Friday, March 20, 2009

Postage Prices Going Up Again

Although the Royal Mail is telling everyone to put the 6th April in their diaries as the day the postage prices go up in the UK (again), for us writers, we need to be thinking about it NOW. Why? Because those stamped addressed envelopes that we enclose with our work need to be appropriately priced in order to get them back.

If submitting a piece of work by post (some of my regular pieces the editors allow me to submit by email now) I always send my material in an A4 envelope, which means putting a 'Large Letter' stamp on it. First Class for 'Large Letter' stamps is increasing from 52p to 61p! Sending material like this is professional, rather than scrunching it up into the smallest envelope I can get away with. From the practical point of view, there is one magazine I write for where they scan the printed hard copy into their computers to save retyping. A scrunched up submission does not scan very well.

For my SAE, I often enclose an A5 envelope. It doesn't matter how much the editor scrunches it up to get it back to me, I just want it back if he or she isn't interested in it. Enclosing an A5 envelope often means that the article is folded once, but it reduces the cost of the postage for the return journey. An A5 envelope coming back by Second Class post (well you might as well stave off the rejection for as long as possible!) will cost 30p under the new price regime.

The reason you need to be thinking about this now is that any work you submit now which is rejected will probably be returned after the price rises on 6th April. So you need to be thinking ahead and putting the right postage on your envelopes. if you don't the Royal Mail will hold onto it and demand that you collect it from a local sorting office and pay the underpayment as well as a surcharge which could be as much as a pound. Let's face it - it's galling enough to have work rejected, the last thing you want to do is have to go down the Post Office and pay to get your rejected work back!

The best top tip is to buy the stamps with 1st, 2nd, or 1st Large, 2nd Large on them. They don't have the actual price, which means they are just as valid after 6th April as they are on the 5th April. So buy up these stamps now. Pay 52p for a 1st Class Large stamp today and when you use it after 6th April, it will be 'worth' 61p.

For more information about Royal Mail's Price Rises, visit their website.

Good luck!