The blog of author Dennis Cooper

How to write an awesome fan letter *

* (restored)


1. Hand write your letters and make sure you write legibly. Remember to write clearly. Nothing stinks more than having to try and figure out what a person has written, it will be easily tossed aside.

2. Consider sending your letter in a brightly colored envelope. Don’t fill the envelope with glitter or anything – it could spill all over the star’s clothes.

3. Use a good pen. Try to find a pen whose ink is their favorite color. The use of pencil is absolutely prohibited.

4. I suggest you use stationery with manga characters on it, or stationery with rock/pop stars on it, or lined note paper or spiral notebook paper torn from the spine.

5. Make a special place to write your letters. When I write mine I put on some cool music and curl up in my bed.

6. Always try to obtain the most current address. Celebrities move around a lot.

7. You’re writing these letters more for you than for them. That said, make sure you’re totally cool with everything you actually do write. If you ever plan to run for the U.S. Senate, think about whether or not that “I love you so much, you’ve changed my life forever” sentence really does need to go to Justin Bieber.

8. You need to start off by introducing yourself, tell this person a little bit about yourself. This first part of your letter shouldn’t be too long as they may get lots of fan mail, so a long introduction will probably bore them.

9. Say how it is you got to know about them. Was it through a friend? Radio? Maybe it was through a TV show or a movie that you happened to see at the cinema.

10. Are they good musicians? Actors/actresses? Do you have a huge crush on them? Tell them.

11. Compliment them by saying you liked their outfit at the Grammy’s or something to make them smile.

12. You must worship them if you care so much what they think.

13. Try to minimize terms like “it’s like you know my soul” and “twin flame.”

14. Go on to tell them what piece of their work you enjoy the most and why. For example your favourite song or film scene. You could even tell them your two favourite parts, lyrics etc etc.

15. Don’t write a book.

16. Don’t list your age. If you tell them you’re 13 or whatever, they’ll read it like a thirteen year old wrote the letter, all squealy like.

17. Sample Letter: Dear______,
I’ve been a fan ever since I heard/saw _________. I think you are an amazing _________. I follow you career and can’t wait until _____.
I follow you on Twitter. I hope you hit ________ followers soon. It would be great to meet you someday. You inspire me to __________.
Could I please have an autographed picture? It would be amazing if you replied!

18. Sample Letter: Dear______,
I know you’re busy, so I won’t take up much of your time. I want to be a writer (Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to read anything of mine.)
I was just wondering if you have any advice for new writers. Just one piece would be really helpful…
Love the book,

19. Tell your favorite singer or actor or writer or whomsoever how his or her work helped you through a rough time in your life.

20. Never directly blurt out that you would want to meet them only give vague hints of that.

21. Don’t send demo tapes (audio or video). Don’t be disappointed. Don’t send demo tapes. And don’t send valuables.

22. Whatever you choose to write, just remember the joy they will feel as they feel the warmth of yours and many others’ fan mail burning in a fireplace.

23. Remember that a little bit of flattery can go a pretty long way. But be careful not to overdo it, like many girls or gay boys would simply write – “OMG OMG OMG, I LOVE YOU SOOOOO F*****G MUCH, I WANT TO MARRY YOU!!! XD” for example, which as you could probably imagine would be funny the first time, but then it would quickly become annoying. The aim here is to get the reader to think of you as a sophisticated person.

24. Writing “I’m not crazy” once makes the reader question the statement. Writing it more than 4 times makes you sound crazy.

25. You can finish a letter off with a question. This is the part that can help to generate a reply, so you need to ask a question that is not a yes or no answer, nor can it be a question which requires an essay length answer. If it can be answered in a line or two, then it is ideal.

26. Make sure to wish the celebrity luck with their future career when ending the letter.

27. Be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope.

28. Do not use Lots of Love or Love from, etc. at the bottom with your name as it may scare the celebrities away from writing back.

29. It’s always cute to include a few pictures or drawings.

30. Don’t run to your mailbox everyday hoping for a reply. Your best bet is to just send it off and just be thankful that they might read it. Even though some celebrities are overwhelmed by fan mail, they are so thankful for their fans. Some may not show that, but without you, they wouldn’t be where they are today.

31. If the person is real hot at the time of your writing, it may take days, weeks, or even months for your mail to be read.

