You know something I always think about but never do? Tell people how much I appreciate their work. I’ll be reading a book or listening to music and think “I wish I could tell this person how much their art has meant to me.” I can tell them of course. Social media has made a lot of our favorite authors and musicians and journalists and everyone more accessible. Many websites contain email addresses, and fan letters in particular often make it past the people filters for the artist to see.
Living in LA, I used to be so nervous about telling someone I meet that I’m a fan. But as long as it’s done in a polite and appropriate way, my husband Jeff taught me the very obvious lesson: everyone loves to hear praise. Even the most well-known folks. Maybe especially them. (Remember that time I met Judy Blume? And her PR people instructed us not to gush? And I did anyway.)
A few years ago I gave myself a letter-writing challenge in February and I wrote to past teachers and mentors who had changed my life. It felt so good to put those thoughts into the universe in a concrete way. And I hope that it felt good on their end to receive it.
So in February, I’m taking a different angle of saying Thank You. I’m telling total strangers. I have a list going of people I admire. It’s random. It has less Beyonce and more authors, bloggers, podcasters, singers. (Although feel free to fan out on Beyonce, man! She deserves it.) I’m going to be writing them personal letters, emails, tweets, however I can get in touch to tell them “Hey. What you’re doing is making a difference. And it’s awesome.”
Here's just a few of the people I plan to contact this month with an old-fashioned fan letter:
Stephen King (author)
Krista Tippett (podcaster)
Ryan Adams (singer/songwriter)
Glennon Doyle Melton (blogger/author)
...and the list is ongoing.
I probably won't write them all an actual ink and stamp letter, although I might. But there are plenty of other ways to get in touch with someone you're a fan of. They might not see any of these, but it's worth a try to find your favorites here:
- GoodReads author page
- Email/Contact tab on their website (depending on the popularity of this artist, any email or contact forms most likely go through someone else. However, true fan letters are the type of thing that get passed along. So it's worth a shot.)
- Reviews on amazon or iTunes, etc. Yep, often artists read their own reviews. For better or worse.
I’d love it if you’d join me. I’ll be posting some (but not all) of my fandom to social media using the hashtag #FanFeb. Make sure you use the hashtag or tag me so I can see it.
This will be fun!