USPS - Worst. Website. Ever.

Sunday, August 12, 2007, 6:56 PM

As I near the agent querying stage, I've been looking at my first-round list of people I'll be submitting my WIP to, and it's a mixture of UK and USA agencies. Many agents prefer to be queried by snail mail, rather than email, and they have good reasons for this, so no problem. That's fair enough, and I want to make the submission process as convenient for them as I possibly can. Problem is, when including the SASE for the rejection slip (assuming they need it - I can dream, can't I?) for the USA agents, it needs to have USA postage stamps attached or it won't get returned. Again, fair enough. Thankfully, as a few agents have pointed out in their blogs, you can go to the United States Postal Service and order international stamps online. Great, problem solved!

Except the USPS website is a mess.

I've just spent an agonising 90 minutes or so wading through its impenetrable navigation, trying to find international stamps and order them. I eventually found them by using a search box (they can't be found by following links, at least as far as I can see). Of course, that was after a considerable amount of time digging to find which stamps I need in the first place. Seriously, see how long it takes to find out the postage rates to the United Kingdom (which isn't after United Arab Emirates, as you might expect, but in the G's. Yeah, for Great Britain. But it's listed as United Kingdom. Go figure.)

Anyway, when I finally found the stamps and added a sheet of 20 to my shopping cart, I clicked on 'Checkout', at which point the site crashed due to some dodgy JavaScript. It took three goes to get past that stage and finally give it my card number.

Bloody hell! I think the USPS website was designed by this guy...

Well, it's done now. Let's just hope I never get one of those stamps coming back through my letter box with a rejection slip attached. :)


Blogger McKoala said...

Been there, done that... Found 'Australia' under 'D' for 'Down Under'. No, just joking. But went through all the rest, including the crash, so I feel for you.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Wow. That adds a layer of frustration to the process I'd not experienced.

Oh, and for the record, I got more than one partial/full request in an SASE. Don't assume before you open them they're all rejections...

2:44 PM  
Blogger ERiCA said...

LOL, I feel for you.

Best of luck with the querying! If it makes you feel better, I just got an agent this month and that fabulosity happened through good old fashioned querying, and rose from slush-pile to representation.

You can do it!

3:09 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

And as soon as you start sending them out, they're raise the friggin' rates again!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

I got there from the slush pile too. All it really takes is fortitude.

And Betsy is right: some agents will take so long to respond that the rates will rise in the meantime and your SASE postage will be insufficient. It happened to me, and it's very frustrating. I solved the problem by sticking on a first class international stamp (I had the same experience as you did with the USPS website) and adding a "just in case" domestic-rate stamp next to it.

Some agents still didn't reply, but at least I knew I had sufficient postage on the envelope.

5:34 PM  

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