PDA

View Full Version : Fedex/UPS/DHL ?


MightyScribbler
04-17-2007, 08:28 PM
Ok, I'm new to the FedEx/UPS/DHL. I've sent packages through them before, but they're always things that get signed for. I'll probably use FedEx to send a full. What do I ask for? I want it to get there, I don't want anyone to have to sign for it, but I want confirmation or a tracking number of some kind.

Or should I just use flat rate priority mail from the regular post office?

Tirjasdyn
04-17-2007, 08:41 PM
Use the fedex.com website. You can do it all online there and arrange for them to pick it up if you don't know where a drop box is.

Or you can go to a mail box etx store or other mailing store and have them do it for you, but it might cost more.

Maryn
04-17-2007, 08:54 PM
Did the local post office go out of business? ;)

My understanding is the same as yours, that many agents and publishers dislike having to sign for packages, so you're wise to stay away from that. If what you want is tracking and perhaps insurance, the post office has both and costs substantially less than the private package companies.

Maryn, who sends packages to her kids and was amazed at the cost difference between UPS and the USPS

Gillhoughly
04-17-2007, 08:56 PM
If this is an overdue MS well past its deadline, then use FedEx, but make sure you instruct that it does not need to be signed for. There is a tiny little box to check and the person waiting on you can point it out.

If the agent or editor missed delivery (several times) and has to drop everything and run down to the FedEx depot, I can promise you they will be cursing all the way. The volume goes up in proportion to foulness of the weather and how much gas their car is slurping down in traffic. Double negativity points if their toddler(s) are wailing in the backseat.

If you are sending in a requested MS that is NOT deadline material, then use the regular Postal Service with delivery confirmation. However fast you want the MS on the person's desk, it WILL sit for weeks or more unopened until they are able to get around to it.

Priority Mail 2-3 day delivery is fast enough, and they have flat rate boxes which are considerably cheaper than the other guys. I still send in finished MS that way. Mail out on a Monday and it will be delivered on a nice mid-week business day.

I've had to sign for stuff that was expensively overnighted to me, but it had to wait because I was busy.

Don't think I felt guilty about making the money-wasting writer wait, either. I burned that chip out years ago.

Kristin Landon
04-17-2007, 09:42 PM
Assuming you do need express delivery:

You can also check the "no signature" box on the FedEx website, and they have delivery options that are cheaper than overnight. I use Fed Ex all the time in my copyediting business and never pay for "Priority Overnight"; "Standard Overnight" almost invariably gets my package from the West Coast to the East Coast destination by 9:30 am Eastern time, drop box to door in 18 hours. Two-day packages also frequently arrive in one day, especially Friday or Saturday shipments. Of course you can't count on either—there's no guarantee unless you pay for the faster service. But it's still nice. Amazing, even.

That's why I prefer FedEx to UPS, which never delivers anything early; you get what you pay for and only that, even if your package has to sit and wait somewhere. And I have had packages misdelivered (and once even lost) via UPS's express service, even though I've used it much less. That has never happened, ever, with Fed Ex in almost twenty years of steady use.

USPS is definitely cheaper, but also less convenient and less reliable. Most of my clients specify Fed Ex (and pay for it, thank goodness).

MightyScribbler
04-17-2007, 09:54 PM
Yeah, I don't need express, but I want it to get there, that's my main concern. If USPS is less reliable, considerably less, than I might want FedEx, if however, FedEx is going to do a big song and dance when it arrives, then I don't want that either. I just don't want a week to go by and find out it never showed up, so eventhough the full was asked for yesterday, and although it may sit on the agents desk for weeks, I think it not showing up at all would be a sure-fire no, and if it shows up in 2 weeks it might be a sign of unprofessionalism. It's going from Maryland to New York, so I'm thinking priority USPS should get it there by Fri, but will it ever get there with USPS?

pconsidine
04-17-2007, 10:02 PM
USPS offers a variety of services to address just that issue. You can actually pay a little extra and get a Proof of Delivery for just about any package, I think. Plus, services like Express Delivery and Priority Overnight are still way cheaper than any of the other shippers, so it's definitely worth a look.

They've also added a lot of info and services to their web site, so you might be able to find what you need there.

