Tips to Professional Correspondence

Use a dedicated author email address

Don’t mix business and pleasure, or you’ll have little of both. Setup a dedicated email address for your author career, and be strict about the dividing line. Don’t let your personal life get overrun with sales statements, writing group threads, promotional newsletters, or fan mail. And don’t lose track of your business because essential emails are buried by home burglary system spam, medical bills, and letters from your PTA about the newest moral panic.

Setup an email signature for free promo

How many emails do you send in the average week? I bet you five bucks it’s more than you think. And every one of those emails is a missed marketing opportunity. Setup an automated email signature (in your personal and business email) with (a) your full name, (b) your author tagline, and (c) a link to your website. Not only will you get new readers, but you’ll show you’re a pro to industry contacts.

Write emails for the wall of the Smithsonian

Don’t be a perfectionist, especially not about email, but remember: You’re forcing someone to read whatever it is you write. What you send them will tell them a lot about how you treat your business and how you treat their time. So by all means, give it a quick edit before you press send.

Unsubscription is the gift that keeps on giving

For every new email that comes into your inbox, ask yourself: Do I really need to see this? If not, unsubscribe. Be absolutely vigilant for a full 7 days. Pretty soon, checking your email will become a joy. You’ll actually be able to find the things that matter, and you’ll be able to respond in a reasonable amount of time. No more missed chances.

Prefer email to text messages, chat rooms, or social media

The medium is the message, and the message email sends is this: Think about what you’re going to say, say it, the revise it before you press send. If you’re working on anything more serious than where to meet for brunch, do it via email. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for the chaos of half-thought-out ideas, half-attentive participants, and half-remembered tasks. That’s not how a pro treats their business, and you’re a pro.