I find humor in the self-addressed stamped envelopes that I include with all of my query letters to literary agents sent via the post office. Along with my titillating one-page query outlining my book, my qualifications, and all the other goodies I spent more than a year writing, I include this pre-stamped envelope. This envelope is included with my query for the sole purpose of rejecting my query. It just all seems very negative.
I suppose I have the option of not including the SASE. From my point of view, it would elevate the positive nature of my query because it wouldn't be weighed down by that rejection envelope. But, if I did that, then those literary agencies not interested in my book proposal wouldn't even make the effort to properly reject me (but then I would have had nothing to dance on either). I realize that most of these agencies get hundreds or thousands of query letters like mine -- well not exactly like mine -- every single month. And I should feel grateful that they take the effort to dignify my query with a somewhat dignified form letter. I guess I'd rather have that form letter than the total silence I've also gotten from some agencies. Those agencies that chose NOT to reply also received a SASE. And what did they do with my SASE? Did they steam off the stamp and use if for something else? Or did they just toss it -- stamp and all -- into the recycle bin? It all seems very wasteful. That is why I love the agencies that use phrases on their submission guidelines that go something like this: "We accept queries by regular mail and through email, but prefer email (saves trees!)."
And email submission are very gratifying. I press send and it's instantly waiting to be read. Not to mention, accepting email queries lets me know that their agency is firmly rooted somewhere in the 21st Century. The post office isn't completely antiquated just yet. Although with online bill pay, and email with Auntie, and videoconferencing with Grammy, and iTunes, I don't really need the post office all that much. Oh, except for delivering my packages from eBay and Amazon.com. That I could not do without.