I've heard of a few cases recently where story submissions sent by post have been rejected and returned, and the writer has ended up having to pay excess postage.
This has happened for two different reasons:
- Lots of stories have been stuffed into a single SAE, taking the weight over the limit.
- An A5 SAE supplied by the writer has been taped onto an A4 envelope. The stamp supplied by the writer was only sufficient to cover small letter costs.
As you can imagine, it's very frustrating for a writer (or anyone!) to get one of those notes from the postman, saying they need to pay £1.50 or so to retrieve the letter. (You have to pay the excess postage plus a £1 admin fee.) The recipient has no idea what the letter will be until they pay the excess and collect the letter or have it redelivered.
So, please, if responding by email is not possible, please put a single rejection in the supplied envelope. If the writer has sent an A5 envelope, simply fold the submission. It will easily fit with one fold.
An alternative is for writers to stop supplying SAEs, and instead supply a stamped, addressed postcard marked with the story title and the word Rejection. The magazine staff could then simply post this and bin the story itself - if that would be acceptable to all?
Obviously none of this applies to those magazines who now use email only for submissions and responses, but there are still a few who prefer postal submissions (Take A Break, Woman's Weekly in particular). That's ok, we're happy to send by post, but we'd really prefer not to have to pay to get rejections!