I collect autographs. When you live in an east coast Canadian city like Saint John or Halifax, you have to be creative to obtain signatures from the stars. So, years ago I began mailing requests to celebrities hoping for a response.
Recently, I found a few letters that were never mailed and I'd like to share them with you because I believe it is important to share some of the secrets that make make you a successful philographist.
Send a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your request. Even though stars make lots of money dancing and such, they aren't going to pay for your stamp. Add a stamp for a couple extra cents because it sometimes takes years for a busy celebrity to respond and you wouldn't want it returned to sender. Don't forget about geography either. That Canadian stamp won't work if the target is US based.
Send a hand-written note requesting their autograph. Make it personal, but not too long (bloggers should excel at this). If you have the capabilities, you may want to try one of my patented tricks - write it with your left hand (if you're right handed), it makes you appear younger and makes it more difficult for the person to refuse your request.
On a similar vein, it's not considered to be in good taste to lie to elicit sympathy. Don't say you have a terminal disease when you don't, but it is certainly encouraged to identify with your particular luminary's struggles to form a bond.
Make certain you send the item you want autographed. Be it a photo, a sport card or a plain index card, doing this will increase your chances for success and, if they happen to have an extra 8x10 laying around, you just may receive a little bonus.
Don't tell them that you pay their salary by supporting their work. It doesn't work to get out of speeding or jaywalking tickets and it will ensure your letter ends up in the bottom of a waste basket or tossed out of the window of a speeding limousine.
Be aware of autopens. You may get your item back signed, but that doesn't necessarily mean they signed it. Many who get copious amounts of requests use this device and it is not considered a true autograph. Some simply have their secretaries sign things. Margaret Atwood's infamous LongPen puts things in a bit of a grey area, but definitely saves on travel costs for those draining book tours.
Next post will have those examples mentioned above, so be sure to check back to see how to properly word an autograph request to give you the highest probability of achieving your goal.