Monday 13 December 2021

Some notes about email

 Wordpress, Blogging, Blogger, Editor, Blog Post, Cms

Emails I get

I receive about 400 emails a day. This is not unusual for a publisher and for many other freelancers. This come through several lists- my own personal one, Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, The Red Telephone and the Lancashire Authors Association. A lot comes through about books we’re working on as a publisher and from other publishers about my own work. Then there are the items of personal interest. Some emails are important, some urgent, come urgent and important, some urgent but not important and some just interesting. Some can be ignored – for now at least. And there will be a handful of scams and other junk. Good use of the spam filters control the latter well.    

Coping with them

I have a system for dealing with them that means that important ones can take up to 48 hours to receive a reply. I start looking though my inbox a little after lunch and for the first thirty minutes I’ll look at everything in detail. I may buy books, look at properties for sale, read interesting articles or book events. Thereafter, until about four o’clock, I’ll only deal with the important and urgent ones. These are usually ones from writers I’m working with and where they need a quick response. I’m particularly  careful to process any that involve book orders, contracts or invoices. As I reach this deadline I’ll quickly look to see if there is anything urgent and important that is outstanding.



I’m afraid I experience rudeness if an email doesn’t start with a greeting. Does it cost anything to start with “Dear ….” Or “Hi”?. “Hello” is less good. I’m not too keen either on an email that starts with just my name. It seem patronising. Of course it’s fine not to have a salutation if you are replying to an email. As important as the salutation is the sign off. Your name is enough, though you can also add something like “kind regards”.


Proper subject lines

Yes, it’s tempting and quite useful to reply to an email in order to start a new subject. This ensures that you have the email address correct. But please alter the subject line to what you’re currently discussing.


How much correspondence to include each time

It’s useful to include all of the correspondence s far- it’s handy for both parties to be able to scroll down and remind themselves about what has already been said. However, this is less useful if you have changed the topic. Think very carefully about what to include.





Be succinct and get to the point

This doesn’t have to be unfriendly. In fact I make a point of providing a friendly acknowledgement to emails to which I don’t need to provide an answer.


Be as careful as with a letter

Don’t send email after email on the same topic. Don’t give in to afterthought after afterthought. Plan your email as you would a snailmail letter. Use bullet points or numbers if you are dealing with several issues. Read it through three times before you send it. And never send an email if your brain if fogged by alcohol. If you’re dealing with a tricky subject, maybe leave it twenty-four hours before you send it.


Be patient

I’ll usually reply to you within 48 hours. More quickly if it is really urgent or you’re just lucky with timing. But don’t expect me to be attached to my emails 24/7 – otherwise no work will never get done. And some of the work may in fact provide the answer you’re looking for.


Look elsewhere for the information

I have to bite my tongue sometimes when I’m asked questions that are already answered on an imprint’s web site, on this blog or in our monthly newsletters. So, sometimes my answers may be short and will provide a link to an appropriate web page or article.


Folders, folders, folders

I keep a lot of my emails – carefully organised into folders. I also spend some time each day putting the sent emails into folders. Okay, so occasionally I misfile. Thank goodness there is a good reach facility on the service I use.         


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