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Friday, April 25, 2008

Postage Change Coming - Future-Proof Your Queries "Forever"

On May 12, the cost of first class postage in the U.S. goes from 41 cents to 42 cents. It’s hardly enough to break the bank, but it could be enough to keep you from getting a response to a query if your SASE doesn’t have the proper postage. It’s just a penny, but it has the power to really trip up your agent search. So, what’s to do about it?

First, if you’re not already sending your queries with SASEs stamped at the higher rate, you should be. The postal service doesn’t have a grace period, and though they will deliver mail that’s already in the system when the rate changes, it could be weeks or even months before your reply actually makes it into the mail. But even if you match the new postage rate, it could change again before some of your queries get replied to. So, what’s to do then?

Luckily, Uncle Sam has you covered.

Last year, the postal service released a new stamp that should prove to be a great help to writers who query by mail. Called the “forever stamp”, it is good for first class postage no matter when it is used. That means that you can pay the 41 cent rate and it will still be good at the 42 cent rate, or at any point in the future when you might choose to use it, no matter how high the cost of stamps goes. It’s a great way to future-proof your submissions, and always know that your return envelope has the proper postage to get back to you regardless of how long an agent takes to review the submission.

According to the USPS website, they’re printing over 5 billion forever stamps to keep up with demand ahead of the rate change. So, now’s the time to stock up (they’re not getting any cheaper, folks!) You’ll save money in the long run, and never have to worry about proper return postage ever again!

And who can argue with that?

Christopher Hawkins


Anonymous said...

The forever stamp is hard to get at the post office, they are all sold out.

Wendie O said...

I tried using the forever stamp on manuscript submissions and the post office said it wasn't valid on large envelopes -- only the white #10 envelopes.


Anonymous said...

This is why having other contact information, such as your e-mail address and phone number, is so important to have on your work and cover letter.

Christopher Hawkins said...

That's correct, Wendie, and I should have specified that in my original post. The forever stamp is only good for letter rate postage.

Christopher Hawkins said...


The additional contact information is important because, if the agent is interested in your work, you want him/her to be able to get in touch with you quickly. If the agent prefers to follow up by phone, you don't want to force them to wait for the postal service.