So how do you approach a rep to take a look at your work and potentially take you on? I’m sure I’ve addressed this question before and wrote about it many years ago but I got the feeling that this question needed to be addressed again.
Having worked in this industry, for over 21 years, I think I’m in the position to give some important and constructive advice to those interested.
Let me just start off by reminding everyone that illustration is first and foremost a business.
When you contact a rep to take you on, you need to do so in a very professional manner.
Here are a few of the NOT to Do’s when approaching a rep:
- When you send an email,never address it to, To whom it may concern. This is a total insult. If you don’t know the name of the rep, find it before you approach him/her. If you contact a rep, it’s because you are interested in being part of their agency and should know who they are.
- Never write start your email with, Dear Sir or Madame. Same thing. It’s a total insult and I make it a point to never reply to any who address me in either of these ways.
- I am not your friend ( yet, maybe if we work together we will become friends but in the first email, you don’t know me and I sure don’t know you, so please don’t address a rep saying Dear Friend or Hi Friend or Hey how are you, like we go way back or something. It’s completely unprofessional.
- Never ever, under any circumstance, should you email a rep and cc several other reps at the same time. If you don’t have the time or you don’t take the time to sit down and send out a few emails separately, then you don’t deserve to be represented.
- Don’t send a long email, no one will read it.
- Make sure you spell the name of the rep correctly.
- I personally never open zip files, so best not to send them. A rep doesn’t need to see lots of images to be interested or not.
- I’m not a fan of Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest links to your work. Get a website!
- Don’t take rejection personally. Art is art and every rep is different.
- Accept that its not going to be easy
Here are a few of the To Do’s when approaching a rep:
- Do your research about the agency. Know why you would like to be part of this agency.
- Send a very polite email addressed to a person in particular. In my case it’s a no brainer, the agency is called Anna Goodson Illustration Agency. Even if you are filling out a form, chances are that if you write to me, Anna I will eventually see your email. ( just a hint)
- Keep your email short and sweet. I personally spend between 10 and 20 seconds on emails that I received about representation. I get a lot and I know right away if I am interested in perusing the conversation. This is probably the same for most reps. I’m very visual so I don’t spend time reading long emails and I don’t look at cv’s, that’s not important to me. The work is.
- I love to open emails and see a few images right away. Easy, low rez, 5 or 6 images is all I need at first glance. If I’m not sure or want to see more then I love to go to a simple, efficient well designed website. ( so many are free these days or very inexpensive, that I would strongly suggest you all have one)
- Make up your mind!!! If you work in several styles, sit back, have a drink and look over your work and make a decision as to what style you would like to perfect and be know for. I like to take on illustrators that have a real signature style that is their own. Even though you might be able to work in a few different styles, try to focus on one and make it great.
- I kind of like to see who you’ve worked for. I don’t base my decision on that but I would be a liar if I didn’t say it could have an influence. Now, I’m know for taking on complete unknowns but if you’ve been a professional illustrator for some time, I always like to see who you’ve worked for.
- Flatter me. What I mean by that is, I have a preference to want to represent illustrators who really want to be represented by me. Show me that you’ve done your research, that you know my agency that you see that your work would fit right in.
- Don’t be afraid to follow up on emails that you’ve sent. Don’t be intimidated by anyone, including me or any rep for that matter. We’re all human with our strengths and weaknesses. Most of us reps are very nice people. I have the utmost admiration for my fellow reps.
- Take constructive criticism if you’re lucky enough to get some. Reps normally only reply when they are interested in taking you on but if you do get feedback that seems critical, accept it and learn from it. It will only make you better and stronger
- Follow your hear and don’t give up. Nothing in life is easy but if you follow some of these simple points, it might just help.