32. Face reality. Some celebrities won’t write back no matter what you do.

— advice collaged





p.s. RIP Toni Morrison. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. That link to your AW interview is long dead, but that reminds me I should and will restore the post here and bring it back alive ASAP. ** Bill, Hi, B. Makes sense, the slow dawning thing. That book’s really a primer if you want it to be. Tyrant Books is putting some kind of collected short fiction book by Lutz later this year that I’ve heard contains some new, unpublished works. Super extremely excited for that. According to my local news, things are picking back up there again. True? ** Nick Toti, Hey. Cool, thank you, understood, about where you are in the film. Fascinating. Whoa, you interviewed Xeno? That’s amazing and nuts. (Massive Cheap Trick fan here. I have a bootleg back in LA with some Xeno era CT demos or something on it.) Yeah, the film really does sound extremely promising. Cool, man. I hope the necessary resources come from somewhere to let you keep plowing away at it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Dude knows sentence construction like nobody’s business. It’s very inspiring yet also intimidating, but in a good way. Yeah, I don’t suspect the current UK government is gonna let Deller’s film reach those being educated. Indie Scotland, now, that’s a whole other and happy prospect. Time to finally bring that on, no? ** Corey Heiferman, Hi, Corey. Ooh, I like that rendered Library of Babel. I’m going to poke around in there. Thanks. ** Steve Erickson, Happy you like Family. They’re incredible and so criminally undervalued. There are some very good songs on the non-cover-version half of ‘Faithful’. There are a couple of quite good tracks on ‘Nearly Human’. And ‘Hermit … ‘ is very good throughout, yes. But, generally, he did seem to lose touch with his strengths + ambitions post-‘Todd’. Everyone, Steve Erickson interviews Rodney Evans about his new documentary VISION PORTRAITS on the wonderful site Filmmaker here. There are some very tasty things in the New York Film Festival line-up this year as well as the very predictable entries like the Scorcese and the Edward Norton, etc. But, yeah, I would love to see the new Pedro Costa, the Varda, and a bunch of others. I didn’t see the new Bonello when it was playing here, but it was generally considered to be really dreadful. ** Okay. God knows precisely why I decided to restore this silly old dead post today, but I did. See you tomorrow.


  1. Bill

    That’s a hilarious post. We all need some laughs, sigh. Sorry to hear about Toni Morrison. At least I have a new Gary Lutz to look forward to.

    Things seem mostly back to normal here today. There were a handful of stories about very localized incidents, but surely everyone in a city this size can’t all get along all the time.

    I finally checked out this new gallery complex:

    Not a big fan of the kind of work that populates the big money galleries, but I guess it’s nice that they have outposts here. Hauser and Wirth is closed for installing their next show; I was probably most hopeful that they’ll have something interesting, oh well. David Zwirner had some old DiCorcia photos (including a hustler! predictable, eh?), and also some stuff that I thought was shockingly awful.


  2. Quinn R

    Hi Dennis! This is Quinn here again after a few months. How has your summer been? Thanks for the posts as always–one of my favorite professors assigned us Stories in the Worst Way, and the book became very special to me for a while. Maybe it would be worth revisiting. Have you ever read Jen George’s The Babysitter at Rest? Jen George’s work reminds me a lot of Gary Lutz, and Donald Barthelme too. Currently I’m reading Times Square Red Times Square Blue by Samuel Delany.
    I’ve had a pretty stressful summer. Actually, believe it or not, in June I fell into an open subway grate in Manhattan & had to go to the ER at midnight. Then Kevin died a few days later & I spent the rest of the month rereading our email correspondences, which was really soothing. I’m dating a couple guys & thinking about my future, feeling more open to opportunity than I used to.
    I’m actually considering moving to LA. As someone from LA, do you think I would like it? What about LA without a car? What’s it like to be a fiction writer in LA?
    Looking forward to hearing back, thanks again as always Dennis.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    Today is hilarious.
    Rodney Evans is an incredibly sweet guy and a terrific filmmaker

    Great that you’re restoring my Andy Day. Think about him all the time.

  4. Steve Erickson

    I received a press release today saying that Errol Morris’ AMERICAN DHARMA has just been acquired by a distributor called Utopia. They’re a new company who have only acquired one other film for US release.

