How Does an International Author Get Postage to Have SASEs Returned?

Author:
Publish date:

Q: I live outside the United States. Most queries require a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE), but if I put my own country’s stamp on the SASE, it won’t be valid when posted back from the United States. How does an international author get postage to have SASEs returned? —Bhaskar Majumdar

A: Don’t fret, as others have encountered the same problem. In fact, it became such an issue back in 1906, that the Universal Postal Union (UPU) gathered at a convention in Rome to discuss remedies. After hours of thinking, debating and, perhaps, thumb-wrestling, the International Reply Coupon (IRC) was born.

IRCs are green paper coupons that transfer funds in exchange for postage from other countries. According to the UPU, IRCs are exchangeable in all member countries for the minimum postage of a priority item or an unregistered airmail letter sent to a foreign country. Though they’re not
required to sell IRCs, most post offices do, and it’s mandatory for all posts of the UPU member countries to exchange the coupons.

When buying IRCs, you need to know the weight of the envelope being returned, that country’s postal rates and the current currency exchange rate (generally found in the newspaper). It’s always better to overestimate on the cost.

Another option, if you have a printer and sticker paper, is to visit USPS.com and print out your own postage. You can select the country and it'll allow you to print in the correct format. Again, you'll have to have enough postage on it to cover its weight, so overestimate its postage costs.

NOTE: Do you have any suggestions on postage options for international writers? Please share in the comments section below.

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

Nawaaz Ahmed: On Personal Identity in Literary Fiction

Nawaaz Ahmed: On Personal Identity in Literary Fiction

Nawaaz Ahmed discusses how his personal experiences acted as the impetus for his new book, Radiant Fugitives, and how it went from novella to novel.

Comedy vs. Comity (Grammar Rules)

Comedy vs. Comity (Grammar Rules)

There's nothing funny about learning when to use comedy and comity (OK, maybe a little humor) with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Debut author Shugri Said Salh discusses how wanting to know her mother lead her to writing her coming-of-age novel, The Last Nomad.

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

Does your manuscript need a little more definition, but you’re not sure where to begin? Try these 100 tips to give your words more power.

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson discusses how she never gave up on her story, how she worked through internal doubts, and how research lead her out of romance and into historical fiction.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.