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We All Love Receiving Fanmail
Virtually everyone on HubPages enjoys receiving fanmail. In a way it's a reward for working diligently on your hubs, for networking for sometimes hours every day, and for being an integral working part of the HubPages community. It's nice to receive positive feedback, and it can really help recharge those whose creative batteries are a little low.
It makes us feel good, as humans and as writers, to be acknowledged for our attempts, our strengths, and our additions to the experience we call life. Receiving a heartfelt personal message or rave review in our fanmail can spur us onto new heights. What's up with the generic fanmail messages, then?
What Not To Leave As Fanmail
Unfortunately many fanmail messages are generic, boring, selfish, and mass-produced. While I mean no offense to those who have left me such messages, at the same time I feel improvements can definitely be made.
Many writers on HubPages spend hours reading other people's hubs each day, leaving thoughtful comments, and then following and leaving thoughtful fanmail. It can take me anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes to critique each hub, leave comments, and leave fanmail. When the response I get back for my efforts is "Thanks for the follow," it's a little bit of a letdown sometimes. While I can't expect everyone to be as thoughtful as I am, it can be a little discouraging to receive something so generic and meaningless.
A generic term like "Thanks for the follow" does two things: 1. It puts your worth above mine; 2. It's disingenuous and draws attention away from me and back to you. While I understand you might be in a rush, I'd rather you wait until you have time to write something meaningful. Perhaps more importantly than my reaction, the hundreds of people who see your fanmail message on my page are very unlikely to click on your profile to look you up. After all, if you don't care, why should they?
Fanmail that will get you blah reactions:
- Thanks for the comment
- Thanks for the follow
- I look forward to reading your hubs
- Thanks for discovering me
Tips For Leaving Meaningful Fanmail
Sometimes, and rarely, I come across a hub author whose works have little that I can comment positively about. I'm not going to tell them they're great writers if I don't think they are, or comment that their hub changed my life if it didn't.
Despite this, there is usually something (not always, but almost always) that I can come up with to comment about. Their choice in topics, their vocabulary, or one line that really stands out. I look for the positive because I try to leave fanmail on as many people's pages as possible. Not only does it make me feel good to make them feel good, but it's also a great networking tool.
- Don't leave fanmail until you've read someone's work
- Leave meaningful comments as often as possible
- Be more descriptive than generic
- Pick out a couple things that stood out to you and comment on them
- Be genuine, positive, and think of how you're making them feel
Using Fanmail As A Networking Tool
Most people will agree that readership increases when you read other people's hubs and leave thoughtful, insightful comments on their works. Fanmail, when used well, can be a tool by which to attract further interest, readers, and maybe even fans. After all, it's free advertising!
When I receive feedback I want it to be genuine, real, and constructive--otherwise it can feel meaningless: Nothing more than a few words strung together and posted to my page. But imagine fanmail as a networking tool, and all that can change.
When I'm reading the fanmail left for me, and am sifting through countless generic posts I might see this: "Faceless39, your hub 'Leaving Fanmail On HubPages: Be Creative' was thought-provoking, and you gave me such good tips. Thanks!" My initial thought is, "Wow, it's not generic. They actually cared enough to read something of mine and leave a thoughtful comment. This person must be worth knowing."
When I see this post I'll zoom in on it because it stands out, is meaningful, and took time to compose. I feel that whoever left this fanmail genuinely liked what I spent hours creating, and took the time out of their life to go the extra step. I'm likely to click on their profile page to learn more about them, probably read a hub or maybe a few hubs, follow, and leave positive fanmail for them.
Using fanmail as a networking tool is fun and easy, and can make people feel great! Be genuine, be positive, and most of all--be the change you want to see in the world!
© 2011 Kate P
Kenneth D Arone on November 09, 2019:
Thank you for your help. I am a Newbie. I have posted my first HP. A friend helped me. I am the type of person that probably likes researching more that writing or I have been using it as an excuse for not starting. Thanks for listening
Laura Schneider from Minnesota, USA on February 02, 2013:
Fantastic advice! Some of us are more socially challenged than others and need to be told these things. I sometimes will discover a new writer that I think is brilliant based on one article I ran across and read top to bottom (except the comments--I like making mine before reading what others think so that I'm not biased when I sit down to write a comment). This is one such hub that I think is brilliant enough that I will follow you now and hopefully get caught up on the articles you've already written. (Voted up, awesome, etc.)
