This post is directed towards all of the international writers out there. May I introduce you to the United States Postal Store? It will allow you to buy US stamps, and will ship them internationally to you. You can buy a lot at once, and never have to go to your local post office for an IRC again. More importantly, it means that *I* will never have to go to the post office to redeem the IRCs that you send me.
Let me explain:
The people who run my post office are not that current on postal regulations. They are nice people, but I often find that they don't know the intricacies that I use, like sending manuscripts as Media Mail (much, much cheaper than first class) or redeeming IRCs. Today, in fact, I had to go to two different postal clerks in order to redeem the seven IRCs I had brought with me, and the second postal clerk had to go to her supervisor. The supervisor then needed to explain what an IRC was to the second postal clerk, who was then able to come back and process my order. It took a very long time, and suffice it to say, was quite frustrating.
If you just buy the stamps in advance and have them shipped to your home, you can save me all this trouble. Yes, I know it's more expensive, but it's not that much more expensive. And it really saves myself and other agents a tremendous amount of time. Plus, I'd like to also point out that some of you from the Down Under side of the world have been sending me submissions with insufficient IRCs for return postage. I've been putting my own stamps on your manuscripts and letters, at a cost to me, since I'm not a stamp dispenser. One package I had to slap on an extra $2-$3 worth of stamps, beyond the IRCs sent to me, or it wouldn't have made it back to the sender. And trust me, that adds up over time.
So save me the trouble, and save yourself the trouble, and just buy the stamps online.
The current postal rates for a #10 envelope weighing 1 oz. are thus:
From the US to Canada: 63 cent stamp
From the US to Anywhere Else: 84 cent stamp
For anything weighing more than an ounce it goes up substantially. All the rates can be found on the USPS website. Use it. Calculate your package weight appropriately. It will be worth both my time and yours.
Thank you in advance. =)
(Please note that there is a proposed rate increase for US postage, which is supposed to happen in May 2007. When I get the correct figures for it, I will post how much the increased postage rate is for international postage. I will also remind US senders, at that time, to put the correct domestic postage on their envelopes.)