Publishers are an active member in the art world. They are always on the move looking for new talent and the next “big thing” in the industry. I can not think of being at any art show, large or small and not being approached by several publishers and agents. By you becoming active in the art world and participating in art shows you will drastically increase your exposure to publishers. If a publisher starts to see you at several shows they now see a commitment by you to your profession and your work. A publisher is investing in you as much as they are in your work. Always present yourself in the highest quality that you possible can, never show up to a show in your painting smock with bed head and bad breath. Being eccentric once you are a world renowned artist is an asset, being unkempt and unprofessional while undiscovered is the kiss of death. Think like a publisher.
Would you invest your funds in someone who does not present themselves to the public in a professional and interesting manner? Of course you wold not, so why would you expect a publisher to. There are several different shows and venues that you can participant in that are sure to have publishers roaming at them. Every city has a art festival yearly. Some are at the local city hall and others are at librarys and civic centers. For example in my local area is the Toronto Outdoor Art show and the One of a Kind show. Both of these shows are full of local and international publisher scouting them. Other shows to consider are licensing shows and conferences. These are not only good for attracting publishers, but they are also great for picking up commercial licensing that will put your artwork out on mass and maybe attract a publisher. One of the best shows for licensing and coincidentally the show that I met my publisher is the Licensing 2010 show in New York, NY.
Be prepared for a publishers interest in you. Always have a CD of your current work and an up to date biography on hand that can be easily handed to a publisher. Once again having a package ready on the spot will show the publisher that you come prepared and are willing to go that extra mile. Be sure to engage in the conversation with the publisher and do not let them carry the conversation. One again, publishers want to see that you are able to interact with the public and present yourself in a favorable light. Be prepared to sell yourself and not just your work, remember you and your work are a package deal.
Another direct avenue to a publisher is through national portfolios such as Ducks Unlimited, Federal Duck Stamps and State or Provincial stamp competitions. Publishers are always paying close attention to the winners of these contests and judged art competitions. Winning the federal duck stamp is a sure fire way to draw the attention of a publisher. The national exposure that these contest provide should be looked at as free advertising for you and your work. You want a publisher to see your work in a winning light giving your name worth. Winning a major competition gives the publisher instant value to your name and he or she will be more apt to invest in you as part of their stable.
Finally the most direct way is to send your work to the publisher directly. Before you do make sure you have a strong introduction letter written. Introduce yourself in a confident manner without being cocky. Show confidence without arrogance. Start with your background, what you have accomplished in the past and what you are working towards in the future. Make it know to the publisher that you are a team player and looking to become part of the company “stable” of artist’s. Publishers are not interested in glory hounds so make sure the structure of your letter of introduction is humble and modest. Always include a bibliography of all the publications you are printed in and a time line of credentials and awards you have won or placed highly in. Also include your work in both paper and digital form.