You're in the right place Josh! And welcome!
Sending TTM (Through-The Mail) requests is great fun -especially when you receive a response. Here's what to do and what to remember:
What to do:
- It's easier to send your own item, rather than requesting one from somebody. Most people don't keep photos, cards or mementos sitting around their desks to send to people, so if you have your own item -even better.
- Don't send anything you're going to miss! So if you have a very nice multi-signed piece you want to add "X" to, probably not a good idea to send it.
- Package your item well! You can't count on what will happen during shipping or who will be handling it.. If you're sending a photo like an 8x10, I use 2 sturdy pieces of cardboard. And that works pretty much every time. Some people use top loaders. Clear, hard plastic folders that will protect your photos well. The only down side to them is, if someone signs your photo and puts it back in the top loader immediately, then sometimes the ink from the pen can run or smear. For 8x10s, I usually put my photo(s) between x2 sheets of cardboard then put it in a 10x13 clasp envelope. These envelopes are cheap and work great for holding your protected photo.
- I always recommend sending a pen for the person to use. Accept that you may not get the pen back, but it's a better shot at getting your item(s) signed how you want. Put the pen in a plastic ziploc bag then put in the envelope. This will prevent the pen from punching through the envelope during it's trip, and that way the pen won't destroy your item(s) in case IT breaks. Some people don't send pens, but I always do.
- To the point! It is always courteous to send a letter with your request. It usually doesn't matter if it's hand-written or typed. A hand-written letter says 'that you took the time' so maybe they will take the time to sign your item(s). Some people have terrible hand writing, so typed is fine too. Some people are very busy, so its important that you keep your letter sincere and to the point. You don't need to ramble on about anything in particular or send them your life story. Be sure to end each letter by thanking them for their time.
- Remember, that sending a TTM is a request, and that just because you send someone, something means that they are obligated to sign and return your item. They are not. I've sent many requests out to good addresses never to see my items again. But on the other hand, I've gotten plenty of great replies. But remember: Don't send anything you're going to miss.
- If you're sending a TTM within the USA, be sure the postmaster puts enough postage for the return back to your address. Most have done this before and will know what to do. Make sure to put the envelope WITH return postage INSIDE your envelope BEFORE you seal it up! If you are sending your request overseas, send cash, US Dollars to help the person cover return postage. If you have access to international stamps, then great. But I typically send $12 to cover my 10x13 size envelope, and have gotten replies back saying 'thank yous' for thinking of that. Some people will not reply unless return postage is covered.
So all you need is your item(s), pen, letter, and return envelope -and that's it! There's more to know depending on what you want to send to someone, but this covers the basics! Let us know if you have any questions -and good luck!