I had not planned to get a P.O. box. Truly, I just hadn’t thought about how I wanted to handle folks who wanted to have things signed.
My plan, if I had one, was that if someone needed to mail me things that I would just give them my home address. Since I’m not comfortable listing my home address on the website, this adds an extra layer of complication to receiving things. Not a big one, granted, but it means that folks needed to email me before they could mail me. It’s silly.
So, I decided to get a P.O. box. Here’s what I’ve learned about them.
- A P.O. box is not expensive. The box I got is only $55 for six months. I had thought that the monthly expense would be much higher.
- Boxes come in multiple sizes. The #3 is large enough for a magazine to lay down flat and hence can easily hold manuscripts and novels. I’ll let you know if the #3 turns out to be too small, but the Postal worker I talked to seemed to think it would work well based on the other authors that frequent this post office. Who knew there were so many.
- There’s a waiting list for P.O. boxes that varies from post office to post office. Mine said their wait was between 2 days to 2 months. I got it about two weeks after I applied.
- You can apply online. I applied in person, but golly online is so much easier.
- Small downside. This does mean I have to go to the post office on a regular basis to check it. The box is easy walking distance and I pass it on my way to the library so this is a small thing.
Overall, this is going to be something that will vary between individual authors. If you do decide to get a P.O. box, I’d suggest that you apply well in advance and pick someplace that you will routinely pass.
And finally, my mailing address is:
Mary Robinette Kowal
P.O. Box 221298
Chicago, IL 60622