Five Things I Learned about Bulk Shipments

Dear Reader,

Bulk shipments are any small business owner’s nightmare if not done properly. When Haunting Miss Trentwood was released, I handled shipping orders of multiple copies to thirty people, and boy was that a learning experience. Here are five things I learned-while-doing that might benefit you.

1. Don’t buy packaging from the post office.

The first 75% of the packages were sent with ReadyPost packaging which ate a lot more money than I expected, sadly. Props to my mother for shaking her head at me and mentioning that I can get bubble mailers from the dollar store for 36% the price I was paying.

2. Do make mailing labels!

One day I shipped fifteen packages, each with signature copies, personalized notes, and handwritten addressing. My fingers ached for a week after. I went home and printed off mailing labels with the Bright Bird Press logo for the last two shipments and I’m so happy I did.

3. Media mail is your friend.

Media mail is the cheapest way to ship any sort of media, which means it must be a book, CD, DVD, etc. The shipment cannot include anything other than media, so the soaps meant half of the packages couldn’t be the cost-effective shipment method I assumed I could use. When soap is included, parcel post is your friend.

4. Be organized at the post office.

I know my visits could have been far more stressful than they were had I not been so organized. When I was buying the packaging from the post office, I would arrive with my supplies, all covered in post-its so I knew what materials went to whom. Don’t do that. It’s really tiring. Instead, buy packaging as mentioned in #1, get everything ready for the post office, and then arrive with your shipment organized by shipping method.

“This batch is media mail. This batch is parcel post. No, I do not need confirmation. Yes, this is all on one card. Why yes, I have done this before, how can you tell?”

5. Keep your receipts!

This is a small business, so I have a separate account just for purchases. I need to keep all my receipts so I can mark out what was shipping, what was packaging, what was materials and products, etc. I have spreadsheets at home that I need to fill out so I have an actual record of everything.

Do you have any additional tips that people should keep in mind if they are shipping out physical books or swag?