It may be a fatal injury. This morning, I popped into the city centre to mail off a novel manuscript to a publisher based in the US (fingers crossed, as ever). In total, the novel in question hauls in at about 107,000 words, across 372 professionally formatted manuscript pages. Also included in the package were the usual covering letter, bibliography, and synopsis.
The cost to send it air mail to New York? £42. If you’re in the US reading this, that’s $81. In Canada, try $94. Australia? $103. Japan? 9550 yen.
You get the point. When I’d regained the power of speech, I bravely handed my card over to the Post Office lady, attempting to pretend that such a figure was nothing to a man of my means, and tried not to cry as I tapped in my pin number.
It’s easy to forget how radically the Internet and email have altered how we communicate. Just eight years ago, my submission were whirling around the world by post as a matter of routine, and the chance to submit by email was a rare and splendid thing. Not the opposite is true. While there’s something pleasing about taking a physical letter or package to a post office, it fails to balance up against the sheer inconvenience attached.
That’s what we expect these days, I suppose – instant gratification at minimum cost. I’m so used to it, that I get slightly giddy when I can’t have it.
Hey ho. I’ll be feeling the sting a lot less if the book is bought, I suppose.