The most important thing when writing to a celebrity is to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their reply. Many celebrities provide their own publicity photos for autograph requests which are usually anything upto 10 inches by 8 inches in size, so make sure your SASE is large enough.
In case the celebrity doesn't have any publicity photos it is recommended that you include something for them to sign, maybe your own photo or even a plain piece of card. Whatever you do, donít send anything valuable, it might get lost, damaged or stolen.
When writing to a celebrity in another country you can pay for the return postage by purchasing stamps from the postal service of the country you are writing to, many postal services have websites where stamps can be purchased. Click here for links to some of them. Nowadays this seems to be the best method of paying for the return postage as it requires less effort for the person you are writing to.
For many years autograph collectors used International Reply Coupons - IRCs - to pay for return postage. They are still available in many countries but as of November 2011 they are no longer sold in the UK, however, you can still exchange them at UK post offices for British stamps. IRCs can be purchased at the US Postal Serviceís online store. If requesting an autographed photo, you will usually need to enclose two IRC's to cover the additional postage costs for sending a photo as one IRC only covers the minimum cost of sending a letter. Another method of paying for the return postage when writing abroad is to enclose some cash in the currency of the country you are writing to. You should only enclose cash in paper form of course, and not coins.
Try to keep your letters brief and to the point, especially when writing to the more popular stars who receive lots of fan mail.
If requesting an autograph, you should first let the celebrity know why you admire them. You could mention a favourite movie or television role for example. In recent years some celebrities have stopped signing due to autograph dealers posing as fans to get autographs to sell. To show you are a fan and not an autograph dealer it is a good idea to ask if it would be possible for the celebrity to dedicate their autograph to you. Dedicated autographs are harder to sell and the celebrity should then see that you are a genuine fan.
Other Guidelines and Tips
Include your name and address on your envelope so your letter can easily be returned to you if the celebrity has moved or changed representatives.
If you are an autograph collector requesting an autograph for your collection it is usually best not to mention so. You are more likely to receive an autograph if the celebrity thinks you are a big fan of theirs and not just after an autograph to build up your collection.
After receiving an autograph you might be tempted to write again to get further autographs. This is generally frowned upon by collectors as many celebrities will only send out a certain number of autographs in a given period and people who havenít already got their autograph might not get a reply. Some celebrities even keep a list of people who have requested autographs and won't respond to people who request more.
People shouldn't request autographs from celebrities just to get them to sell on auction websites, or elsewhere, for their own profit. It is unfair on celebrities, some of whom are now refusing to sign because of it, and on genuine fans who might not be able to get autographs from their favourite celebrities in the future. Some celebrities (including Russell Crowe, Christopher Lee and Kevin Spacey) have even requested that the popular auction site, eBay, remove autographed items of theirs.
Many celebrities will gladly help out charities with autographs and memorabilia to auction off as it is a great way for them to use their celebrity to do some good. If you are requesting autographs for a charity auction you should give a brief overview of your charity and its aims and then ask if the celebrity can donate any signed items for you to auction off. It is always a good idea to send your request on the charityís letterhead so you can prove you are who you say you are.
To save on postage costs you could try writing directly to agents asking if they can provide anything, this will save writing to each celebrity individually. Agents usually forward mail directly to the celebrities they represent but some may have signed items available which they can send out.