Friday, February 17, 2012

February Requests: The Return Email

I love organized chaos as much as the next person... But this is one of my biggest pet peeves. And it comes down to being an organizational issue.

Let's set it up.

You query me.
I hit "reply" and request pages.
You hit "reply" and attached requested pages.
I hit "reply" and ask for more pages, materials, etc.
You hit "reply" and send requested materials.
I hit "reply" and offer representation.
You hit "reply" and etc, etc, etc

Get the picture?

This makes it super easy on me because now I have all of our correspondence in one location, one email thread. I can easily toggle back through our conversation to refer to certain information.

Or you can do it this way.

You query me.
I hit "reply" and request pages.
You begin a new email thread with "Requested Partial" and title in the subject heading, with the original correspondence quoted in the email so I can easily refer to it, with attached or pasted pages.
I hit "reply" and ask for more pages, materials, etc.
You hit "reply" and send requested materials.
I hit "reply" and offer representation.
You hit "reply" and etc, etc, etc

In a case in which you need to inform me of an offer of representation:

You send me a query.
I "reply" and ask for a partial manuscript.
You "reply" and send pages.
I read the pages but meanwhile...
You "reply" (to the same thread of emails) and inform me that you have an offer
I "reply" and ask for the full manuscript.
You "reply" with the full.
I "reply" within the allotted time with my answer.

Or you can do it this way:

You send me a query.
I "reply" and ask for a partial manuscript.
You "reply" and send pages.
I read the pages but meanwhile...
You begin a new email thread with "Offer of Representation" in the subject, with all original correspondence between us in the email and a short note informing me of the offer.
I "reply" and ask for the full manuscript.
You "reply" with the full.
I "reply" within the allotted time with my answer.


Whew. That was hard. Not.

You should see my inbox. It's a mad house in there. If I see a new message in an email thread I've already responded to, I will pay attention to it. And it makes it really nice if I need to go back through my inbox for our correspondence and I don't need to toggle through multiple email threads for the info I need. And, hopefully, this will make it nice and easy on you too, in your own crazy writer inbox.

Now, I'm not going to write you off entirely if you deviate from my lovely setup here. But please, make it easy on everyone.

Happy writing!

10 comments:

Gina Maxwell said...

I'm so OCD when it comes to re-reading the email correspondence. I even sometimes re-read my own responses before I read the latest reply from the person I'm corresponding with. It drives me absolutely batty when people have their settings to not include the previous message in their replies.

So, yes, I totally get this post. I hope that it helps trim your inbox down now that you've shared your preferences. Have a good weekend!

Lauren said...

I probably get 1/1000 the emails you get, but I'm crazy about organizing my emails too. (I have multiple email folders for each aspect of my life...yep...) I like the simply hit "reply" method. Keeps everything easy and organized!

Cortney Pearson said...

I'm so glad you posted this! It seems like it's not a big deal, but little stuff like this really is. I admit, I've made the mistake of starting a whole new email to send requested material instead of just replying (which I'm learning is much easier on an agent, as you've said, and makes sure they see it). Wish I'd known this sooner! Thanks for the post! :D

Sharon said...

I was actually just wondering if agents preferred for me to send requested materials through a reply message or not. I figured they would, but thanks for clarifying.

Charlie Holmberg said...

This is actually not something I had considered--I like to do new emails so the look is cleaner, but keeping all the correspondance in one thread would make it easier to track. Thanks for this!

Rachel Pudelek said...

I've read this "preference" on another agents blog as well. I prefer it this way also so that I can keep track. I already have a file for responses for each book in my inbox, so keeping a conversation with a particular agents helps keep order. :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

Thanks for the common sense information.

Julia K said...

I honestly never thought of how frustrating that would be for you. Thanks for the advice :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Good examples. I love the continuity of the discussion threads as well. Also makes for fewer emails to keep track of.

MittensMorgul said...

Even if an agent requests a partial or full submission to a different email address (i.e. a personal address versus a "query@" address), I always make sure to include the original correspondence. Otherwise, how on Earth are they supposed to remember who you are and why you are sending them all this stuff?