Wednesday, April 8, 2009


So I'm checking out WordHustler, a submissions service for writers. As more and more and more lit journals have gone to online submissions (!), I've snail-mailed less and less, with the result of ceasing to submit to the places I covet that still only take snail-mail subs. I used to keep a mini post-office at home (because I abhor physically going to the PO) but then USPS kept jacking their rates around making my stamps obsolete, which then made for crazy hodge podges of postage additions, and rows and rows of 1 cent stamps, a giant mess on the manila.

So now with WordHustler, you upload your story (they now take and convert them to PDF files for you), you choose a market from their market list, compose a cover letter (which they address to chosen market), they print it all up, stuff it into a manila envelope with thermal printed labels (I do my envelopes in longhand) along with a standard #10 SASE also printed with your address and the return address of the market, and they mail it for you. For a manuscript up to 20 pages it's $5.99. Here's their price list:
Under 4 pages (Query Letters, poetry submissions)
10 pages (Articles, essays)
20 pages (short stories, partial mss, articles, essays)
30 pages (short stories, partial mss, articles, short screenplays):
50 pages (short stories, partial mss, articles, short screenplays):
Over 50 pages (Screenplays, Manuscripts, Novels, Non-Fiction Books)

All of our prices include tracking, postage, and free SASEs!

If you want to include a receipt/reply postcard, it's an additional $1.29 (or so). If you're traveling the world you can use their Virtual Office and have the SASE's returned to them, and they'll update your profile online so you can see you've been rejected by AQR while sipping chai in Mumbai.

You get a free submission when you sign up. I did it. I sent a story to Black Warrior Review. Pretty cool. And since it was free, I included a receipt postcard, postage paid and self-addressed. If it works like it's supposed to a black warrior will drop that postcard into a postal out-box, and I will know BW got my story.

As an aside, snail-mail/SASE submissions give that mailman-anticipation-buzz. Now that I mainly submit online and have no outstanding SASEs, I have lackluster interest in what comes in the snailmail box. It's kind of fun to anticipate mail, even if the presence of one of your SASEs is rarely anything good.

Anyhoo, now all I have to do is hurry up and wait. I'll update the experience.


Tim Jones-Yelvington said...

This. Is. Awesome!!!

Alicia said...

It could get pricey but for snail mail subs now and then, and for manuscripts, like to print AND mail a 200 page manuscript for $20?

Tim Jones-Yelvington said...

Yes, and I'm thinking also for contests with postal submissions --

You have no idea the emotional cost of braving my local post office, which I invariably have to do because I don't even have my own manuscript-size envelopes and I don't know how to calculate postage on my own.

I think people of my generation are total morons when it comes to using the US Postal Service. Like... stamp? What? It's pathetic.

Tim Jones-Yelvington said...

I went for Alaska Quarterly Review, Boulevard & Gulf Coast.

And it's paypal. Dangerous.

Shane Jones said...


Alicia said...

So now I'm sending out this very short (4 pages) story, and for 4 pages it's only $.99!!! I mean, that's cheaper than my cost to print, envelope/SASE and mail it!

Also, I sent a submission to myself so I can check out how it all looks.

Tim Jones-Yelvington said...

Let me know how it looks. My only concern with this would be if editors somehow recognize that the piece came through Word Hustler and frown on such laziness or something.

I don't know if that makes any sense.

...But I could see looking at the postmark or whatever and turning up my nose and going, "Oh. He used one of those services."

Like it might add to the perception of "carpet bombing" or whatever.

Alicia said...

eah, a "carpet bombing" vibe wouldn't be good. Hopefully what matters is the quality of the submission. I hate to think an editor would turn down a story he or she loves because it was submitted via a service.

I still can't get over a snail mail sub for $.99. I think they fold those though, in half, whereas I would put it into a full sized 9x12 manila envelope. I keep telling myself, "It's the story, stupid".

I'll do a follow-up post when I receive my own submission. I'm very curious to see how it looks. And I sent a sub to a very quick market (Threepenny Review), so I should see results in a couple of weeks, HOPEFULLY WITH AN ACCEPTANCE, but if not, I'll see the WH SASE in action. And will dutifully report on all.

P. H. M. said...

This especially helps me, and would have stateside as well, but it's funny because just today I was consider how I would send a print submission, and had already decided on getting one of my hella-busy overworked friends to do it for me. Ha.

Alicia said...

P.H., this is a perfect service for an overseas guy. They also have a service where the SASE gets addressed to them. If you get a rejection via SASE, they will post it for you on the net, be your P.O. Box away from home, so to speak.

I'm still waiting for responses from the snail mail subs I sent via WH. I'll post when I get an SASE back.