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How to Write a Formal Letter to an Author

by Mara Pesacreta, Demand Media

    You may choose to write a formal letter to an author to express how much you liked a piece of literature that he wrote. Formal letters have a reserved and sincere tone. They do not have contractions, and they have a distinct message. Formal letters have three distinct formats such as the block format, the modified-block format, and the semi-block format. The difference between the formats has to do with indenting and spacing. When you understand the guidelines for formal letter writing, you will be able to successfully write such a letter to an author.

    Items you will need

    • Computer
    Step 1

    Know the parts of the formal letter. These parts consist of your address, the date, the inside address, the salutation, the body, and the closing. Use 12 font Times New Roman when you write your letter.

    Step 2

    Determine whether you want to use the block format, the modified block format, or the semi-block format. The block format has every part of the letter justified to the left. The modified block format has your address and the date justified to the right, the inside address, salutation, and body justified to the left, and closing at the center. The semi-block format has your address and the date centered, the inside address, the salutation, and the body justified to the left, and the closing at the center. You may decide that you want to use the block format to seem more formal.

    Step 3

    Decide what you plan to write in the formal letter. When writing to an author, you will want to display through your words that you understand his literature, and that there is a particular reason that such a book was significant to you. You may want to tell the author which book you liked, why you liked it, and which part of the book was your favorite. You can write these notes in the form of an outline.

    Step 4

    Type in the basic components of the letter. Write your address. Then, skip a line, and write the date. Put the month first, then the day, and then the year. Skip another line, and write the inside address. The inside address is the address of the author.

    Step 5

    Write the greeting. For a formal letter, the greeting needs to have a formal title. For example, if the author is Max Turner, then you would write, Dear Mr. Turner, followed by a colon. Then, skip a line.

    Step 6

    Write the body of the letter. Authors usually receive an abundance of mail from people who read their work, so it is best to make your message concise. Make sure that you emphasize the main idea of your message. For example, your main idea may be that you liked the book, "The Lost Year of High School." You enjoyed reading the book because you could relate to the protagonist, Amber. Like her, you were shy and had difficulty making friends. Your favorite part of the book was when Amber became a member of the photography club and was able to develop enough courage to speak to Brandon.

    Step 7

    Skip a line after writing the body, and then write the closing. For a formal letter, the proper closing is "Sincerely." After this word, you should put a comma, then skip another line, and write your name.

    Step 8

    Proofread the letter by reading it aloud. Authors spend much of their time reading and writing. They are aware of errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Therefore, you will want to be absolutely sure that your letter does not have any errors to make the best impression.

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    About the Author

    Mara Pesacreta has been writing for over seven years. She has been published on various websites and currently attends the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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