Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Little Red Circles

I sold ten copies of Book Proposals That Sell to a single customer.  Reaching into my supplies, I was out of the right type of box.  It meant a trip to the post office. You may be thinking all boxes are equal but they aren’t when it comes to the U.S. Postal System. In the lobby area of my post office, they set out some of their available supplies but not this particular box. It’s kept in the back because of the cost effective nature of it.

Priority Mail Flat Rate boxesThe box has clearly marked red circles which indicate it is a flat rate box or you can stuff that container with any amount of weight for the same price.  There are other available boxes which are exactly the same size—yet don’t have the red circle.  The containers without the red circle are weighed and charged accordingly. I was surrounded with customers who were paying the postage according to their weight and not the flat rate.  The post office keeps these boxes behind the service counter in the back. I picked up a small supply but learned I can order them in advance online (they are free).  I’ve eliminated my waiting time at the post office and will simply drop off my pre-stamped packages. You had to know about the flat rate in order to use it.

While I hope that postage hint will save you some grief and money in the days ahead, the story can also be a metaphor for the writing world. Many people desire to get a book published yet they are clueless about how editors consider book projects. Others believe they have a solid magazine idea yet their pitches are ignored because they’ve never learned how to craft a query letter.  I see the passion in these submissions that come into my mailbox and electronic mailbox almost daily—yet their passion is misdirected.  When I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, a key part of my motivation was to receive better book proposals which were much more targeted, well-done and complete. To a small degree these results are happening from my book and I’m celebrating those results. 

Like the postal packages without the little red circles, there are many writers who haven’t taken the time to learn the system.  If you want to catch the editor’s attention, it’s worth that effort.

1 Comment:

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Sandy Cathcart Left a note...

Oh, Hey! I didn't know about the flat rate boxes. Thanks very much for that wonderful tip!


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