    Have you ever done a day here about sleep paralysis? I was talking about my experiences of it with a friend yesterday and realized for the first time that it was a gateway into an interest in the paranormal, despite being an atheist.

    • Steve Erickson

      According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, it sounds like AMERICAN DHARMA will only be getting a week-long theatrical release to qualify for the Oscar documentary category (although that was the same as WORMWOOD’s American release.)

  5. David Ehrenstein

    The Godards I have on sale (10 bucks a piece) are “Sympathy For the Devil,” “Every Man For Himself,” and “Keep Up Your Rught.”

    Contact me here in L.A. and come on over.

    Tons of low-priced CDs and other DVDs as well.

  6. _Black_Acrylic

    These fan letters are indeed awesome. Must be a dying art form these days, and I don’t know of any fan texts or emails that might replace them. We live in hard times to be a fan, sadly.

    Deller in politics classes is just a madman’s dream, but Indie Scotland is getting more feasible by the day. A poll was published this week showing support at 52% which is the highest it’s ever been. Plus there’s Brexit which has paralysed the entire system over here. All bets are off it seems, and I’m thinking #indyref2 must surely happen sooner rather than later.

  7. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Where’s the “Dear Dennis Cooper” fan letters? Oh, wait, I write you one (almost) every day. Hehehe. Nah, though, I bet you’ve gotten some interesting ones.

    Yes, 25 chapters. Almost 73,000 words. The last three will be quite short, relatively speaking. The narrative demands it. But yes, three to go. 14 in the first half, and 14 in the second half.

    Thanks. I plan on getting this done this year and then doing everything I can to get it out in the world.

  8. John Fram

    Denis, this is exquisite, thank you. I specifically adore the letter about Al Dracul, Father of Lies (!!).

    How is you? How is life? I emailed you a copy of my book this morning; I’m so excited I finally bring that thing out of the woodshed and start sharing it. I hope you enjoy. Have you seen the new Tarantino? Thoughts?

    Much love, talk soon

  9. Susi

    I wrote a Fan letter to my favourite actress…do you think this is a good letter?

    I’ve been a big fan of yours since I first saw Lord of the Rings 18 years ago. Your films are very special to me, a bright spot in my life. I am autistic and live very isolated, the only people I have contact with are my parents, my relatives and my therapist.

    Throughout my school days and afterwards, I have been bullied all the time, which is why I now suffer from massive inferiority complexes and severe depression. Depression often feels like standing in the dark and screaming and no one can hear you, but I fight it because I don’t want to get lost in the deep sadness. When I’m really sad, I watch your films and often that helps and I feel a little bit better afterwards.

    I am not just a fan of yours, as you are a good actress, but also because you are wholeheartedly committed to refugees. I was very impressed with you speaking for these people, who are often not given a voice in our society. It shows me that you have a good heart and I hope that with your commitment you can help many refugees find a new home in a safe country.

    Because of the years of bullying I’ve been exposed to, it’s extremely difficult for me to still believe in the good nature in human beings, but your example gives me hope that one day I may trust other people and see the good in them

    I read that when you were a teenager you were extremely shy and still sometimes had self-doubts. At that moment I felt very connected to you, which only made you become more likeable to me. I find it impressive that despite all the setbacks in your life, you worked hard and achieved so much as an actress.

    My depression and loneliness often plunge me into deep despair, then I feel like I am out of strength. Since I was a child, it has been my dream to become a writer, writing is my greatest passion in life, but in depressive moments I think I can not do it and and I am just a loser, a worthless nothing.

    But then I see again how you, the once shy girl, have become a brave and confident woman who bravely went her way and can be proud of what she has achieved.

    Then I know that I must not give up myself and my dream and that I have to fight against my depression, because only this way I will succeed in escaping from my isolation and in leading a normal life one day.

    I am captivated by your optimism that transformed a shy teenager into a powerful woman. Thus, you are a role model for many women, no matter if they want to become actresses, authors or mechanics. For me you are a role model, in particular one, that encourages me to eventually be able one day to take off my shyness a bit and to gain more self-confidence.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and good luck to you in the future.

    What do you think, is this letter okay ? I send her the fan letter a week ago….do you think i have a chance to get an answer?

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