On January 28 (Saturday) I mailed a bunch of queries to literary agents in NYC. Those were the agents at the very bottom of my dream agent list, because they required me to get my printer going, get the kids out of the house and into the car and then to the post office where I need to keep them from running amok. For reasons, which probably make perfect sense, these agents didn’t want to receive an e-mailed query. Luckily, I purchased delivery confirmation.
And today, one month later, I dropped off a lost mail complaint at the post office, because one of my queries never got to its destination. The postal clerk asked if I had called to verify that my letter hadn’t been received. No, I said. I should have done that, she said. It’s so much easier to call than go through this paperwork. Uh huh. I told her I hadn’t lost the letter so I’m not the one going to make phone calls.
Do I expect them to find my letter? No, not really. I filed the claim not to find out what happened to my letter, but to let someone know that “hey, you guys messed up here.” It’s for the same reason I fill out comment cards. It’s a great tool to let someone know how things are working out or not working out.
Could I have called the NYC agent? I guess. If this hadn’t been an unsolicited query, I might have called. I didn’t tell the postal clerk that this agent probably receives between 300 and 500 letters a week (low estimate). Would they remember my envelop from four weeks ago? NO. No way. If they would then only because my query was so awesome or so horrible that it stood out from the rest. Either way, I’d have heard from them by now.
So if you have to mail something somewhat important, spring for delivery confirmation. It’s great for peace of mind. If it’s really important, pay for UPS or FedEx.
Btw, the other letters I sent that day arrived in NYC by Feb 1 (Wednesday), which must have been a record from Hawaii. It usually takes a full week for mail to get anywhere.