Getting Your Items Ready for a SWAU Send-In
This is a compilation of the send-in guides written by both Broderick Martin and myself.
If you have never participated in a send-in signing before, or are curious as to how better prepare your items, here are some tips that we put together for you use when getting your item ready.
Key Supplies to Have for a Send-In
Post-It Note Brand Sticky Notes (Specifically the non-Super Sticky version, especially if they’re neon)
Bold Pen to write with
Blue (or low tack) painter’s tape - do not use other types of tape as they will either damage the item or leave residue
Shipping Materials (Boxes, padding, shipping bubbles, tape)
Return Address Stamp with your name, address, and a valid email address on it. This allows for fast labeling that is repeatable and legible.
Key Steps to Labeling Your Items for a Send-in
Write and apply your autograph label appropriately according to these guidelines:
KISS (Keep It Simple, SWAU!) - that means keep the note simple and to the point, no need to write a paragraph. Basic information needed on a Post-it:
Any quote or character name (if you paid for it)
Pen Color Choice
Arrows pointing to desired “Autograph Area”
Be sure to write the autograph info legibly onto sticky note (see photos below), and if you want to “wall off” an area for the signer to stay in, be sure you don’t constrain them too much, to where they’re going to end up signing on part of the Post-It Note
Also, please do not think you can pull a fast one by sneaking in a quote/inscription/character name that you did not pay for (where applicable), the labels are checked ahead of the signing
Apply your return info label to the back of your item and Toploader or poster tube (if used):
With either pre-printed labels or Post-It notes with added painter’s tape (you don’t need a whole piece on either side, instead, cut a piece of tape in half and use that), include the following information:
Painter’s Tape should only be used on the back of an item
Do your own postage at home
PROTIP: Buy a mailing scale, half-sheet shipping labels, and print your shipping labels from online. This will save you significant time and effort as you can schedule a pickup at your house, or just drop it off at the post office without having to wait in lines
OR: Take to Post Office and hope that the automated machine is working, or wait in line to weigh and pay for your item
Track your outgoing items using USPS Informed Delivery service, or another package tracking app (For iOS, check out Deliveries)
Examples for Labeling Other Items
Poster with Multiple Signers
Things to note:
None of the Post-It Notes are touching/overlapping each other, and are not placed with the sticky portion on a signature
Signer, ink color preference, and signature placement are all annotated
Things to note:
The page to be signed is flagged with a Post-It Note for quick and easy access by the signer, and if the book is being signed by multiple people, identify each flag writing the signer’s last name on them.
Post-It Note indicating color preference and signing location is placed in a manner that gives signer the freedom of movement while signing
They’re pretty much the same when it comes to labeling photographs - Post-It Notes on the front identifying where to sign and in what color, with your name on the back, and the top loader labeled.
Before sending in your card, you must prep your card for signing, otherwise the signature may not stick or will not turn out that great! How do you do that and why is it important you ask? Check out our handy guide here on how to do that, as SWAU cannot be responsible for making sure that each individual card is ready to go.
Things to note:
Prep your card(s) to be signed prior to sending in
Put required Post-It Notes on the card
Put your card in a penny sleeve, and then put that in an appropriately sized toploader that has your address on it
Don’t put any tape on the card itself
Use a small strip of painter’s tape to go over the top of the toploader, to ensure the card doesn’t slide out in transit, but do not use any other tape like masking, packing, or duct tape.
Ship the toploader in a cardboard sandwich, to ensure proper protection.
Things to Remember Before Sending in Your Item
Read the rules of the signing and plan ahead.
Adhere to the deadlines for shipping and payment.
Label your item appropriately
Not all kinds of items may be taken.
Not all pen colors will be available or be guaranteed. If you have an item signed in a unique color or requires a certain pen, ask ahead of time if it will be available, and if not, if you can send in the pen with it.
Not all personalization/inscriptions are guaranteed unless noted otherwise.
Do not put a quote or personalization that you did not pay for, please follow the signing rules.
Do not go cheap on shipping. This means your packing material, item protection, and the level of shipping service.
Before sending in the item, re-read the terms of the service.
You are the only one who is responsible for tracking your send-in item(s), always use tracking.
Return shipping is taken care of at checkout and will be handled by SWAU
You will receive a shipping notification once the item has been shipped.
Enjoy your Autographs!
v2. Revised 16Jun20 - added cards