A What Not To Do that doesn’t star the writing foibles and/or missteps of yours truly. But still, I feel qualified to expound on this topic of email addresses as I’ve very recently found myself sending and/or receiving a ton of emails.
I’m the PAL Coordinator for the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI, which sounds very la-ti-da, but really, it just means that I handle a couple of fun events or projects that benefit our published and listed members. And so I’m always emailing people, and they’re always emailing me back. It’s a hot mess of emails to keep up with, let me tell you. And amidst the most recent flurry of emails, I thought about editors and publishers and other industry professionals.
Specifically, I thought about how important it is to have a professional email address.
Your email address is the first impression you make. When you’re sending out queries or manuscripts or other professional communiques in the business world, that dot com address succinctly says everything about you. So let’s think a little about what an email address says:
Take, for example, email@example.com. It’s simple, direct, professional. And when someone is looking for your email in order to respond, they find your name. Quickly. You don’t have to have your own domain, either. If your name’s in an email address, it’s golden.
Now let’s consider the cutesy writer names. Like firstname.lastname@example.org. If a person has worked really hard to brand themselves as The Right Writer–and there’s immense name recognition–then that kind of address would work. But if you are just starting out, clever is not always as clever as one thinks. Be careful using a “brand” name.
Next, let’s take a look at what I call “email addresses that make no sense.” That’s when some iteration of a person’s name pops up in an inbox. Maybe the initials of everyone in the family, the year they bought the house, and the word LOVE…so something like JLJCD1997love@email.com. The receiver of that kind of email rarely has a way to make a connection, and thus likely ends up annoyed. (Or maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure everyone’s annoyed.)
Finally, there are the inappropriate email addresses. The ones that should only be used for family and close, close friends. Because honestly, if I don’t know you, and email@example.com pops up in my inbox, I am not amused. In fact, I’m a little scared. (Okay, I’m very scared. Go away.)
So, grasshopper, before you send out another email, take a moment and consider your address. Sure, you want folks to know your name. But make sure it’s in a good way.