Recently, I have received a few emails asking me how I write my letters requesting autographs. First off, I don't handwrite my letters. This may come as a surprise to most people who have been following my blog. Most collectors would say that this is an absolute 'no-no', and to be honest, I would agree with them.
As a wannabe writer, I always type everything sitting at my desk in the comfort of my home. I type school papers, personal stories, blogs, etc. Besides signing my name and including a small personal note at the bottom of each letter, everything is printed on my Deskjet. I have terrible penmanship and I doubt any athlete or celeb would want to waste their time deciphering my chicken scratch. This is probably the main reason I never complain about a person's autograph, whether it is legible or not.
I don't use any forms letters, but I do like to keep things short and simple. So far, in 20+ years of collecting, I would say that my success rate is pretty decent.
Here is a sample of a short, but simple TTM Request Letter that I would send to a professional hockey player recently drafted by a NHL team:
April 24, 2016
Dear Mr. _________,
Hello, my name is ______________ and I am from
_________, ______.Thank you for taking
the time to read my letter. I am a big fan of yours!
My family and I are big supporters of you. We are
all avid ________ fans. We enjoy watching all of your games on Sportsnet
whenever your games are featured. My son ________currently plays __________for ________ and hopes to play in the NHL one day. I think you’re a
great role model to him as I would like for him to continue his hard work and
dedication on and off the ice. I think it is very admirable that you were able
to follow your dream and get drafted to the National Hockey League. This is
something that I hope my son will acknowledge as he gets a little older. I know
that he recognizes you as a player, but I would like him to see all the hard
work that goes into becoming a professional hockey player.
We are writing to you to request your autograph. If
you could sign for us, that would be greatly appreciated. I have included a
self-addressed stamped envelope along with a couple of photos. I appreciate everything
that you do for us fans, and I sincerely thank you in advance for taking the
time to send me an autograph.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't use form letters, although this could easily be made into one. I like to make all my TTM requests personal. I may not have the best penmanship, but I do put in the effort to personalize each and every autograph request. In this particular letter, I requested that the autograph be signed to my son and I.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to be honest, keep it short and simple, and know who you are writing to. Know their accomplishments and tell them exactly why you want their autograph.