Princess of Snail Mail

Earlier this week, my dear friend Mary Robinette Kowal got a PO Box. It’s something I’ve put off for a long time. So when Mary mentioned the ease of procuring said PO Box, as well as her surprise that the costs were not nearly as high as she’d imagined, I kicked myself in the butt and clicked over to the website to fill out my application.

It really was that easy, and there was no wait at all for my PO Box. Things I did find out beyond Mary’s helpful list:

1. When you apply online, enter your address and it will automatically generate the closest post offices to you within a set-mile range. You will be a.) surprised to find that there may be closer post offices to you that you did not know about and b.) costs per box vary WIDELY based on location. The price for a size #3 PO Box at the post office closest to me was three times what it was at the main post office ($50). This screen will also tell you if the boxes are available, or if there is a wait.

2. You must bring two forms of picture ID with you to the post office (as well as a print out of your application with proof of payment) to pick up your keys. If you have listed anyone else as legally having access to the PO Box, they also need to be present, with two forms of picture ID. You can give your extra key to whomever you want, but for them to be on file, they need to present their IDs.


And that’s it! I now have a mailbox that you all can use to send me presents. The box is big enough to accommodate a magic wand, but not fairy wings or a unicorn. I’m sure the lovely post office folks will hold any fairy wings for me, though, should I receive any. They might have issues with the unicorn.

If you would like to send me books to sign: please include the book, a note telling me to whom you would like it inscribed, and a check for return postage. (You may want to include another envelope too, if you suspect that your own envelope will not withstand repacking and shipping). If you include your email address as well, I will happily drop you a quick line to tell you I’ve got it.

Without further ado, my fabulous magical new address is:
Alethea Kontis
PO Box 2024
Ashburn, VA 20146