a number of independent publisher awards it had won and associations that it was part of. I looked up the awards and went through the list of winners and finalists for the last two or three years and voila! I collected a number of names of independent publishers! All I had to do then was google those names, find their website and look through their submissions policies. Many more independent publishers are open to submissions than larger publishers are, some only accept email submissions, some only snail mail, some both. I definitely would recommend this approach to other emerging illustrators like me.
Do you have any other suggestions on who to send your promo postcards to? I would love to hear in the comments, I still have quite a few postcards that need to be addressed!