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on March 23, 2012:
WannaB Writer, thanks, and valid points as well. I wonder if you were aware that you can always leave Fanmail at a later date? You can "x" out of that standard pop-up window after following someone. When you return to their page later (or refresh) the edit box for leaving Fanmail will appear beneath their profile story on their profile page. That allows for a lot of wiggle room.
That said, I often only read one hub before leaving Fanmail, as I too am very busy here. That said, there's nothing wrong with picking out the positives you got from reading their one hub, and applying them to the Fanmail.
Hope this helps!
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on March 22, 2012:
You have made some very valid points here, but I think the system also plays a part in those bland, generic, fan mail comments. Here how I operate. Someone follows me. I want to see if I will follow them, but I'm very busy. I will go to their profile and if it appears they write about things I'm interested in and their profile page shows they have a way with words, I normally want to follow. But before doing that I usually check out one hub that looks interesting. After I've read it, I try to leave a thoughtful comment. They I go back to the profile page to follow.
Wham! I must, in order to follow, come up with some fan mail. Either I send nothing, use a generic comment, or try to think of something different than what I just said in the hub comment. So I often do say quite sincerely I'm looking forward to reading more of that person's work. And I sincerely will, since I will be getting notifications when they write something new, and if they write on a topic that interests me, I will read it.
Funny, today before I read this, I actually did try to come up with at least one non-generic thing to say when beginning to follow someone. But I'd much rather have the time to get to know someone a bit better than one hub before writing that fan mail. I find being confronted with that fan mail box when I'm just beginning to follow is frustrating.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on March 04, 2012:
Thank you all very much for your awesome comments and support; as we all know, it feels great to get recognition.
I have to admit I've left some generic fanmail and comments in my time as well. But I'm glad this hub is helping to change that, bit by bit.
Shasta Matova from USA on March 04, 2012:
Great points here on leaving fanmail. I do try to leave insightful and thoughtful fanmail, although it is very difficult. Since I leave comments on the hubs, it seems like the fanmail should cover the hubs more globally, and I can only do that if I have time to read them all, which I never do. Hopefully the Hubber will take the "look forward to reading your hubs" in conjunction with the comments on individual hubs in mind. Isn't that the whole point of following someone - being able to read their future hubs?
KatrineDalMonte on March 04, 2012:
Hi, a wonderful informative article packed with plenty of great useful information on the subject most of us probably haven't thought much of. So your tips will definitely help anyone here, including myself. I do admit I come under those who have left quick short funmails, so after reading this I'm now taking away something worth thinking of in more detail. Thank you, voted up.
Flickr on March 04, 2012:
I'm curious to know how many people have a slight smile on their face after reading your hub. What I am more curious to know is how many of us that have posted here are guilty of writing comments and responses that are generic and get blah reactions. I'm one such person. You have brought some meaningful points to life that I didn't consider before, leave insightful responses and fan mail is a great networking tool. I knew both, but I just didn't think of them before as being a powerful tool. Thanks for the hub. Defiantly sharing this socially with others.
Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on March 04, 2012:
I have to agree with your insights here. Very well presented. Like you, I also take the time to read someone else's hub and profile before I proceed on following them. Doing this gives me that familiar experience of meeting new people in the actual setting. It makes new discoveries and learning because you don't know on whose hubpage will you land next. Very exciting, indeed.
Voted up for this insightful hub. Will be sharing with our fellow hubbers and friends. :)
Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on March 04, 2012:
Your hub on leaving fanmail is insightful and well-explained. Your tips on leaving genuine fanmail are well-said. I genuinely follow people after reading their hubs based on the topics that interest me. As for fanmail, you guided me how to leave more thoughtful fanmail to followers.
Thanks For SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up and Socially shared.
Lizam1 on February 22, 2012:
Thanks for taking time to write this. Helped me as a new hubber. I agree one hundred percent that leaving comments or fan mail should be genuine.
