I recently received an email from an author I've long admired. I've yammered on about his books, tweeted about them, subscribed to his newsletter, the whole kit and caboodle.
Thus, when I got an email from the author and the subject line was From: (author's name) my first thought was "oh, it's the newsletter" and because I had 186 unanswered emails, and I am barely holding on to my sanity after almost two weeks away from work, I was poised to delete it unread. (The first trick of email triage is to discard news letters and news feeds if you're behind)
Thankfully some benevolent force in the universe stayed my fin/ger because it wasn't a newsletter, it was a query for representation.
I almost missed it! But really, I only want 15% of the blame for that. The other 85% is his for not using the subject line correctly.
If you are querying, put QUERY in the subject line. Even if you know me. Even if you know I know you're querying.
On this same note, a former intern of mine recently wrote to ask for a letter of reference. Thankfully I check my spam file pretty often because that's where her email had washed up. Why? Her subject line was Hi! and my spam filter sees that more often than not as a red flag for spam.
There's absolutely no reason to ever use Hi! on a piece of business correspondence.
The subject line is the first thing I see after your name. I use it to perform triage on my incoming mail. If you need a letter of reference, say so. Those are things I'll do right away so I can get them off my to do list.
If you're writing to me with a question for the blog put QUESTION FOR THE BLOG in the subject line.
In other words, tell me succinctly what the email is about so I know to answer you promptly and NOT discard you unread.