Tish Davidson
04-17-2007, 10:12 PM
Yeah, I don't need express, but I want it to get there, that's my main concern. If USPS is less reliable, considerably less, than I might want FedEx, if however, FedEx is going to do a big song and dance when it arrives, then I don't want that either. I just don't want a week to go by and find out it never showed up, so eventhough the full was asked for yesterday, and although it may sit on the agents desk for weeks, I think it not showing up at all would be a sure-fire no, and if it shows up in 2 weeks it might be a sign of unprofessionalism. It's going from Maryland to New York, so I'm thinking priority USPS should get it there by Fri, but will it ever get there with USPS?


Professionals use USPS. In fact, many agents specifically request that manuscripts NOT be sent using a delivery service. Sending it Priority from MD to NY isn't going to get it there any faster than first class, because it isn't going to go by air either way. Plus USPS delivers on Saturday while FedEX and other services charge extra for Saturday delivery. I know you are excited about getting a request for a full, but try not to make any more work for the agent than necessary. You're in the pipeline now. That's what counts. From here on out, its a waiting game. Go write something else and quit obsessing about the reliability of the postal service.

Elektra
04-17-2007, 10:13 PM
Go with USPS, delivery (Note: NOT Signature) confirmation. It's cheap and reliable (especially as different cities have different reliabilities. For example, in NYC, the local P.O. may be great, while the FedEx has a reputation for misplacing things). Also, send the agent an E-mail that says something like "I got your request; the full went in the mail today." That way if for whatever reason it doesn't get there within a week or two, the agent will know somethings up, and contact you.

ORION
04-17-2007, 10:15 PM
If you are sending to a big agency/publisher I promise you they use Fed Ex and nobody gives you any grief about it. Everything that can be is electronic but if not they use fedex. My first copyedited manuscript of LOTTERY was overnighted fed exed to me and nothing ever needed a signature. What is great is that you have a tracking number. Putnam sent one pkg that was accidentally marked "routine" and they sent another copy over night so it would get there faster.
For partials and other requested material to agents I think the key is to NOT require a signature and just use 2 day. They deliver during business hours to the mailroom.
For regular querying when I was sending pages I used priority mail and did not ask for the material back of course.
I had problems with UPS on other things (primarily the delivery options) and of course for contracts WMA uses FedEx also.
The tracking info IMO makes FedEx superior.

blacbird
04-17-2007, 10:33 PM
In my experience, USPS is no less reliable than any of the private courier services, and unless there is some unusual external reason, like a deadline, for getting the manuscript to its destination, there's little point in sending it in any express fashion. A normal submission is likely to sit on an agent's or editor's desk for weeks before it gets looked at.

I do a lot of business-related shipment of various things, and the only company that ever lost anything (destroyed, actually) was the private company that uses the big ugly brown trucks, whose services I will never employ again and whose name I cannot bring myself to mention without nausea.

caw

Dani Dunn
04-17-2007, 10:46 PM
I used FedEx Ground to send out my manuscript. It didn't require a signature, and it was only $4.30, but I do live in New York. It was cheaper than the post office, and they were open on the weekends.

Jamesaritchie
04-17-2007, 11:58 PM
If you are sending to a big agency/publisher I promise you they use Fed Ex and nobody gives you any grief about it. Everything that can be is electronic but if not they use fedex. My first copyedited manuscript of LOTTERY was overnighted fed exed to me and nothing ever needed a signature. What is great is that you have a tracking number. Putnam sent one pkg that was accidentally marked "routine" and they sent another copy over night so it would get there faster.
For partials and other requested material to agents I think the key is to NOT require a signature and just use 2 day. They deliver during business hours to the mailroom.
For regular querying when I was sending pages I used priority mail and did not ask for the material back of course.
I had problems with UPS on other things (primarily the delivery options) and of course for contracts WMA uses FedEx also.
The tracking info IMO makes FedEx superior.

If you haven't been published, some editors at some very large publishers, and some agents at very large agencies, do, indeed make a huge fuss over FedEx.

If you're a writer being handled by a large agency, or being published by a large publisher, FedEx and the like is fine, and my editors almost always want a copy edited manuscript returned in such a manner.

MightyScribbler
04-18-2007, 12:00 AM
If you haven't been published, some editors at some very large publishers, and some agents at very large agencies, do, indeed make a huge fuss over FedEx.

If you're a writer being handled by a large agency, or being published by a large publisher, FedEx and the like is fine, and my editors almost always want a copy edited manuscript returned in such a manner.


So is that a nay on the Fed Ex? Sounds to me like the U.S. Postal Service, priority, and a tracking number are sufficient and preferable.

