Letter Journal Love – 6. Posting your journal

WHEN DO I POST MY NEWLY MADE JOURNAL?

Once a swap group has been formed and everyone has made their handmade letter journal, they all post them at around the same time. Each person’s journal is circulating the group from the beginning of the swap. Imagine 4 ‘pass the parcels’ (that’s an Australian kids game – do you have it where you live?) being handed around a circle AT THE SAME TIME.

Now of course you need a few days after joining a swap to be ready to post your journal. This usually takes a somewhere from few days to a week  from deciding to join a swap together. It is important to know that you don’t have to send it out the very next day, but a month would probably be too long. A week (or two at the absolute maximum) usually feels just right.

DO WE ALL HAVE TO POST AT THE SAME TIME?

Once your group is formed and you have agreed to swap, then you just post the journal when it is ready and made. It’s not important for the posting to be synchronised down to the day but it is best if everyone posts them out the same week.

WHO DO I TELL WHEN I POST IT?

Communicate with your group about when you post it (via your private FB message group) and let them know too when you receive theirs. You can also use the Facebook group to share photos of envelopes coming and going (just cover people’s addresses please) and the insides of journals you receive.

WHAT IS THE POSTAGE COST?

The postage cost if you keep to the weight limits for a STANDARD stamp will be whatever a letter costs to post in your jurisdiction. It’s your responsibility to cover all postage costs that you incur in the swap. Check with your mail provider. This will be for 4 x whatever postage each letter costs. Local postage will be cheaper than international postage. You need to keep your letter journal light enough and then enough that it only costs the same as a standard letter to post.

WHY IS THERE A WEIGHT LIMIT?

We try to keep all swaps to the minimum postage for that size envelope. That means being under the weight limits for a ‘standard’ letter. In Australia that’s under 50g for an international letter and under 250g for a local letter, costing $2.75 or $1.00 respectively – at the time this post was written.

So if your swap is all Australians your LJ plus envelope plus any freebies must weight less than 250g.

If your swap is an international one but includes one Australian in the group, the weight must be under 50g.

If in doubt use your kitchen scales to weigh or get the post office to weigh it and confirm your postage is correct. You will get the hang of the weights and costs soon.

 

HOW CAN I KEEP POSTAGE COSTS DOWN?

  • Keep them under the standard letter weight (e.g. in Australia that’s under 50g for an international letter and under 250g for a local letter, costing $2.75 or $1.00 respectively – at the time this post was written).
  • Make sure they are not BULKY. Thick letters sometimes end up costing more even if they are light. Remember back to the module on making your journals where I said avoid thick wool or embroidery threads – that is why.

WHAT IF I DON’T CARE ABOUT WEIGHT AND I’M HAPPY TO PAY EXTRA FOR POSTAGE?

Then you’ll need to find three other people who also don’t care and want to go free range and forget the weight limits. You need to specify that at the start when you call a swap.

Unless it is explicitly mentioned you’ll need to assume that the swap is sticking to standard weight limits. DO NOT just stick extra stamps on your envelope and hope for the best in a standard swap.

Things to think about if this is you:

  • there may be people in the group who for financial or mobility reasons can’t go to the post office and get each envelope weighed and the postage calculated, it is far easier to know that the envelope is light enough and can use a standard stamp
  • Once envelopes start getting heavy and bulky you can end up paying parcel prices
  • Everyone in the group will have to pay extra postage on your heavy envelope, not just you

So to be fair and accessible we try to keep all swaps within the standard weight unless a small group have agreed to do otherwise in their swap 🙂

DON’T ANNOY CUSTOMS

Things like shells, animal or plant materials and lumpy envelopes are bound to annoy customs and could well be in breach of quarantine rules. Please limit your materials to paper and avoid food items, shells, leaves, feathers etc. in your envelopes or as part of your journals.

INCLUDING A SMALL GIFT FOR THE NEXT PERSON

We sometimes include something small made out of paper for the person who will receive the journal we are posting, i.e. the next person in the swap order.

WHAT TO ENCLOSE AS GIFTS? Does the owner of the book prepare gifts for all members or do we enclose just for the person after us?

The gift thing varies and can range from nothing (which is fine!), to some small random paper scraps, or a postcard, or a small gift tag, to a small handmade piece of art for the person you are posting to or for eveyone! It’s not expected so getting anything is fun. No pressure and it shouldn’t cost you anything. Specific ideas are a few bits of paper eg punched flowers, a hand drawn image, a few postage stamps, left over bits of Gelli prints, or some stickers if you have too many. Whatever you decide to do remember that the weight of your LJ plus bits needs to be a one stamp weight and thickness.

ONCE THE SWAP IS RUNNING WHEN DO I POST THINGS?

Let’s imagine a letter journal has arrived in the post – yah! lucky you! The next step is to work in it. Then post it on. Please try to get it back in the post no later than a week after receiving it. We like to keep things moving.

ENVELOPES

DO decorate your envelopes

DO include a small gift of paper things (materials or a little artwork you’ve made)

DO make sure your recipients address is correct (including postcode) and that you have put your return address on the letter too

DO seal the envelope with some tape if the seal looks iffy

DO write ‘documents only’ on the back, especially if the envelope feels a little lumpy

DO make sure there is sufficient postage and that if your journal is to heavy you have made the journal lighter

NOTE: You will need to make just one journal for each swap you are in. You will receive this journal back at the end of the swap.

ljl-envelopes


 

CHECKLIST

♥ Do you know when to post your first journal?

♥ Do you get that each journal you receive should be back in the post within a week (ish)?

♥ Have you checked the prices of stamps and know that you can afford to join in?

♥ Are you clear that there is a weight limit and that it’s your responsibility to keep the journal light enough when you make it?

♥ Do you understand that you need to double check addresses and also put your own address on envelopes in case it needs to be returned to sender?

♥ Are you sticking to paper and art supplies and not going to include any plant to animal matter to annoy customs?

♥ Do you understand that we sometimes include a small paper gift inside the envelopes but that it’s optional, and of no real monetary value?

 

If so my friend you are now fully inducted into the ways of posting letter journals!!!

The next step in your induction and training is to read Module 7 – Working in someone else’s journal. Please don’t join your first swap before you’ve completed every module.

Looking forward to seeing your lovely work, swapping with you and having fun.