I start with an amazingly helpful book called..."The Book" by SCBWI.org. what a great name- so simple! It's the Essential Guide to Publishing for Children. I like it because it's updated every year and it has people's actual names so you can address your mailers to humans and not titles. I have 50 postcards to send every month, so I'm dedicating 35 to my special folks in the industry, 10 or so to my clients that I work with often, and 5 to some friends who continuously comission me. If I could, I would send a postcard to EVERYONE, but I can't.
Do Your Research
Create a spreadsheet of:
- Art Directors
- Editors Who work with artists like you. It's important that you try and think like these folks and imagine what they're drawn to based on the artists and authors they use. If someone is publishing books about cute cupcakes and princesses, you might not want to send them moody Tim Burton like art. Or....if they seem to like contrast, maybe you do. Just feel them out.
Check people out on Twitter and get a grasp for their personality.
Look at some of your favorite books and see who worked on them. That'll tell you right there if you're work is appropriate.
Ask your fellow writers and illustrators if they have suggestions or even a list they use. If your work is similar, you can share lists. Woohoo!
It's said that sending some postcards or mailers out 2-4 times a year is enough. I think even doing something every other month is great, especially if you're starting out. Get your work out there! Share what you do! You can make the most exciting and hilarious postcards. These are little gifts you are giving to the world.
Consistency is key (with everything you do). I am the queen of inconsistency, so I'm talking to my stubborn and doubtful self here, but it's important you make a plan and stick to it. It's also said it takes seven times for someone to see your ad, illustration, name, in order to remember you. So try and touch base with these folks 7 + times before you give up.
But please, don't give up. If you love the work you're doing, just think of all of this stuff as necessary push ups. You do push ups because you know you need to to gain strength, and they suck at first, but you'll appreciate you did them once they get easier and YOU get buff-tastic.
Find a Great Printer
This step kind of comes before the rest, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. Make sure you print with a company that can help your artwork shine. Moo.com is great. So it whcc.com is also fab.
Make a fun evening/morning out of it!
You get to enjoy this process if you want to. Ask some friends to come over and do a little co-working session together. Or treat yourself to a special coffee while you compile your list. This is the beginning of some great relationships! And you're celebrating the meaningful work you're doing by sharing it with protential new clients.
This is how I'm celebrating this process... my bestie Brianna works about 15 feet away (she's a kickass photographer) and she just wrote a post about working from home with energetic music, good people, and coffee. The key here: make it fun.