Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saving $$$

Today I opened an express mail envelope that contained a requested partial.

Really, you don't have to do this. Express mail is very expensive. If we request a partial, we expect to wait 2-5 days for it, at least. If we for some reason need it faster than that (if you have a book deal with the publisher and are just agent-shopping before you sign on the dotted line), we'll say so, and then you can ask if you can email it.

If you're querying via mail, you're going to be spending money. You can spend it unnecessarily if you want, but don't think dropping a twenty on express mail will impress us. Your manuscript is the thing that needs to impress us. Save some money and send it media mail or at worst, priority. If you live in a state close the agent, totally send it media mail.

24 comments:

Jen C said...

I don't know what the deal is in the US, but here I send almost everything Express because it's trackable, while regular mail isn't.

Thomas said...

I forget what designations the USPS uses for the different classes of mail but, the last time I put something in "express" post it was $2.75 for anything you could fit in the envelope.

If you're sending fifty pages, that can be cheaper than putting stamps on it, plus it's trackable and is sure to get there in two days.

It's been a while, though. Things might have changed.

The Rejecter said...

What I meant by express mail is the overnight/2 day service USPS offers, which costs at least $20.

You can put tracking on anything within the US. You just have to fill out a tag.

Anonymous said...

If you live in New York, any harm in dropping it off quickly and politely, leaving it with the receptionist?

(word verification: timer!)

bleeb said...

I just mailed a full (about 150 pages) and it cost $9.35 for priority mail, thats the 2-3 day option.

This price also includes the .65 cents for delivery confirmation.

For regular mail that can take a week or more, it was $6.67

It has gotten pretty expensive.

Anonymous said...

For some people the motivation of sending express is not to impress anyone, but simply that it's faster. There's enough waiting in this business to the point that some poeple might feel it's worth it to shave 2-4 days off their wait by spending an extra $18 per sub.

Which is why I use e-mail. Even faster! If I HAD to send snail mail, I'd go express, too. time IS $$$!, and in the end, time is all we have. So in a way, those 2-4 days are literally priceless, for only $18.

Anonymous said...

150 page full?! that's a short full. What is it, romance?

cloudshaper2k said...

In the US, you can slap a Delivery Confirmation on anything. And you can hit the USPS website, buy your postage there, print it on your printer and get the DC service for free.

Priority is generally 2 - 3 days, but if you're on the same side of the continent, First Class is almost always as fast. The big savings with Priority comes when you've got a large enough manuscript that the First Class postage exceeds the Flat Rate Priority Envelope cost.

And, if you're not sure what will save you the most money, ask the clerk at the counter or your mail carrier. Most postal employees will be more than happy to help you save money on your shipping.

Anonymous said...

Anon 30/4/09 6:55 PM

In the great scheme of things two or three or four or even a week doesn't matter.


It doesn't guarantee you'll get any answer any sooner.

If the agent isn't there to sign for it, your answer might have to wait until the agent gets around to picking up the package or it might not get reviewed at all.

I'd take someone who wants to me over someone who's impatient any day of the month or year. Because if a person can't wait two days, they certainly aren't going to be able to handle the time it takes to get a book published.

bleeb said...

The 150 page full is Middle Grade. :)

Anonymous said...

"In the great scheme of things two or three or four or even a week doesn't matter.

It doesn't guarantee you'll get any answer any sooner."

First of all, in the great scheme of things, I think it does matter. 3 days, here, a week here, over the course of a 20 year career, it adds up.

And express may not guarantee a quicker answer, but in this business, when the ball's in my court, I hit it back fast and I hit it back accurately. That's all I can do. What other people do is beyond my control, but when it's my move, there are no delays.

Ebony McKenna. said...

I'll probably get flamed here, but I am finding a bit of a pattern in responses to good advice.
That pattern is people looking for wriggle room.

What Rejector has just said is good advice. Don't waste money on paying for more expensive delivery services when the mail will still get there in a few days.

Instead, I see people arguing for why they want to keep doing what they're doing.

But honestly, if it doesn't make any difference to the agent or editor, and it doesn't impress them - it may annoy them if they have to sign for it - then why not take that good advice?

Flame on :-D

The Rejecter said...

Ebony,

Here at the Rejecter Blog, no good deed goes unpunished.

Anonymous said...

