Stamps & Stationery

Fudge reviews my thank you notes before I pop them in the mail.

Fudge reviews my thank you notes before I pop them in the mail.

I do my best to send a handwritten thank you note to my school visit, bookstore, library or festival host after an appearance. Why? The hosts have expended time and other resources to have me appear.  My gratitude has always been appreciated, forging a closer connection between us.  And there’s nothing more personal (and surprising) in today’s electronic world than to receive real, live snail mail.

My friend April Halprin Wayland shared this tip with me for streamlining the process.  April addresses and stamps an envelope before she heads out to her appearance.  After the appearance, she writes a note and pops it right into a mailbox. She says she writes the thank-you notes in her car before she leaves the site while the day is still fresh in her memory.  She says, “I don’t want homework!”

 While I do address envelopes in advance like April, I tend to write the notes when I get back home in case I decide to enclose a photo memory of our day together.

 Do any of you do this?  Do you use your own stationery or use commercially produced notes (I go wild for paper and designs!)

14 Comments on “Stamps & Stationery”

  • I use black note cards which have been designed by local artists and show local, Pacific Northwest settings such as the San Juan Islands. My stories are often about the Pacific Northwest and I love to support other artists by buying their cards.

  • After a visit, I send a headshot of myself blowing a bubble. On it, I write, “Thanks for letting me POP in for a visit,” along with my signature and the date. Schools seem to really like it!

    I’m really enjoying your blog, thanks for the tips and great resources!

  • I like the idea of having the envelope ready before the gig. Thanks.

    Something that I try to do, in addition, is leave a questionnaire with my sponsor with a SASE, asking if they were happy with the event, do they have suggestions, would they recommend this artist (me) to another venue, would they like to comment, and could I use that comment in my PR material. This was suggested to me by my friend Sue O’Halloran.

  • Patricia — A follow-up questionnaire is a good idea, especially if you’re new or trying out new material. It’s a great way to get helpful feedback on what you need to strengthen as well as comments you can use (with permission) as testimonials. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ruth – Your creative card makes it especially memorable!

  • Mindy – What a great way to support local artists and illustrators.

  • I often use cards I made using photographs I’ve taken. It just feels more personal to me. I write the notes the night I return home from the visit. I like the idea of leaving behind an evaluation form.

  • I’ve written two artist biographies. After my presentation, I write the event person a handwritten thank you using a blank card with an artist’s picture on the front. Sometimes I’m lucky and find my artist’s work on the cards. This spring, the P.O. issued “Cowboys of the Silver Screen.” I put one of these stamps on the envelope after my Charlie Russell presentation. Check out stamps. Maybe one would work with one of your books or presentation topics.

  • I like to send thank you notes and write them in the evening and try to mail them right away. The idea of addressing them before starting my tour had never crossed my mind but it will now become part of my pre-tour preparations. Thank you!

  • I have the advantage of being both an author, and a school librarian who has booked dozens of authors. When I received a personal thank you from a few of the authors who visited, I mentally gave them a gold star. The warm fuzzies such a card generates might move you to the front of a librarian’s memory next time someone asks her for a great author visit. Be upbeat, and mention something you remember from that particular visit (helps if you write the card the evening of your visit). Kind of like, “I’ll always remember your attentive audiences, especially the kindergartner who cracked everyone up with her impersonation of Prince Charming.” Librarians spend a chunk of their budget on the author visit. It’s nice to know the author appreciated it.

  • Pat – It’s so great to hear from a librarian about the impact of a personal thank you note!

  • This is so timely for my first book store talks. I’d like to believe I would have thought to send thank-you notes on my own, but…? This post and the previous comments have such fun, creative ideas. After all, I’m an illustrator – and into mail art – but I hadn’t thought to use it for thank-you’s (duh). Now my mind is spinning with images of special note papers and decorated envelopes! Thanks for bring it all together.

    (An extra bonus on this post is the picture of Fudge!)

  • I love making my own stationery, too, Diane. I take photos at all of my school visits and will often put one on the front of a card. I also have drawers FULL of pretty notepaper. It will take me a lifetime of thank yous to use it all up

  • In a few cases I had a pre-written, handwritten thank you note (on a fun notecard) to hand to the principal before I left the school. But then I realized that practice prohibited me from making meaningful and personal comments about the visit.

    From now on, I’ll have the card ready to go but I’ll write the note after my visit.
    P.S. I just discovered this website and it’s terrific. Thank you!