Keri Summers from West of England on January 25, 2012:
i wish I had thought of this hub idea! Great, brave subject. I have to admit, I've left "look forward to reading" fan mail when I've been in a hurry, and have honestly committed to doing so, but can see that it looks throwaway, and not the most complimentary in someone's feedback column. I'm glad your hub has been received so well. Congrats.
Also I thought your poll was fascinating ... drove home the point about what we'd like to receive as fanmail rather than give.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on January 07, 2012:
Thanks so much for the uplifting comments. I'm glad you've found this hub so useful! :)
Kieran Gracie on December 28, 2011:
Thank you, Faceless39, for this excellent article. I agree with other commentators that this should be part of the welcome pack for all new Hubbers! And I must confess to having a red face here, too. Many of my fanmail comments have been just like your 'throwaway' examples, so I vow to do better in future. The networking aspect never occurred to me, either, so this Hub merits a double thank-you.
Iris Woytowich on December 05, 2011:
I just want to say thank you for the wonderful encouragement... coming from a gifted writer, I cherish that the most... looking forward to reading more...
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on December 02, 2011:
Thank you all for your positive feedback on this article! I'm glad it's making some ripples out there!
@d.william: Oh, I totally agree with leaving good comments, as do most people. I had to write this particular article because everyone leaves good comments but then forgets about how fanmail affects readers as well. :)
I'm 100% behind publishing all comments; however, many people seem to block comments that are not in agreement with their own views. Actually this has happened to me a few times. I wrote a hub on it: https://faceless39.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Cant-Some-... Peace!
d.william from Somewhere in the south on December 02, 2011:
Good article. I have never given fan mail much attention in the past, or saw it as anything more than an acknowledgment that someone has read my stuff. I will certainly look at it in a different light after reading this article.
I take the comments section more seriously. If someone takes the time to read and leave a comment, it shows that they actually read the article, understood its contents, my intentions, and felt compelled to comment positively (or negatively). I always leave all comments for everyone else to read. Some hubbers only leave those that are complimentary, but i think all are important to give different perspectives on what you wrote.
Deborah Neyens from Iowa on November 10, 2011:
Great insights, here, Faceless. Thanks for the important reminders.
wanzulfikri from Malaysia on November 07, 2011:
A truly great reminder. It reminds me of how fun it is receive to network with other hubbers.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 06, 2011:
Wonderful hub to remind us all that writing a quality fan mail is as important as writing a quality hub. Networking is as essential online as in real life.
Thanks for this great tip.
Voted up and useful.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 04, 2011:
Well, I can't keep up with all the awesome comments. I'd love to tailor comments to each person, but it seems like that would be a little bit ridiculous lol!
Just know that I'm appreciative of your feedback, whether it agrees with me or not! And if you've already left me fanmail that you now feel could have been a little more personal--That's fine! That means this hub is working. Peace and Thanks! :)
Ricardo Nunes from Portugal on November 04, 2011:
Thanks for discovering me! If you didn`t I probably wouldn`t find your hubs... Thank you for your work! :)
Anusha Jain from Delhi, India on November 03, 2011:
A great hub. Your demand of quality in writing each sentence - including a comment or a fan mail and the consequences of focus on quality in long term is something I completely agree with. I had written a hub sometime back - pointing out the importance of quality comments.
I would like to add something, like everything else, quality in products, writing as well as fanmail follows demand and supply rule. What I mean to say is, if people would know that their meaningless/low quality comment/fanmail might not be approved, they might be ready to spend in more efforts. :) I have sometimes disapproved comments which were of three words and still full of mistakes!
Another constructive way of creating the demand is writing a hub stressing on quality like you've done!
Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on November 03, 2011:
I'm gon'na change. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I seemed to have forgotten the social networking DOES combine with the writing.
Dee aka Nonna on November 03, 2011:
I never thought of it as being a networking tool...that's great. I am happy when I leave a comment or fanmail and that person does actually visit and read one or more of my hubs. I feel, very often, like I've met a new friend. I am guilty of having, on occasion, said, "thanks for discovering me" or something simular but I really mean it as a "yeah, I met someone new and I immediately go to their hub and begin to read.
I do love getting comments. There are times when I've not gotten any but the hub did get views. I try to always leave a comments because I do enjoy encouraging others.