I always e-mail, never had to snail mail anything yet--even sent a requested full as an attachment, which is what they wanted. But I think the express-mailing anon does have a point. It may not actually get read faster, but it will get there faster. If you don't have to do it that often, it probably is worth it, even if only for peace of mind that you are doing all you can.

Elissa M said...

I'm certainly not going to tell someone they can't throw away their money if they want to. I'm just glad to know it's okay for me to be thrifty. It would be awfully hard for me to justify the cost of sending something overnight unless I had a guarantee it would get me a contract. Since that wouldn't be the case, I'll keep my money in my wallet. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"I hit it back accurately."

If agents say don't send it overnight and you send it overnight, that's not very accurate, now is it?

You're defending your right not to follow the directions. And no matter how you rationalize, the reasons still amount to impatience.

And the agent reading your query- on top of asking themselves can I sell this- has to do decide. Is the the kind of person I want to work with?

Having been in customer service and dealt with lots of impatient people- everyone has their reasons and they all think they're good ones- I'll choose the patient person every time.

Anonymous said...

"If agents say don't send it overnight and you send it overnight, that's not very accurate, now is it?"

If the agent specifically asked me not to express or overnight it, then I wouldn't. But if they don't specify, other than to say it must be snail mail, no e-mail allowed, then 2-day express (even I wouldn't pay for overnight) it goes.

I follow specific directions, but whenever given a choice, or when no directions are given, I take the fastest route without sacrificing quality. In other words, if the agent says "e-queries or snail mail are fine," then I always go e-mail. If they say "we only accept 1st class snail mail--no express or anything we have to sign for," then I send first class mail (that's never happened yet, though). But if they don't specify other than to say no e-mail, or if I ask them first, "Do you mind getting an express package?" then express it goes.

You don't have to blindly follow rules like a lemming, either. it's a creative business, after all, right?

Anonymous said...

"You don't have to blindly follow rules like a lemming, either. it's a creative business, after all, right?"

Okey. Ei git it. The rooles don't applie to u or me, or them, thusly ei will not wrisk becoming a lemon. Creative spelling and grammar, baby! It is a creative business, after all.

The Rejecter said...

Let me reiterate: You CAN waste $20 on overnighting a manuscript, but it's not necessary, and therefore a waste of money and therefore a silly thing to do.

Getting it there sooner does NOT necessarily mean the agent will read it sooner. It may come on Saturday, for instance, and the agent might not actually come into the office until Tuesday, having worked from home Monday. It may come Friday and the agent is on her way to a weekend conference and she won't see it until Monday at the earliest. Some agents are in the office 5 days a week, but a lot aren't. It's a very mobile business.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I would never overnight, I'm talking about 2-3 day express.

Second, I realize that getting there sooner does not always equate with getting read sooner. Nevertheless, since it's within my power to get it there sooner, and since I am always awaiting multiple responses, I'll go the quicker route. Time is $.

And for the anon poster, no, the creativity does not extend to the poor grammar such as that you exhibited in your last post.

People, you've got to use common sense! NO, don't have typo's in your letters! YES, get the stuff out sooner rather than later. E-mail rules, snail mail is for fools! Express mail is your friend when facing dinosaurs who insist upon snail mail. Think outside the box, don't run with the wannabe herd.

Anonymous said...

...As people demonstrate Ebony McKenna's point over and over.

Anonymous said...

2-3 days isnt express mail. Overnight is express mail and that's $20.
2-3 is PRIORITY MAIL.
That costs $4.95.
A good deal in my opinion since it's a flat rate and you dont have to queue up in the post office if you mail your ms in a brown envelope. Just buy the $4.95 stamp from the machine and you are out of there. Worth an extra $2 if you ask me.

Another mark against Express is that someone has to sign for it. Ive heard some agencies don't like that. Go Priority with delivery confirmation (they dont have to sign).
Just my 2c.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Priority + DC is what I use. I was callling that "Express," without realizing that express actually means overnight.

So, when facing a dinosaur (i.e. they insit upon snail mail), then I respond with Priority mail + DC. There is never a reason for overnight. If they want it that fast, I'd say they need to accept emailed attachments.

Furthermore, it's becoming an environmental taboo to use paper and fuel-hogging snail mail--I don't want to be repped by an environmentally insensitive company, so if they don't take e-mail, they're probably not going to work out for me, anyway.

Mionions, I have spoken.

Ebony McKenna. said...

:-D
I just had to blog about the wriggle phenom to get all the aggro out.