In a recent post I mentioned autographs I got through the mail, which sparked some conversation in the comments as well as out and about in my real life with some friends.
It wasn’t until last year when I got into it seriously. (Although not as hardcore as Mr. C, who has had waaaaay more luck then I have. But that is because he has sent many more letters.)
When I was a teenager, I wrote to celebs. I got their addresses in the back of magazines like Teen Beat and Tiger Beat. I only ever had one success, and that was an autograph from Rider Strong. (Which was a pre-print postcard. More on pre-prints shortly.)
Mr. C wrote to many as well, getting addresses from the internet. He has quite the collection. (It makes me green with envy. Shhh, don’t tell him I said that. 😉 )
There are three things I send each time I write to a celeb. The letter (duh!), a SASE, and a photo. Here’s a few tips to up your chances at success!
1- The Letter. Make sure it is neatly hand written. Or type it. I tend to type mine, as sometimes (depending on my mood) my writing/printing is a tad sloppy. Plus, it is quicker for me to type.
2-SASE. (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope). It is what it sounds like. Enclose the proper envelope with your address and postage. We always write “DO NOT BEND” on the back and front of the envelope. This makes things much more convenient and really helps your chances. Once your photo is signed, they can pop it in the envelope and put it in the outbox. Now, since I am Canadian, and IRC’s (International Reply Coupons) are expensive, I save those for international mail. (*Note. Some countries don’t use these anymore. We are still looking into it but I think England is one of them. Sometimes, however, a celeb will add the postage them self.) For American, we order the Forever stamps online on Ebay. (We use the large manila envelopes so two of those do the trick.)
3-The Photo. We usually get 8×10’s, and the odd time 4×6’s. For our fave actors, we get the large ones. Mr. C has also made us custom cards. Pic of person on one side, logo or whatnot on the other. We use Artscow.com for our photos. Cheap and most often great quality (The odd time an edge gets cut off.) You can also go to Walmart, Shoppers, or any other printing area, but Artscow has the best prices. ($1 for an 8×10, compared to $5 at Wal-Mart. And easier then us buying photo paper and loads of ink.) Of coarse, you can print off your own if that’s what you want. Some people send in DVD covers and the like.
4- The Celeb Address. So, there are a variety of websites you can use. Mr. C and I use Startiger.com. Now, there is a small monthly fee, but we find it worth it. (I THINK $5, but please don’t quote me. He is asleep and I dare not wake the sleeping bear to ask. But when we joined, I do remember him saying it was $4.99.) The site is worth it, though. There’s stats on your incoming/outgoing mail. And they keep as up-to-date as possible on addresses. You record your success (each day you can view the newest successes people have had.) You search a celeb and they show what address(es) are available, and what the stats are for them. (The more green you see, the better. Red is a failure and yellow means ‘pending’.) We upload a pic of our newest autograph and post it to the site. I know there are more benefits to this site, but he is our record keeper and I don’t go on there often. Another site we’ve used for addresses (which is FREE!) is Fanmail.biz. They also post successes, the dates of them, etc…
5- The Autograph. There is the odd time a celeb sends out a pre-print. Which means he/she signed a photo, had it copied a bunch of times, and sends it out. (Especially if they are super busy and don’t have the time to personally sign photos. But hey, you still got an autograph.) Sometimes, like with my Jason Momoa, he signed the pic BUT not the one I sent. (I am not complaining, though. 😉 ) And if you wonder if the signature is real or if the assistant did it, you can always compare to what other people got. (This is another feature we love about Startiger. We’ve-LUCKILY-had no issues like that so far).
6- Be Patient. Sometimes it can take a long time to get a response. We have gotten them as quickly as three weeks. And as long as five months. One person Mr. C talked to waited TWO YEARS before they got an autograph. But hey, least they got it! If you don’t join a site where you can keep track, write down your incoming/outgoing dates and info in a journal or on a device.
7-Have Fun. This is a hobby, one that you should relax and have fun with. Sitting down to write the letter is fun, but when you go to your mailbox to see an envelope with your writing on it: priceless! More then once I have called Mr. C from my car, giddy and screaming “Guess WHO I just got in the mail?!” We each have our own scrapbooks in which we keep our collection. And we enjoy hauling it out to show other geeks and fangirls and boys. It is a hobby that isn’t for everyone, but we sure love and enjoy it.
So, if you decide to give fan mail a shot, let me know how it goes for you!!! I would love to hear about it! 🙂 Are you someone who already writes fan mail? What are your fave successes? And who would you like to write to??? If I missed anything, feel free to ask a question!