Monday, April 2, 2012

Royal Mail Fail?

So, if you haven't heard by now, let me be the one to give you the bad news that, in the UK, postage stamps are on the rise again, with effect from 30th April 2012.

First Class (letter format) is rising from 46p to 60p and Second Class (letter format) rises from 36p to 50p. First Class (Large Letter) is increasing from 75p to 90p.

I, like many others, think this will force many people to start using email more, and for many of my submissions email is the delivery method I choose, if it is available.

However, for some writers snail mail is still important. If you're entering competitions, many organisers still prefer snail mail submissions, although a few are beginning to accept email entries (such as Wrekin Writers' Doris Gooderson Short Story competition). If you're a novelist pitching to agents, many still want snail mail submissions, not email. (From my own personal experience, it feels the balance is currently 50/50 at present, with half accepting email submissions, the other half accepting postal submissions only.)

And there are still a couple of magazines where I have to submit my photos on a CD Rom and post them, purely because the editor's inbox can't cope with emails with over 2GB worth of attachments!

Even though there is still a month to go until the price hike kicks in, remember the following:

  • If you're posting anything by snail mail, and you are enclosing a stamped addressed envelope (so your work can be returned by an agent, or your competition entry can be returned if it is unsuccessful, or if you want a list of competition winners) make sure you include sufficient postage on your envelope for its return after 30th April. 
  • buy some stamps now, before the price rise, but make sure you buy the stamps that are labelled as 1st or 2nd and do not have a price on them. These will be valid after the price rise at the new rate. (If you can, put stamps labelled 1st or 2nd on your SAEs now, to ensure your envelopes are correctly stamped after 30th April.)
And, of course, to cut down on your postage costs in the future, investigate any way of submitting text by email in the future. Some magazine editors will accept unsolicited email submissions, whilst others will only accept solicited email submissions. A few short story magazines (The Weekly News, for example) only accept submissions by email now, but a couple still insist on snail mail.

For further details of all of Royal Mail's new prices from 30th April 2012, click here.
Good luck.