One of the first steps you need to do when you decide to publish a book is to go out and get yourself a PO Box. Why? One word: Security. Without a PO Box, you will be using your home address in places that it is easy for anyone to find. Do you want your readers to know exactly where you live? Would you want your Annie Wilkes to know where to find you? Probably not.
Here are just two places that you need to enter an address that the public has easy access to:
- Your domain name registration. All someone needs to do is run a WhoIs search on your website’s domain name and they will see your home address.
- Your newsletter/mailing list. If you use a service, such as MailChimp to run your email list, you need to give out your address (required by the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act), which is then plainly displayed to everyone who signs up for your email list. Yikes!
Someone may also be able to find you by searching your copyright registration or ISBN registration, although it takes a little more work to find you that way.
How To Get a PO Box
You can just take a trip down to your local Post Office and ask them about renting one. Or, you can search and sign up for available PO Boxes online at https://www.usps.com/manage/po-boxes.htm. You do not need a large one, the smallest box should be all you need for this purpose.
PO Boxes have different costs depending on their location. If the prices on the Post Office nearest you is high, check the prices a little farther out. For instance, a PO Box at the Post Office nearest me is $98 a year, but if I go to the one just a mile further out, its only $70 a year.
For even more security, you may want to consider publishing under a pen name, but let’s save that conversation for another article.
Get Notified When You Get Mail
Once you have your PO Box, you can sign up to the USPS’s Informed Delivery service to get an email with images of any mail that is due to be delivered to your box. That way you only need to drive down to check your PO Box when you know you have mail there.
Already Used Your Home Address?
Go get a PO Box right away, then go into all your accounts and change the address to the PO Box instead.
This post is part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop. A monthly hop for authors who want to learn more about being authors.
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