I'm just back from a writing conference that produced a lot of interesting lessons. Not all of them were for the writers!
Before the conference started I got the names and addresses of all the writers who would be meeting with me for one on one sessions. I wrote to them, introduced myself, gave my blogs addresses and invited them to send their queries ahead of time so we could get a head start on revisions.
Within minutes of sending these emails, I received a harrumphing reply from one: "Please take me off your mailing list!"
Whoa! What?? I was so surprised I tweeted about it.
Of course, I got in touch with the conference director at once; this was really an off-putting reply!
The conference director replied almost at once: turns out we'd missed a middle initial in the writer's email address which was also his name. It wasn't Felix Buttonweazer at gmail. It was Felix M. Buttonweazer!
I emailed the correct Felix and all was well. When I met him at the conference we had a good laugh about it.
But, I also emailed the wrong Felix to thank him for being miffed enough to write back. Without that "get me off this list" harrumph reply, we'd have never known. And might have made some pretty wrong assumptions about the Felix who wasn't.
I was reminded of that when I got an odd email tonight: "Dear Janet, here's a book you might want for your holiday list."
Ohhh...hold on. I bet this writer wants ANOTHER Janet. Like maybe Janet Rudolph who runs Mystery Readers Journal, or Janet Hutchings the editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
I wrote back "I think you want a different Janet" and sure enough she did.
Sometimes I've wondered if responding to emails obviously sent in error was a good idea.
After these two things within a week of each other, I think it is.
The sender doesn't know if email goes astray without that reply. Of course, that leaves all those people who hit "send to all" when they announce the publication of their book (the one they queried me for and I passed on two years ago.) I'll still hit delete on those.