MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Email Etiquette

Writers love to write, but sometimes writing can be counterproductive. Have you noticed that it takes your agent, manager, or coach what feels like forever to answer your email? Here are some suggestions for more efficient email management: 

1) Don’t read “tone” into emails. Busy people tend to be brusque and to the point. So should you. If you’re upset about something or think the other person is, get on the phone instead (by setting up a telecom).

2) Keep your emails SHORT. By short, I mean, 1-2 lines, 3 at most! You will get quicker responses.

3) Keep your emails tightly organized, but NOT in outline form,

4) Make them READER FRIENDLY—in a readable typeface, that is not in angry UPPER CASE LETTERS.

5) Focus your email on a SINGLE SUBJECT. If you have questions, that means ONE question. If you have more than one question,

6) Write another email for another subject or question. Although sending a bunch of emails will get you into the doghouse, sending a few with single subjects will make you appreciated by your target.

7) Long rambling emails, written like letters to your best friends (in the old days), will often be (a) deleted, (b) ignored, (c) filed in the LATER file, or (d) printed out to be dealt with on long trips or when time allows.

8) If you’re wondering how to wrap your head around proper email etiquette, think TWEETING. Short tweats are allowed, long ones not.

9) Make sure to change your SUBJECT LINE each time you initiate a new email. Nothing is more annoying than a long series of emails with the same ancient SUBJECT LINE. Not only that, but it makes it nearly impossible to file the emails efficiently!

Of course, the suggestions above apply only to commercial literary communications, not to dating, political ranting, or joke dissemination. And one more thing,

10) Take your literary representation OFF your political and joke target list!
Remember, “less is better and faster,” use common sense, and respect the other person’s time.

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