The fan letter might be an endangered species thanks to the internet, but it’s still a popular way to snare autographs.
January is National Hobby Month, and the hobby of autograph collecting is stronger than ever due to our culture’s obsession with athletes and other celebrities. However, traditional fan mail has actually decreased in the internet age thanks in part to an Internet generation unfamiliar with hand-writing and mailing letters.
"Autograph collecting as a hobby is stronger than ever due to our culture’s current obsession with celebrities," says Jordan McAuley of ContactAnyCelebrity.com and author of the most popular directory of celebrity addresses among autograph collectors. "People want to feel close to their favorite stars. Autographs are an extension of that."
Celebrities don’t receive as much postal fan mail as they used to because today’s fans — especially younger ones — message their favorite stars on MySpace and comment on their blogs instead of writing and mailing traditional letters. "Many celebrities now feel that if a fan has taken the time to write, stamp, and mail a real letter, the least they can do is respond with an autographed photo," says McAuley.
The three main ways fans collect autographs are in person, by mail, and from autograph dealers like those who set up shop on eBay.
If you don’t think you’ll run into your favorite star in person and you don’t want to purchase his or her autograph from a dealer, Jordan suggests to send a fan letter in the mail and politely request an autographed photo for your collection.
Here are McAuley’s top 5 tips for collecting autographs by mail:
1) Send your letter in a large 9×12 envelope so it stands out.
2) Enclose a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) so the celebrity can easily send you back a signed photo.
3) Mention how the celebrity has positively affected your life.
4) Say how much you’d love for the celebrity to send you an autographed photo for your collection — NOT so you can sell it!
5) Be patient — the average reply time is 4 to 6 weeks, but it can take up to a year.