Monday, January 13, 2014

QueryTip: Subject lines are your BFFs

I was zipping through my incoming mail last week to sort out the stuff that needed to be answered promptly and almost passed by one following up on a requested full.

Why did I almost pass it over?

The subject line gave NO hint of what the email was about.

I sort of recognized the sender's name so I did a quick check. If I'd been in a bigger hurry (yea, like if it wasn't this cold outside, and I was dragging my heels about leaving for the office!) I wouldn't have looked at it till I had more time...days maybe.

When you email a query or to follow up on a query or full, the subject line is your best friend.

For a Query:
Subject line: Query (TITLE) (fiction/non-fiction)

That's ALL
Don't overload the subject line.
Don't put in quote marks.
Don't put in RE:
Don't put in word count

For following up on a query (for those of us hardy souls who still answer all our queries
and AFTER you've carefully read QUERY LETTER DIAGNOSTICS

Subject line: Follow up on query sent (date)

For sending a full:
Subject line:  Full ms (TITLE) as requested (date)

For following up on a full:
Subject line: following up on TITLE requested (date) sent (date)

I get a lot of email every day, and my first pass through incoming mail is triage: separate the on-fire from the smouldering from the wet wood that needs to be set aside for a couple days.

Status inquiries are important to me. I understand how hard it is to wait and I'm fully committed to keeping you informed but you've got to help me by not dressing your follow-up in asbestos underpants.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

On-fire, smouldering, wet wood... love it.
As for my underpants, they used to be hot, now, highly flammable? Nah. You can DEPEND on it.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Very helpful post, thanks! Could you perhaps tag it with one of the useful-info labels so it's easy to refer to at a later date? I couldn't see one, and did look, promise. (Hope I haven't missed something obvious...)

Charlotte Levine Gruber said...

Wish I'd read your blog this MORNING instead of now!6554863

MNye said...

As request date...hmmmm September 2008.