Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wish I Knew Wednesday #1

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For the next few Wednesdays, I'm going to be sharing some things I have learned along this writing journey. They are out of the ordinary things that I usually learned the hard way and wish I had known much sooner. Hope it is helpful!

Wish I Knew #1: (This is a general rule, not true in every case -- but widely true and something to give consideration)

Your e mail address can keep editors/agents from opening your query.

Explanation:

Many (not all) editors/agents do not open e mail addresses that are not names. For example hotchick(at)whatever(dot)com or bestmommyever(at)something(dot)com.

Why?

They get a lot of emails and spam and are very cautious about possible viruses or other malware. If they run their mouse over your email address and the name that pops up does not match the address, they will most likely delete the e mail w/out opening it.

Additional fact: unless specifically requested, they will NOT open attachments. If you query via e mail and include pages, you MUST include them in the body of your text.

How I know this is true:

I queried under my family e mail address. It was benign, but not my name. Weeks and months passed w/out any responses. Then I read this post on Janet Reid's site about how she does not open any mail sent from such accounts.

I realized how that might explain why 0% of the queries I sent received responses. I then re-sent them under my tesshilmo(at)whatever(dot)com

and - bingo!

responses.

So - if you are waiting to hear back on queries sent under a generic e mail, know that they may have been deleted.

Seriously consider having an e mail account with your name. It appears more professional (imho) and will give you a fighting chance that the targeted recipient will actually open your query.



Invitation: have you learned things along this path that you'd like to share? Feel free to host your own Wish I Knew Wednesday...it will be fun to learn from each other!

Questions: Did you know this? Do you have your name as your e mail? Have you experienced any trouble w/ a non-name e mail address?
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31 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

I discovered this a while back but I've always used my name in my address for writing. I just wanted a separate acct. for family and writing stuff and it accidentally turned out in my favor. Who knew?

Yunaleska said...

I created one of my accounts this year for the sole purpose that it did have my full name. I wanted it for my review blog, but it is going to be useful for queries too!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I remember reading that post from Janet Reid and I got my own email at that point. Although maybe I should have gotten my real name instead of SolvangSherrie...

Scott said...

Tess - I didn't know this until I read Janet's post, probably at the same time you did. Luckily, even using my generic email address that gives no vital information away about my identity, all my queries got through. How do I know? Because I received the rejection emails! Ha!

Still, after reading that post, I did create a name specific email to use when I start querying again.

Sigh - so many rules, so little time to learn them all!

S

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I read that post. This is one you wouldn't think of right away, but it makes perfect sense for demonstrating professionalism. Good to get this one out there as much as possible.
~ Wendy

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, I heard this and it makes really good sense to have a more professional e-mail account.

Karen said...

My old one (and still personal one) was my name with my birth year. I switched to just my name with middle initial for professional correspondence, and I'm able to have it delivered to the same inbox.

Tess said...

And here I thought I would teach something today,.....you guys are so with it :D

storyqueen said...

Yikes......


Not sure what I'm gonna do about this.....



Shelley

Linda Kage said...

WOW, I did not know this. But is makes sense. And double wow, I'm excited I've been doing at least ONE thing write in my submission process. Yay, me. Thanks, Tess.

Cindy said...

That's a good bit of advice. It's already so tough to get our stuff seen by agents, it's best not to make that any harder. My last name is in mine so I don't think I've had any problem so far, though there have been a few random queries I haven't heard back from over the years. I think that's just because they don't respond unless they're interested.

Lisa and Laura said...

This is great advice! Love this new feature!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Wow, this is great advice! I did receive responses to my generic email, but not completely. I think I will create an "official" one for the next time I submit. THANK YOU!

Tamika: said...

Great point Tess!

My husband and I decided when creating my account that since I was serious about pursuing writing that it would look more professional to use my name.

Aside from that my memory is too foggy to retain anything else!

Ava Walker Jenkins said...

I did not know this. Thanks for the helpful hints. Glad I already have at least this small step done correctly.

Lynnette Labelle said...

I never thought about it, but it makes sense.

I have something for you on my blog. :)

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

lotusgirl said...

I remember reading the Janet Reid post. My email is my initials with my last name. the same for my blog address. This answering questions on wed. is a great idea. Thanks.

Patti said...

I read that this week and hope, like Lois, that my initials are okay.

Jill Kemerer said...

At the very least, write your name in the subject line, like Jill Kemerer Query, or something. Good advice, Tess.

Tess said...

All good things to think about -- like Cindy said, we want to make it as easy for them as possible. I am sure initials are fine. No hard and fast rules in this game and I love that we can share these lessons with each other.

thansk for coming over and weighin in :)

Susan R. Mills said...

My email is my first initial and my last name. I never thought of this, and I never had any problem getting responses, but you make a good point. I can see why an agent wouldn't open an email from an odd address.

Robyn Campbell said...

WHEW! At least I'm doing one thing right. Sheesh. :) I think I will join you Tess on Wish I Knew Wednesday. Except unplug week. It sounds interesting. I have learned a lot and might have something to share that might help someone else.

So starting next week it's Wish I Knew. :) Thanks pal and sending you lots of hugs!!

Danyelle said...

I think I learned about this from Miss Snark. But it's always good to have a reminder. I set up an account with my name that's pretty much just for agenty stuff. :)

ElanaJ said...

This is beyond true. And since it's free to get an email address with your name, why not do it? Great info Tess!

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, interesting. I sent from Corey at hopplop dot com. Wonder if first name isn't enough?

Also, hop plop is the name of my first book. Maybe it needs to be a recognizable provider like yahoo or gmail?

Jody Hedlund said...

Very intersting, Tess! I guess it just goes to show that the more professional we take ourselves and our writing career, then the more seriously we'll be taken!

Alex Moore said...

good advice, for sure. i'm curious: did you tweak your query letter before you sent it out again? or was the magic element the email address change?

Kelly H-Y said...

Great information. I changed my address to my name when I first started submitting ... glad to hear that was a good move!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Good to know. Luckily, I use a name email account, but jeez have I seen some interesting email addresses in my life. lol. I don't blame agents for not opening some of them.

Tess said...

thanks for taking the time! I hope a few of you do your own Wish I Knew Wed because I'd love to learn some of the things other writers have picked up along the way.

and, Alex: exact same query, exact same agents. only four...but still interesting.

Regina Quentin said...

Found you from a link on Jill Kemerer's blog. This is a great tidbit that you have shared. This is one of the main things I try to stress with my clients. Everything on the web is traceable and we must put forth the most professional face possible.

Thank you for the post.