Author/illustrator Carlyn Beccia was so kind to answer my questions during this very busy time of the year. She has not only given us a great interview but also a beautiful holiday postcard which, besides being adorable, expresses what we all need so much right now.
Carlyn Beccia (pronounced Betcha) is an author, illustrator, graphic designer, historian and self-professed shoe addict. Beccia’s children’s books, including WHO PUT THE B IN THE BALLYHOO?, RAUCOUS ROYALS, and I FEEL BETTER WITH A FROG IN MY THROAT, have won numerous awards including the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor, the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Award, and the Cybil Award. Her most recent book, FASHION REBELS, highlights 25 women who changed the world through fashion.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I try to choose colorful subject matters that will stand out or go the opposite end and use stark black and white images. I also choose images that will work at a smaller size.
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 put name and contact info on the front. The reason why I do this is because if art directors or editors like your postcard, they will usually pin it to their board. And when other art directors, designers and editorial folks walk by that board, I believe it is best to have your name immediately connected with the image.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Yes, sometimes a subject will get into my head and I will create it purely as a promotional piece.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I think that is a great idea! But no, I don’t do that. I have a book coming out next year called THEY LOST THEIR HEADS.* This book is about the misadventures of famous body parts. I think I might send out a series of body parts… Van Gogh’s ear, Einstein’s brain, Washington’s teeth. Art directors can collect their favorite body part. Thanks for the tip!**
*Can’t wait to see this book.
**You are so welcome! I love the idea of a series of body parts. Hilarious.
How often do you send out postcards?
I am embarrassed to admit this but I have not sent out a postcard in 5 years. I just sent the first one in five years actually today. But I put this on the same level as telling someone you only floss once a week. Yuck. I think everyone should try to send out at least a yearly postcard. (Floss every day though…not yearly).*
*My dentist thanks you for the clarification!
Who do you target with your mailings?
I target editors, designers, and art directors. I am planning to do a postcard mailing to librarians and principals at schools to advertise my school visits.* But that is something that I have never done.
*Great idea. Postcards can serve so many promotional purposes.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I keep an excel spread sheet of contacts at each house. I then read Publishers Weekly, The SCBWI Bulletin and other trade journals and when I see an editor or art director changes jobs, I update my excel spread sheet.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
Use a mail service. Many of the companies that print your postcards will also let you upload an excel spread sheet of your mailing contacts. I know that seems like an obvious one* but I know a lot of friends who print out individual mailing labels on their computers and start applying stamps. If you are doing that— stop. We all wear many hats but resident stamp licker should not be one of them.**
*NO! Not obvious. First time this has been mentioned on The Postcard Post.
**I’d never thought of it quite this way!
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I like Overnight Prints the best. They allow you to add a spot varnish for an extra $10 that really makes your cards pop. And they also allow you to upload a mailing list and take care of the mailing end for an additional cost.
Thanks so much for your excellent tips, Carlyn. You’ve given us some gems!
More of Carlyn’s work is just a click away:
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). And you can see recent posts by clicking on The Postcard Post under CATEGORIES on the right sidebar of this blog.
See you next month.