The Postcard Post welcomes author/illustrator Mike Boldt. I’ll leave the introductions to Mike…
Hi, my name is Mike Boldt and I’ve lived most of my life in Alberta. I’ve been illustrating exclusively for children for over 16 years which has led me to a career making picture books. My first book, 123 VERSUS ABC, came out in 2013 and was a semi-finalist for the Irma Black Award. Recently I illustrated TIARA SAURUS REX by Brianna Caplan Sayres and I DON’T WANT TO BE A FROG by Dev Petty. Next summer, 2016, will see the release of my third written and illustrated book and first with Simon & Schuster called A TIGER TAIL, which I am very excited about.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I’ll normally go through and pick out a number of my most recent works, either from books or personal projects I’ve recently completed. Then I’ll roughly lay them out in a template and narrow that down to a few. Once in a while, I’ll do a theme for my mailer, something specific, but more often I choose my very best work. I tend to choose two images that showcase different aspects of what I can do. For example, a human character with storytelling expression opposite animals in a scene. I want each card to try to show a bit of everything I feel I can offer. If I’m looking for chapter book work, I make sure to do one with a black and white or limited color image on one side and what could look like a cover, on the other.
Do you prefer text on the front of the postcard with the image or do you prefer all text on the back of the postcard?
I like to have one side that is a real showcase of my work – ultimately that is what will get me work. If I can work a simple website or my name (which happens to be in my domain name) into the image so it doesn’t distract or take away, I may do it, but I tend to put all my info on the back. I believe if an editor or art director has my work pinned on a board, sees a manuscript that I may be a fit for, having to pick up my card to take a look at my name on the back probably wouldn’t stop them from picking me.*
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
It’s rare. I’ve seen others done before that are sorts of mini stories, which I think could be effective.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
My images for postcards tend to be stand alone at this point. If I want to show some storytelling, I prefer to choose a sequence or a few images for one card rather than a series of postcards just in case those receiving the card don’t care for the theme. This way, I’m not writing myself off for my future mailers without knowing it.
How often do you send out postcards?
This depends on how busy I am, but a couple times a year. Last year was only once, but it was a busy year. At least if I’m sending it out once, hopefully it’s like a nice reminder rather than being totally forgotten.
Who do you target with your mailings?
My mailing list starts with those who I’ve worked with in publishing and would love to work with whether they are editors, art directors, or publishers. After that I go through the SCBWI’s THE BOOK* and add to my list. I don’t send to agents (as I already have a wonderful one), but focus on publishers and those who work there, often targeting a few people in the same company. Just make sure they are accepting mailers which I think most are.
Yes! THE BOOK is so helpful and free to members of SCBWI.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I just made my list on pages on my computer. I list everything by publishing house, which makes it easier when filling out all the cards. I’d love to move to a sticker based system because it takes so long to fill out all the cards – though I always love a hand written look.*
*Ahh, yes! The personal touch.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
If there’s one thing that is important, it’s legibility. Not just for your text and info, but also making the info work with your artwork. Make sure all your contact (or agent’s contact) info is there. A website (as long as it’s professional), and email at the very least. Also, double check everything. Twice!
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
Being in Canada, I’ve used US printers before like Moo, or mypostcardsprinting, or overnight prints, but I end up getting nailed in customs and shipping, adding a lot to my cost. Last time, I used a service out of BC called Clubcard who did beautiful work. The only reason I wouldn’t use them again is because next time I may look for a service that also takes care of the mailing/delivery for me. But for now, Clubcard is my new go to.
Thanks so much for all the sharing your postcard and excellent tips, Mike!
I highly recommend that you click on the links below to see more of Mike’s work.
If you’re joining us for the first time at The Postcard Post, you can catch up with a general article on postcard mailings for illustrators and previous featured illustrators in the archive (there’s a tab above too).
See you next month.