ORION
04-18-2007, 01:53 AM
Here in Hawaii US postal is problematic. So is UPS. I have always used some type of Fed Ex for nearly everything.
I did use priority mail when I was querying and when I wanted to send pages. Depending on where you live in the country (world) you will find other options that may meet your needs better or be preferable due to expense.

Kristin Landon
04-18-2007, 02:51 AM
My (large) publisher sends me things by FedEx Ground. I've never used them myself. Sending in the final ms. and returning the copyedit, I used FedEx with no signature; I wanted to know it would arrive on the date I promised.

However, I used USPS for the initial submission: nothing flashy would do for that!

job
04-18-2007, 06:28 AM
The last time I sent a ms by USPS, priority mail ... it took a month to get there. (That's why it was the last time I used USPS for a ms.)

UPS, FedEx and DHL serve me well and have never lost anything.

I mail a lot of stuff by USPS. They've lost at least three boxes in the last year.

eric11210
04-18-2007, 06:39 AM
Just as an FYI, if you want to use the USPS and have a paypal account, click this link:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now

You can use it to ship USPS priority mail with a tracking number included for free. And the best part is you don't have to wait online. Either request free package pickup or just walk right up to any window in your local post office and tell them you have a pre-paid package.

Post office rules say pre-paid packages, you don't have to wait on line. You just walk to a window and hand it to them. Most people don't know this and they don't tell you unless you ask. I found out after a forty-five minute wait on line and I asked, is there anywhere I can drop this off so I don't have to sit on line? And they told me I don't ever have to sit on line. Just walk right up and hand it to anyone at a window.

Eric

Dave.C.Robinson
04-19-2007, 03:39 AM
Personally, I don't trust FedEX. I had a bad experience with them and ever since have considered them the best advertisement for UPS I've ever seen.

What killed them for me was the followup.

A friend shipped something FedEX, and it didn't arrive. We called them and were told they could not find the address. We had a shared driveway, with our house in front, with foot high numbers on the house, as well as numbers on the mailbox (our mailbox was the one in front) and another house behind us. FedEX could find them just fine.

I called the local depot (no car at the time) and confirmed the address. Then they refused a second delivery attempt. I spoke to a manager who flatly said "we don't redeliver if the address is wrong" and this was AFTER I had confirmed the address with someone who read it off the package.

I'm not impressed.

Anyone else gets my money first.

I'd go with USPS myself.

Kentuk
04-19-2007, 04:53 AM
I'm not sure I'd send manuscripts USPS media rate but my wife trades books all the time, the rate can't be beat, she has swapped hundreds of books without one going astray and it seldom takes three days. Her paperbacks cost her $1.86.

Sage
04-19-2007, 05:14 AM
Well, I have a problem with the USPS, now. I sent a query w/ five pages & a synopsis with them. I decided to ask for Delivery Confirmation so I could look up whether the agent got it. I've seen so many people worry on here & other sites, & I figured this way, I'd know. I was going to send First Class, but the postal worker told me it would require a signature from the recipient, & I know that's a big no-no. I told her I wanted it to be delivered even if nobody was at the agency that day & I didn't want to give the agent/assistant a hassle to get it. The postal worker suggested Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. I went with that.

So I looked it up today (I had two things I sent out w/ delivery confirmation, & the other was actually more important, but I was curious about this too), & it said they tried to deliver it on Saturday, left a notice, & it could be redelivered or someone could pick it up. So I called to see if they'd redeliver.

Apparently, only the recipient can request redelivery. I pointed out that it was a business & it wasn't open on Saturday, but would be today. Nope, only the recipient. I told them that the recipient probably wouldn't do that, & that even if they did, they probably wouldn't be too happy with me for making them work to get my query..., they told me that if the agency didn't request redelivery, they'd wait fifteen days, then send it back to me (so I can pay again to send it out).

What kills me is that it got there on Saturday 'cuz I went with Priority, & that I mentioned that I didn't want a hassle for the recipient AND that they wouldn't be there on Saturday, yet the postal worker didn't say, "Oh, if it's delivered on Saturday, they'll have to do something to get it anyway."

So any chance the agent will call to have it redelivered? And if so, are they going to frown upon my submission when they finally get it? This is an agent I was really excited about, & I had a good feeling about this submission, up until now. Someone give me some hope here.

Elektra
04-19-2007, 05:22 AM
Sage, this is peripheral from your actual question, but I would strongly suggest not paying $4.05 (plus delivery confirmation) on queries. Query+five sample pages+SASE fit very well into a standard #10 envelope--just be sure to stick an extra stamp on there.

