Q. I don’t want to seem desperate, so how much is too much when it comes to sending emails with my work to potential companies or agents?
A. I always feel like there is a fine line between staying in touch and being a nuisance. I think that you need to begin by separating the type of follow-up that you are doing. That would be my advice to start; because there are people that you’re following up with that are unsolicited leads. For example, manufacturers that you’ve put on your lead list and you’re sending them something and are looking for a reaction. If you are sending new art and designs on a quarterly basis, I’d give them a call and send an email (a few times), but if you don’t ever get a response, you may want to try other ways to get a reaction. It may mean continuing to send those quarterly mailings, or designing something specific for them and sending it via overnight mail.
But if you are following up with someone you met at, for example, Surtex or the Licensing Show, then it’s different. If that person said to you, “Please send me your designs right away and let’s talk later in July,” you would want to respect their request. Then if they don’t respond to you, after you have followed their instructions, just remind them nicely in another email or phone message. You’re just trying to move things forward. So clearly, I would pursue this type of lead more often and not give up!
Another thing to consider is: you can’t predict what happens in life. You really have no idea if they’re traveling, something bad has happened, they just got busy or overwhelmed, strategies changed, or maybe they have lost their job or took a new job. You just never know. All you can do is call every other week and try to change your message a bit each time.
You need to do things that will keep you motivated and try not to feel like a bother. Remember, it’s their job to look at all the fantastic art and characters out there in the world and to choose what they believe will help increase the sales of their products. If you don’t have a track record of sales, try to think of ways to counter that. Why do you believe your art will sell their product? What results (fan base, P.O.D. sales or other examples) can you show to convince them to take a chance on you?
So, call someone back a little less when you’re following up on an unsolicited mailing, email or call. But if you went the extra mile and created something just for them, then by all means you deserve a response one way or the other. Once, a phone call. Next, an email. Another phone call; then give it a breather. Then another phone call, do a mailing, send them an article that relates to their business, or a hand written note. These are just some different ways that you can keep going back to them. At some point they’re going to realize that you are very serious about getting to speak with them—and you can always make light of that.