Blogging Tip: In Praise of a Mail Service

Once in a while, I like to write brief posts that I hope other bloggers will find helpful. In this case, I am going to let my paranoid side show a little bit and encourage anyone getting more intensely involved in blogging to consider investing in a P.O. Box or mail service.

A few caveats before starting: I am located in the USA and mail laws vary from country to country. What applies to me may not apply worldwide.

With the upcoming publication of a book by an author who bragged about stalking a GoodReads reviewer and the memory of an enraged author attacking a different reviewer with a wine bottle, I thought it would be timely to make my case for not receiving blog-related mail at your place of residence.

In the first case mentioned, the author was able to obtain the reviewer’s home address by offering to send her swag. As your blog grows, you will find that you may receive offers of review copies, promotional material, etc. These items are helpful in providing inspiration for your writing but how do you receive them safely?

I am slightly paranoid about privacy, as you might have noticed, and I signed up for a postal service pretty early in my writing career. (In the USA, a postal service can be a better choice than a PO box as some businesses will not ship to the latter.) Basically, a business like a UPS store or something similar will receive mail and packages for you and you can pick them up at your leisure. For added security, my service is nowhere near where I live and is located in a busy shopping center.

I don’t mean to come off as too scary but… the genii will never go back in the bottle and once information like your address is out there, it’s difficult to scrub it away. (I also recommend periodically self-searching for your name to make sure information like your home address, email address or telephone number are not listed on public information sites.)

The cost for a postal service in my area is about $12/month paid annually and I consider it well worth it for the peace of mind it offers. If you decide to go this route, be sure to check ahead to see what identification the service accepts.

I hope you found this helpful. Stay safe and happy blogging!


  1. Ross

    I’ve had a PO box for years. Additional benefits are security (unless you have a secure letter box, but possibly still accessible to all), the automatic holding of mail by the post office if you’re out of town for shorter or longer periods, it works for quite large packages (the PO just puts a card in the box). All applying to Australia, though.
    A downside that you mention: the dogged and annoying refusal of some merchants to ship to a PO box number. I spent a couple of weeks watching over my post box for a hard to find DVD that I had finally located and bought via E-bay.
    I suspect that some courier services attempt to distort the market by excluding the postal organisations from the shipping chain.
    Occasionally I hear an unhappy story of a valuable item being dumped on a doorstep by a rogue courier filling his/her target for the day.

  2. Steve Phillips

    Nice of you to share that advice.
    Doesn’t sound paranoid to me. After all it may only take one off-balance person to make things miserable for someone else.

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