MightyScribbler
04-19-2007, 05:44 AM
Well, I sent my stuff USPS today, they had me tape it and now I'm paranoid that I didn't tape it securely enough. Since it was unbound material, I'm worried my full is spread all over the place on some truck on the new jersey turn pike. The lady I dealt with didn't seem to care about me, my package, the soundness or lack there of of my taping job, or anything really. I think I may go with UPS or FedEx next time. What I'd love to do but probably shouldn't is once my delivery conf says it arrived, email the agent's assistant who requested the full and confirm that it arrived in one piece - am I aloud to do that?

Sage
04-19-2007, 06:25 AM
Sage, this is peripheral from your actual question, but I would strongly suggest not paying $4.05 (plus delivery confirmation) on queries. Query+five sample pages+SASE fit very well into a standard #10 envelope--just be sure to stick an extra stamp on there.
Well, yeah, that's part of the reason I'm annoyed. I never would have done Priority, except that it was the only way to get delivery confirmation (which is only $.50 extra, so not much more than that extra stamp, which may not be necessary (another reason I took it to the post office was to get exact postage)). Since I won't be asking for delivery confirmation anymore (& probably would have only done it for this one, since I was so excited about this particular agent), you don't have to worry about that being a problem for me.

Sage
04-19-2007, 06:28 AM
What I'd love to do but probably shouldn't is once my delivery conf says it arrived, email the agent's assistant who requested the full and confirm that it arrived in one piece - am I aloud to do that?
I'm sure someone more qualified than me will come along with the real answer ;) but I would think that'd be okay, seeing as the full was requested & you're e-mailing the assistant, not the agent.

MightyScribbler
04-19-2007, 06:30 AM
I'm sure someone more qualified than me will come along with the real answer ;) but I would think that'd be okay, seeing as the full was requested & you're e-mailing the assistant, not the agent.


Maybe, I'll ask around. It sucks, it seems we walk on egg shells when it comes to agents. I guess we're all afraid they're ticking time bombs just waiting to go off at the slightest mistake on our part.

johnrobison
04-19-2007, 06:52 AM
You know, I have sent quite a bit of mail in my life, and how much truly got lost in transit? A fraction of a percent?

9 out of 10 "lost in the mail" stories are other ways of saying "I don't have the money" or "I'm not interested."

I'd put a stamp on, mail it, and save the worries and the dollars.

Elektra
04-19-2007, 07:40 AM
What I'd love to do but probably shouldn't is once my delivery conf says it arrived, email the agent's assistant who requested the full and confirm that it arrived in one piece - am I aloud to do that?

It'll arrive in one piece. I promise. And on the off-chance it doesn't, the assistant will E-mail you and say "Hey, we got a box from you that came open in the mail. Please resend."

Right now, concentrate on getting more queries out there in case this one is a no.

MightyScribbler
04-20-2007, 12:02 AM
It'll arrive in one piece. I promise. And on the off-chance it doesn't, the assistant will E-mail you and say "Hey, we got a box from you that came open in the mail. Please resend."

Right now, concentrate on getting more queries out there in case this one is a no.


you really think they'll contact me if the package arrives with missing or destroyed material? That's a relief if that's the case.

Teraphim
04-20-2007, 01:08 AM
i'm still looking for the secret postal service that thomas pynchon undoubtedly uses.

i have to ship everything overseas when i ship anything. i've seen fedex and ups around here, but not really as commonly as the good old deutsche post shops.

the most annoying part is coming up with something honest but concealing to write on the stupid customs form i have to fill out.

i've taken up the nondescript term, "business documentation".

i wouldn't want some overzealous customs official to pop open some novel that might have something to do with current events (books do that, after all) and thus cause all kinds of annoying who knows what.

victoriastrauss
04-20-2007, 01:13 AM
I use Express Mail from USPS. I've been using it for years, and it has yet to let me down--whether I send regular envelopes, padded envelopes, or boxes. It is very reliable, and things arrive intact. There's also a handy tracking number so you can check the USPS website to see when it arrived.

- Victoria

Elektra
04-20-2007, 02:49 AM
you really think they'll contact me if the package arrives with missing or destroyed material? That's a relief if that's the case.


They asked you for the material. They want to read it. They aren't doing you a favor. Of course they'd contact you if they got nothing but an empty box.