Monday, November 05, 2012

Post-office, Pre-view

Sometimes I swear that small presses must be keeping Canada Post busier than holiday cards and packages from doting grandmothers alike.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to sit on a panel about poetry reviewing in Canada, and my initial reaction was to consider my recent experience with reviewing: not writing reviews, or even necessarily reading all that many reviews; instead, I've been at the other side of the review process, stuffing many, many envelopes with books to send out for review by various publications.

Lots of shelf space. Perfect for stacking with many more envelopes.
And with the great reviews we've been getting recently, from publications across Canada and around the world such as The National Post, Landfall, and Quill & Quire, just to name drop a few, all that stuffing, stamping, sticking and licking seems to be paying off.

The last few copies waiting for the courier.
It's one of the things I didn't think I'd become an expert on, but has certainly been useful, working in publishing: the art of mailing. How to fold press releases most efficiently, how to use the mail merge function in Microsoft Word, why it's better to save your tongue and just tape up the envelopes, and, on a related note, how to use a tape gun correctly (a skill I have still yet to perfect, judging by the tangles in which I frequently find myself).

Plus, there's the human aspect of mailing, the going to the post office (or chatting with the courier when they turn up at the store). Even in my brief time at the Emeryville location, I spent a great deal of time counting envelopes and chatting with the very friendly staff at the Emeryville post office, who probably wanted to run away at the sight of us carrying in several large boxes full of mail to go out at once.

Despite the click/send/receive speed of emails and attachments, I've probably sent more physical, brown paper envelope with stamps and post marks mail in the last few months than I have in my entire life. I've seen people start internet groups for letter mailing just to receive something physical in their (non-virtual) mailboxes. There's some cultural cache in receiving letter-mail (as long as it's not just a bill or a flyer). Even getting (what are usually rejection) letters by mail from literary journals is exciting. The ripping open of your SASE, and the few seconds of anticipation before you see the result, the signature from the editor, and promptly file the thing away with the rest of them. Here's hoping that the reviewers who receive these copies feel as excited tearing into the envelopes. And that they find the contents substantially more enjoyable.

In other, somewhat related news, another much-anticipated arrival has been our new sidewalk sign. While it didn't arrive in the mail (a little large for the post box, don't you think?), I'd been waiting almost as anxiously for it as I had been waiting for the awning. Another big design project. More fears of giant pixels and accidental low-resolution file transfers. Luckily, again, all was well, and tada, our new sign is beautiful and ready to go outside for our grand opening (November 16th)! Make sure you come by in person to see it, plus experience all the excitement of the opening.

art by Seth
That's all for now.
 Time to stuff some envelopes.


1 comment:

saleema said...

Small presses and aspiring writers, too (to a lesser degree). I definitely developed a relationship with the clerk at my local post office when I was at the stage of sending out lots of SASE submissions to literary journals and publishers.

Congrats on the new digs -- love the new sign, too!