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Managing emails: Editor's Notes #268
August 22, 2018

Email is familiar. It's comfortable. It's easy to use.
But it might just be the biggest killer of time and productivity in the office today.

—Ryan Holmes

In this issue:

1. Managing emails
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. A friendly offer

1. Managing emails
Writing is an art. When it is, or will become, a business, emails will come. Don’t let yours overwhelm you. Here are some tips for managing your writing emails.
  • Have an email address you use exclusively for your writing business. It looks better if it’s neither cutesy nor obviously from a free account. If you have a Web site, you probably have an email address attached to it. If you must use a free account, I strongly suggest you avoid hotmail, which is hacked so often that I don’t usually answer email from hotmail accounts.
  • Check your business mail daily, at the same time each day if possible.
  • Reply to business emails within forty-eight hours when possible. When you cannot manage a full response within forty-eight hours, send a quick note giving the time you expect you will be able to reply fully.
  • Check your junk folder regularly.
  • If there are times you cannot deal with email, use an auto-responder that tells the sender that you are not available and when you will be back in contact. Your email provider can help you set that up. Be careful of replying to every message. You don’t want spammers to know that you are really there.
  • When replying, show the whole thread. When you don’t have many correspondents, it’s relatively easy to keep track of who said what when, but things can quickly get out of hand. Having the whole thread in one place helps.
  • If you have to answer multiple questions in one email, either copy and paste each into your reply and answer each immediately under its own question, or simply type your responses into the email with the answers immediately below each question. Whatever you do, don’t just send something like yes, yes, p, 2:15, no. The person who asked the questions doesn’t remember the sequence. And adding the question numbers is also not enough.
  • Use folders. I file by first names when dealing with individuals and by company name when dealing with a company. Take time to think about what will work for you. I also have folders for each of my books where I put all the correspondence about each book. Whatever system you use, be consistent.

You can have multiple email accounts routed through one email address. This isn’t the place to tell you how to do that, but if you think seeing all email in one place will make your life easier, contact the service you want to use to pick up all your email to find out how to go about that.

Although it’s handy to have to check only one place for email, the inbox that serves multiple emails addresses can get messy. My advice is to get into the habit of checking your business email account even if it is usually empty.

The number of emails in your inbox can make you crazy. Then there’s the one email (acceptance of your novel, a reply to the central research query, an issue of Editor’s Notes answering a question you hadn’t even thought to ask) that makes all the fuss worthwhile.

P.S. Messages from Editor’s Notes subscribers are always welcome, even when I don’t reply within forty-eight hours.


2.Tickled my funny bone
YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.


3. Interesting Web site
Managing emails is one thing. Email etiquette is another. The link below is on business email etiquette.

4. Writing prompt
Answer one of the emails languishing in your inbox. No languishing emails? Write an email to a friend.

5.A friendly offer
In the past, I’ve written about Jessica Trapp, a romance novelist with a great Facebook presence. Here’s a post she’s letting me pass on to you.

I would like to welcome writers to my 100 words a day group. The goal is to write 100 words for 100 days in a row. You can (obviously) write more, but if you do, you aren't allowed to brag about it. If you're interested PM me and I'll explain the rules and such.

If you want to send her a personal message (PM) on FaceBook, you can meet her through this link. (Tell her I sent you.)

Join Writer's Helper Facebook page at
Follow me on Twitter @AudreytheEditor

Link on LinkedIn (Email me first so I know how you know me.)

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