To-Do List: PO Box

You’re writing your book, you’re all over Twitter and Facebook making friends, you’re trying to build a readership for your blog to build a readership for you book. You’re reading all kinds of articles on what you’ll need to do to get your work formatted and uploaded and converted for ebooks sales, you’re trying to figure out what you can DIY and what you’ll hire out, and you’re asking yourself the question: to print or not to print or to just put it off until later. Or you’ve done all that and now you’re just trying to keep up with what you’ve made and make more.

Since you obviously don’t have enough to do, let me just also suggest you add “get a PO Box” to your list.

I finally got around to doing this about a month ago. I think it cost me like $40 for the year for a little box. Added expenses are never happy-making, but here are my reasons:

1. Unless you make your information private, the contact information you are required to submit for your domain name is public. The company I use (GoDaddy) charges a fee of $9/yr per domain name (I have 2 other domains from my other buisness) to make it private. This pisses me off and I don’t want to pay it.

2. You will probably have to give out your address to people you don’t know. Sometimes I mail out books as review copies or prizes and while I’m sure they’re going to lovely people, basically every time I write my return address on a package, I’m telling people where I live. And guys, that whole Google satellite photo thing just creeps me the hell out.

3. Even though email is the shit, it’s nice to be able to list a snail mail address on your website in case anyone wants to send you a handmade card, or ship you a box of chocolates to enable faster writing.

4. Now while #1 had been my primary reason for having it on the to-do list, I didn’t get around to it until this one. I use Vertical Response to do my newsletter, and I’d assume this is the same for any company you deal with when sending out professional mailings. When I went to send out my first mailing, I found out that anti-spam laws require you enter a postal address. And that postal address is included in the mailing. Are you comfortable with that?

5. ETA: Thanks to Angeline Kace for reminding me about this in the comments. Much like #1, when you register for copyright you have to provide an address and that becomes public info.

So I’m just saying, there’s more than one reason you’ll probably need to do this. If you’re serious about what you’re doing, stuff is going to come up. So just add it to your to-do list now and get it done next to you’re at the PO. Then you won’t have to interrupt your day with a newsletter half finished to go and take care of it.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “To-Do List: PO Box

  1. Great idea! I’ve never even thought about it. I did pay extra for privacy when I did my website. But a P.O. Box should have been something I had already thought of.

    Btw, do you have any idea how to keep the Smashwords books from downloading a mobi file with your real name in it? I was shocked to see my real name listed when I downloaded my own. And I also now know the real name of a few well known indies….. This is also a security problem.

    • My only thought on that is that your real name is somehow embedded in the metadata of your book. I assume that you’ve tried going to your word doc, doing file, properties, and making sure it’s your pen name that’s listed there, and then reuploading. So it may be that when you installed Word, you put your real name in for the license and that’s being passed on. I don’t know, but that’s my best guess. Hopefully there’s a way to fix that short of reinstalling Word.

      • The weird thing is that one book had my real name, the other book had my email address that’s associated with Smashwords. So that makes it sound more like it’s coming from Smashwords. Apparently, this is a problem with other authors, too, since their real name showed up. Who knows? :0)

  2. A PO box is on my list when I’m closer to publishing ’cause that Google thing freaks me out too. (Right now that $9 a year is worth it but I see your point.)

    Lauralynn brings up a good point too. I’ll have to check that darn word out. I’d hate for the real name to show up after all the work I’ve done to separate the two.

  3. Another good reason to get this out of the way is for the Copyright. My understanding is that you have to provide a mailing address when you register your work, and that the copyright information is public, including the address you listed.

    This is why I am wanting to get a PO Box.

  4. but i know where you live. you can’t stay away from me, Susan. bwhahahahaha!

    -brandi 🙂

    • You see, people? Take care of this now before you have to deal with dangerous stalker types like this one.

      Thanks, sweetie, for being such a good example for the class. 😉

      • You’re welcome, as always, Susan. 🙂

        However, since there is currently an ocean between us, the most I can do is send you postcards with castles on them…

  5. What great advice, Susan. Thank you for sharing your experience. I had just paid the $9, but I can see where a P.O. Box covers a multitiude of evils. All the best.

  6. Very interesting. I hadn’t thought it might be handy, I’m not there yet. But I’ll put it on a to-do list.

    Thank you for the post 🙂

  7. It’s on my list, along with taking the .webs and .wordpress off my websites/blogs. I have a series of tasks to complete that all cost about $10. Conspiracy?

  8. I’m all in favor of P.O. Boxes…I’ve had one for years.

    Here’s one that concerns me: sometimes book publishers won’t mail to P.O. Boxes, which doesn’t make sense to me.

    I’ve decided that, if someone can’t mail to my P.O. Box (or won’t), that I won’t accept the book.

  9. Whew–dodged this one. I’m way to small to worry about newsletters and free copies of books. I’ll put it on the ToDo list for the future.

  10. Ugh. Not another expense. This sounds like great advice, though. I guess I’ll just have to resign myself to the cost and the trips to the post office.

  11. Excellent advice. Too many years living on my own with just me to take care of myself has left me a little on the cautious side, even though I’m married now.

  12. Oh, scary. Thanks for the reminder!

  13. Just got my po box today because someone mentioned (I hadn’t realized) that you can just fill out a permanent forward online and forward all your PO BOX mail to your home! Duh! Going to do that now 🙂

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