Mail, Glorious (and not so glorious), Mail~

Is there anything more exciting, more glorious, than opening up a mailbox to discover a plethora of actual, handwritten letters? That is what happened to me (Mary K) on a recent day.

glorious mail 007The bounty included two letters from friends, two from family members, one surprise bonus, and an envelope from The Letter Writer’s Alliance, welcoming me as a new Lifetime Member. As a member, I can enjoy perks like:
• exclusive free downloads of stationery and cards
• pen pal swap
• membership card and L.W.A. badge
• member mailings

The Welcome package sent via snail mail includes log-in information, a membership card, welcome letter, member postcard, and a badge.

glorious mail 002What are you waiting for, letter-writing peeps? You know you want one. You can find information on joining by clicking HERE.

You can also give a membership as a gift to a friend. I just ordered one for my friend and co-writer, Mary H.

Lo and behold, my surprise “letter” turned out to be an advertisement. I have been fooled by these “fake” letters before, and vowed never to be fooled again, but in this case, I actually DO know a Chris Thomas, though her name is spelled differently and she doesn’t live in California.

glorious mail 006Is this a slick advertising scheme, a genius marketing ploy, or a big mistake? From purely a marketing standpoint, I get it~ this technique of designing a direct mail campaign to make the envelope appear to be personally addressed, and even using an address label to make me believe it is a personal mailing, should work. And it did, if the purpose is to get me to open the envelope. But if a company believes I am going to be duped into purchasing from them after a ploy like that, well, they have failed miserably. On the contrary, I think less of this particular company, for stooping so low as to prey on a consumer’s instinctual love of the handwritten letter.

Because we all love letters in our mailbox, don’t we? What we don’t want in the mail are advertisements posing as letters.


A NaNoWriMo…for Letters?

Every November there comes a challenge for potential novelists all over the world…to write 50,000 words in one month. Writers register for National Novel Writing Month which is commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, attempting to complete what amounts to a rough draft of a book. Mary K has participated several times, working on a non-fiction book during the 2012 challenge. 50,000 words is a daunting task. The Marys are up to 45, 000 words in their own book project, and that is after months of writing. Only by manuscript’s completion the end of this month do we expect to hit, and likely exceed, that magical number.

We are pleased to share a much less daunting challenge we discovered recently, five days into the month of February: A Month of Letters. Founder Mary Robinette Kowal’s  challenge is simple:

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

It’s not too late to sign up. I (Mary K) joined this morning and plan to “catch up” to the challenge by writing a letter or card on Sundays too, or sending out more than one on some days. The goal is to write and send a letter on each of the 23 mailing days of the month. Perhaps I could count yesterday’s two and Monday’s one sent letter in the equation as well.

month of lettersI read about this challenge on another amazing website, the Letter Writer’s Alliance. The Letter Writer’s Alliance is dedicated to preserving the art form of the hand-written letter. The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. They manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. With over 7,000 members worldwide, the member site is the biggest part of the Alliance. They offer free printable downloads, exclusive member products, and vintage postal items. A Lifetime membership is a  mere $5 and offers access to new pen-pals. These lovely ladies are also in the process of writing a foreword for Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink.

What else do they do? They hold virtual letter socials! They have one coming up this Sunday, February 8. You can view the event details here:

Basically everyone writes letters within a 24 hour period, using social media to “join in” together. You can even view a live video of Donovan and Kathy writing letters for an hour or two. And they will have a special guest: the creator of Month of Letters. You can view the video live or the recorded version here come Sunday at 3pm CST:

We hope you will join us in making February a month of letters. But why stop there? Once you get into the habit of writing letters, you might find you enjoy it just as much as “Mary & Me.”