Recently, Janet Reid pointed out the importance of a businesslike email on her blog, and I started to reconsider the gmail account I’ve been using for my writing. My username included the phrases “cloud” and “hime” (Japanese for princess), which, I realized, probably wasn’t going to get my writing taken all that seriously.
So I created a new email through my website, http://www.kbmccoy.com/ (linked through Outlook), and I’ve already noticed the following benefits:
1. The new email includes my website in the address
This will help my raise the prevalance of my site when I query. Plus, it looks more professional and indicates that I take my writing seriously.
2. Outlook allows me to better manage my task load
This was a huge revelation. Until now, I’ve been fielding conference preparations, agent lists, blog responses, websites with useful info, and writing correspondences in gmail, which is also a landing ground for a lot of my more general email. I was getting overwhelmed trying to manage everything I had to get done. Lesson: Never use your email inbox as a to-do list. However, Outlook has a very handy task tool that lets me set my to-do list separate from my email, and I’m already breathing a lot easier.
3. No more formatting issues that hinder progress
Gmail does a lot of great things, but something it doesn’t do naturally is double-spaced formatting (which, from what I understand, is the format manuscript pages should be in, even when they’re embedded in email). With Outlook, this is no problem, which lessens the number of steps to get a query sent (and makes mistakes less likely).
What benefits have you had from changing your writing email to something more businesslike?
Less spam! I have a yahoo address that is used nearly exclusively for queries–never used to register on websites or whatever. It means I have to take an extra step and log into it, but it also means when an email comes in it's likely to be important. There have been a few false alarms for Highlights announcements (I applied for a conference a long time ago)but the majority of emails to this address are business related.
Ooh, good one! My new Outlook email has a pretty good spam filter (at least so far!)
I use gmail but its a business email linked back to my website. It just looks more professional.
Does Gmail work to format your manuscript? Is it Google Docs? I use Word and attach the document. That way there's no risk that it will unformat itself before it gets to an agent/publisher's desk.
Hi Eliza–that's a good solution…most agents (at least here in the US)don't accept attachments in email, so a lot of aspiring writers are left to figure out how to format within the body of the email in a way that doesn't make an agent want to scratch their eyes out.
Gmail doesn't do much for formatting (at least in my experience), and I've found Outlook a better candidate for this.