Thank you for such a thought provoking hub. Voted up and useful.
Husky1970 on November 03, 2011:
This is a fabulous hub, Faceless39. It is one of those rare hubs that clearly impacts the hubpages community. You are so right about how varying degrees of sincerity are so easily detected when reading comments or fanmail. And you are also right on target when you mention the importance of replying to positive and sincere feedback. Awesome hub.
Voted up and across the board.
Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on November 03, 2011:
A Miss Manners for HP. :o) Thank you for the education in fanmail etiquette. I learned something new today. Thank you.
Micheal from United Kingdom on November 03, 2011:
Dooh! Sorry. I do most profoundly apologise. I can't speak for anyone else but:-
My excuse. I'm a newbie and hadn't come across this excellent advice.
I received many "thanks for the follow" and plenty of "I'll read your interesting hubs" and being the imitative animals that we all are.
I assumed that this was the netiquette of hubpages.
This particular hub should be posted as essential reading on the sign up page and in the tutorial section.
Whilst we are waiting for that to happen I will.
Vote it up and give it useful interesting as well. And share it all over the place.
PS while we are on the subject. This hub is well written and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 03, 2011:
Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! I enjoy comments and constructive criticism as much as I love fanmail. I really do hope this will eventually make feel-good ripples throughout HubPages! :)
I admit I've left some pretty lame fanmail in my day, but when I realized I didn't like receiving it myself, everything changed. It's not something we automatically think about, but seems like this hub may do some good.
@Flora, that's a really strange one. I don't even understand it lol. @Eldon, you're totally right that leaving any fanmail at all takes more effort. In that case, why not make the effort count! :) @Spirit Whisperer, I appreciate your endorsement and follow. Such eloquent language is hard to come by! Peace!
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on November 03, 2011:
You have written an interesting and thought provoking article that gives the reader an insight into what makes you tick. It is actually quite endearing to read such an honest self expression and for this you have found yourself another follower. I don't send fan mail until I have read enough of someone's work to warrant it and I don't do it lightly. I also don't follow hoards of people so I can give each person I follow the time they deserve.
I look forward to reading more of your work and thank you for sharing this wonderfully written article.
caitmo1 from Lancashire England on November 03, 2011:
I found this really interesting and I will try my best to write better comments and fanmail. It's good to receive helpful comments so when we leave fanmail we know that the recipient will be pleased that we have gone to the trouble to read their hub. Pressed the green button voted useful and interesting.
Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on November 02, 2011:
Your advice here is valid. Fanmail should be as heartfelt and true as the heart not just perfunctory act. It must be done with real interest.
Voted useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting
krosch on November 02, 2011:
A very well written article I think it's a great read and very insightful. I would add though that people leaving such fan mail are putting in a tad more effort than those that don't bother to do anything. Though I can understand the reaction to the little effort being put in by the reply.
Though personally I am on your side and I would rather leave no fan mail than randomly toss something onto someone's page without reading anything about them or their work.
FloraBreenRobison on November 02, 2011:
The most bizarre fan mail I ever got was "What's up with your pic?"
robyna from Michigan, USA on November 01, 2011:
Yes, I've thought of this. It's much more personal than a comment, wouldn't you say? It only takes another minute to go over and send a fan mail if you really liked the article. Totally worth it as a networking tool. Great tips! Voted up.
Debby Bruck on November 01, 2011:
Perfecto Faceless. Beautifully written and explained the value and purpose in leaving tailored Fan mail. I expect you will receive many positive comments here because of the layout of the page, the many pertinent links highlighted in blue, the well selected clipart images that grace the page. Blessings, Debby
P.S. I found you from HubHopping where I clicked "USEFUL." Yet, when I just popped over to your page via your profile, the 'USEFUL' button is not selected. I shall recheck it now.
Imogen French from Southwest England on November 01, 2011:
Some very good points here - networking can be fun and makes people feel good. It is always encouraging to get a comment that shows somebody has read your hub properly and understood what you were trying to say. I have to admit that I have sometimes left brief and meaningless comments or fanmail, usually due to lack of time - but will attempt to be more personal in the future - it really does make a difference.
Website Examiner on November 01, 2011:
This is a thoughtful, observant, intelligent hub. Well explained.