Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor


Writer's Postage Chart

By Gene Stewart
Gene Stewart

It happens all the time.  You've just put the final touches on your latest manuscript.  You've researched markets.  You've decided on the best place to send it.  You've found out the current editor's name and preferences.  You've reworked your story so it is a perfect fit. 

You've written a concise covering letter mentioning your name, address, telephone number, email address, and website URL.  If the editor likes it, he or she needs to be able to get in touch with you right away, after all.  You've also included a brief sample of any credits you have, and have maintained a professionally polite tone throughout.

Everything's ready to go.  You've spell-checked and proofread, you've printed it out in clear typescript, and you've gotten the right kind of manila envelopes.  You've professionally printed, either using a typewriter or carefully by hand, the addresses for both the outgoing envelope and the self-addressed, stamped envelope you hope never to see again.

All that remains is a trip to the post office, a long wait in line, and the awkward explanations about needing it weighed two times, since the return will be minus one envelope and, maybe, the covering letter.

Wouldn't it be nice, you think, if there were a way to figure out how much postage will be needed ahead of time, so the trip to the post office won't be needed, and the long wait in line and the explanations won't take up a good chunk of your day?  A chunk you might use better by writing some more?

Well, wish no more: it is here. 

One of the most useful sites I've found for writers is the Writer's Postage Chart at:  

Put together and maintained by Terry Hickman and Gregory Koster, it's a great place for calculating how much postage one needs for those unavoidable snail mail submissions.

Clearly arranged, they cover postage to and from USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Singapore.  By following the prompts, one is guided through the process effortlessly. 

One first answers:  What country is your manuscript originating from?  By clicking on a country, one is taken to the page that asks:  Where do you want to send it?  From there, one reaches a page with a chart on it.  Above the chart one finds an explanation of which postage rate it falls under, and why. 

One simply follows the chart, which is calculated by weight, by the number of 20 pound bond pages, and by postage.  Everything's calculated in American dollars. By using this chart, you can save yourself much time and many headaches.  Even better, you can take on an even more professional attitude toward your work.  Budgeting for postage can become part of your everyday writing routine. 

You've gone to all the trouble of bulletproofing your manuscript, and making sure your story's presentation is as clean and clear as possible.  Isn't it simply reasonable to take that last step toward writing autonomy by having your material ready to go as soon as it leaves your desk?

This becomes easy when you use the Writer's Postage Chart.  Now all that's left is for those editors to get back to you with good news and, best of all, a check.  Good luck, and good writing.