A prospective first-time author dropped her manuscript into my mailbox yesterday, but I did not know this. Today, she phoned to say that her manuscript had been stolen.
But then it had been recovered.
This has never happened before. Then again, the author had not pre-arranged a drop-off time, but still... The manuscript was stolen from my mailbox.
A woman who was walking her dog in my neighbourhood had found the opened bubble envelope in a nearby park. The writer had put her contact information on the outside of the package, so the good neighbour phoned the writer and made arrangements for her to pick up the already opened and abandoned envelope.
The neighbour also went back to the park later to follow the bicycle tracks a little farther into the bush. She found a couple more crumpled-up pages that belonged in the manuscript.
So by the time the writer picked up her manuscript from the wonderfully kind neighbour, all the pages were intact and the story was whole again.
To this neighbour, I and my prospective author are grateful. Thank you, thank you, for being a good soul.
So today, the writer arranged to hand-deliver her manuscript to me, which is always recommended and apparently even more important at this time of year leading up to Christmas. The writer decided that since she had not tucked the envelope down into my mailbox and it was visible from the street, someone had probably hoped it held something of financial value and had stolen it. (Insert your own joke here about how books are only of value to a few people such as the author and publisher.)
So what have we learned here today?
- Always arrange to hand-deliver a manuscript or send it by registered mail so you can prove that it was received by the intended recipient.
- Always keep several copies - electronic and/or printed - of your documents in case something untoward happens to them.
- Always write your name and contact information on your manuscript/document.
- Always write your name, manuscript title, date, and a page number on the top (header) of each of your document pages - which is particularly helpful when the pages end up in the snow or elsewhere and you have to put them back in order again.
- Always tuck an envelope down all the way into the mailbox to hide it from view if possible.
- Never send cash in the mail.
- Always pray for those who are having such a hard time that they resort to theft during the holidays or any time of year.
- Always be grateful for good people. And writers with stories to tell.