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Why You Should Write Fan Mail

Q's Legacy

Write to the people who inspire and move you.  Tell them what you loved about their work.  Let them know they have been seen and heard.  Most likely they work away in obscurity and never get to hear the compliments.  It's amazing how a little kindness from a stranger can totally make your day.

When I pass someone one the street who looks amazing, I'll stop and tell them.  I say thank you to waiters and ushers.  And in recent years, I've started writing fan mail to the authors and artists I love. It's another way of expressing gratitude and adding a little bit of love to the world.  I know that my letter may just be one of thousands sitting in a pile.  I also know that the author may not be getting any fan mail at all.  No positive feedback.  Sure book sales are nice but I think it would be even better to hear someone's personal story about what your book meant to them.  So now I've added writing fan mail to the ways I express gratitude.

According to psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCollugh, the benefits of expressing gratitude range from better physical health to improved mental alertness.  They call gratitude the forgotten factor in happiness research.  They're doing their best to remedy that by doing thorough research into the benefits of gratitude.

If you want to know the effect that fan mail can have on an author, read Q's Legacy by American author Helene Hanff. It is a gorgeous book about the places fan mail can take you and the amazing people you meet along the way.  Ms Hanff personally responded to her fans, even when the cost of autographing and posting back the books cost her more than the initial sale of the book.  No wonder she had so many devoted fans!

Write to your heroes - it's good for them and good for you!