Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'm feeling your pain...and I don't much like it!

This email address thing is making me nutso!

First, I pull all my email into an inbox on my computer with a mail management program called Entourage. If your email arrives in my Entourage in box, I read it. I don't inspect every email address to make sure it's not spam. Entourage does that for me.

The inspection happens when I log on to gmail directly at the website and look at those emails left in the spam folder. That's Priscilla's domain. That's when I inspect email addresses and try not to open email that's sent by someone who's email name doesn't seem to match their email address.

The reason I bring this up is not to add a new rule, or a new hurdle. It's to illuminate that if you do NOT hear back, it may be that your email didn't survive Priscilla.

Honest to helvetica I'm not trying to make your life or the query process more difficult.

I'm simply trying to tell you what happens on THIS side of the query process so you can avoid the Desert of No Response (particularly from those of us who do respond to every email query)


Joyce said...

Janet, don't sweat it. Some people will never get it.

P. Bradley Robb said...

So, to summarize the last three blog posts.

IF an email passes the spam filter. It's read.

IF an email ends up in your spam box, you inspect to make sure the sender's name is a reasonable match to the actual email address.

If an email name in the spam box does not have a reasonable match with the email address it was sent from, you do not read it.

The lesson is: writers should have a reasonably professional sounding email address in the rare case that an email ends up in your spam box.

Seems relatively straight forward to me.

Janet Reid said...



I wish I'd said it like that myself.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why it's so difficult for people to understand.

Don't send an email from a shared account. Make sure your name and email name are pretty close to identical.

Doesn't sound all that hard to follow. :P

P. Bradley Robb said...

Feel free to use it.

Indigo said...

Never let it be said I don't do my homework...

I checked with my gmail account. Even though my name always appears before my addy:
"ravensquietscreams" the email itself is a takeoff of my blog. Not exactly easily recognizable if you're not familiar with the blog.

Why, yes this is going somewhere...
You can easily create another gmail email addy under your name for an email (I do hope that's making sense). In other words:
If your name is Jane Doe, create a separate gmail that is Then go to your current gmail in my case "ravensquietscreams" and you can add the email you just created to the same account.

In the end yes, you have two email addresses. However if you do it right you can choose which one you send official query's from. Making sure your email isn't getting overlooked by Spam busters.

I hope I was able to help in some degree. In all honesty, I do want to be able to send a query out one of these days and have it read.

Amusing enough I've already turned down two authors who wanted to use my name as a character reference. That would be weird considering I hope to release my own book, using my very "own" name under the by line. It's kind of why my original name wasn't an email addy. I guess in some cases you have to bend the rules.(Hugs)Indigo

Sooki Scott said...

We hear and see in your posts the effort you make to be fair and kind and professional. Thank you. I've done as you suggested and opened an email account with my name, reflecting my name in the domain, and stating my name in the 'from' area. Great advice. Easy to follow. Perfect.

Here's to no more nutso days!

Confucius says, woman who put dish soap on top shelf, jump for joy.

Crystal Posey said...

As always your information is invaluable. Appreciate these posts on the email issue. This was something I was unaware of.

Eric said...

I guess my confusion with all of this is the following:

As authors (or potential authors), we should WANT our name to be out there for everyone to recognize immediately, so they can buy our books and become fans.

Now I know that there are less than scrupulous individuals that would seek to steal identities, stalk their favorite author, or spam us to death. But in my opinion, having a "hidden" email address hurts you and your work more than it will ever hurt the unscrupulous. And if they want to spam you, stalk you, or steal your identity, they may find a way to do it anyway (whether your email address is hidden or not). So my point is that I would rather just be seen as at least slightly professional, with a somewhat professional email address.

Then I don't have to party with Priscilla in the desert.

Tess said...

Great information - thanks for taking the time to fill us in. I love the bits of info that are easy to fix!

Jenn Johansson said...

Isn't written communication and it's easily misunderstood meanings wonderful? :)

Jo said...

I think you're being really clear and I appreciate the info.

Tess said...

I had to come back to this thread to say THANK YOU!

I thought I was pretty well informed in the query process. I sent my first - very targeted and carefully selected - batch of four queries out to agents a few months back. One of those agents had actually invited me to query her. When I didn't receive a response from any of them, I chalked it up to busy schedules and disinterest.

Then I read your posts about the e mail address/spam filter issue. I had no idea that my e mail address "cutename@local" would ever be an issue. Could that be why I did not hear back? Could it be that my queries were never received?

So, I opened a new account with my name and, at the risk of seeming stalker-ish, requeried.

Within just a few days I heard back from all four agents..two with partial requests and two with full requests.


Thank you, Janet! It's those bits of real world wisdom and help that make this blog so great.