Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Confused about media mail

I'm confused about how to use media mail. Two weeks ago, I prepared three packages for submissions. The postal worker asked if I'd be interested in sending media rate since I was mailing books. She asked me about the attached paperwork, and I told her it was my biography and a cover letter. She sort of hesitated, but said it was fine. I didn't mail the packages that day because I wanted to share one of the enclosed manuscripts with my critique group.

Later, when I was ready to mail the packages, another postal worker asked me if the packages contained any advertising. I told her what the packages contained. She said that media rates applied to packages with books only. No cover letters or biographies (considered advertising). Like the postal worker before, she said that she'd allow it, this time, but that media mail could be searched, and if my contents were deemed advertising, the packages would be returned to me. I hesitated, but I was in a hurry. I was trying to get to the airport. If she was cool with my package, I was cool with my package.

Now that I'm back from my trip, I looked at the USPS website. Here's what is says: Media Mail is used for books, film, manuscripts, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, videotapes, and computer-recorded media like CDs and diskettes.

Who is going to mail any of the above things without, at least, a cover letter? And, now I'm worried that an agent might frown on my having sent a SASE with media postage rates. Grrrr.


On another note: One last complaint about my Vegas trip. We finally got back today — a day-and-a-half later than we'd planned. But, it was too late to use our Lion King tickets. Three ticket, $85-bucks apiece, down the drain. Grrr again.


"e" said...

I'm a little more hung up on the line, "media mail can be searched." Whaaaa?

Don Tate II said...

yes, according to this postal worker, media mail is the only mail the government is allowed to open and search. And, according to her, they do often.

gail said...

I buy college textbooks on-line, but won't buy from someone who ships "media mail". It can take up to 3 weeks to get a shipment and the condition they get here in is not always acceptable. I didn't know about the searching. I know media mail is the equivalent of the old book rate. Its only purpose is to save money.


rindawriter said...

Don, if the agent likes the manuscript, she will forgive you the small "glitchies."

Do you know what the editor said to me when she called, accepting my first book manuscript (sent to the slush pile)? "You had no cover letter!" I was shaking in my boots, afraid she'd reject me adn the book, but she didn't. I had got so SICK of cover letters, the extra work, I left it off that ONE time! Wouldn't you know it, that was the ONE time someone important NOTICED. She bought the book anyway!!!! But I've never left off the cover letter again!