Jan 31 2010

Ready to query? Get an e-mail address just for your writing work

Published by at 1:08 am under Technical Advice

When you send out queries asking agents or editors to look at your work, it may help to have an e-mail address devoted to your writing career.

1.  It reduces the odds that you’ll lose crucial e-mails. Don’t let an agent’s request to see your manuscript get lost in a torrent of spam!


2. It’ll be easier for you to find old e-mails.  For example, you might need to check which agents you’ve already submitted to.  That will be much harder if you have to sift through hundreds of unrelated e-mails.


3.  Your default e-mail address might not be professional enough for business use. No offense, “SuperheroBoi24,” but “JohnBryant” will raise fewer eyebrows in the editor’s office.  Also, it makes it much easier for me to tell at a glance whose email is whose.  As a rule of thumb, your work e-mail address should be based on your first and last name (or possibly your pen-name).


4.  You can give out your writing e-mail address to strangers without compromising your privacy. If you have a website, that will help keep you accessible to your readers without making your default e-mail address public.  For example, you can contact me at superheronation-at-gmail-dot-com.


5. It’ll reduce confusion if you use a pen-name. 

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Ready to query? Get an e-mail address just for your writing work”

  1. Anonymouson 31 Jan 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been thinking this seems like a good idea for some time now… I’m curious though, if you choose to write under a pseudonym, will it seem pretentious to use that pseudonym as your email address? (Ex. John Smith using the email address Steve Johnson.)

  2. B. Macon 31 Jan 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I think it’s fine to use your pseudonym as the e-mail address (SteveJohnson-at-isp-dot-com or whatever). Especially if you use the name to interact with fans. “But I want to talk to Steve Johnson! Who’s this John Smith guy?”

    However, when you’re submitting novel queries or comic book proposals, I would recommend making it clear that you’re actually John Smith writing as Steve Johnson. It’ll remove a potential source of confusion.

    Incidentally, please be careful with the pen-name. Particularly if you’re picking a name for style points rather than out of professional necessity. (For example, a long-time nonfiction author breaking into fiction might use a pseudonym so that readers don’t get confused, or I might use a pseudonym for my comedies starring wacky government agencies because my agency would probably frown on them). In contrast, if you’re going for the style, it’d make a particularly bad first impression if the name feels goofy. (Hunter McSlaughter, really?)

  3. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I’ve thought about doing this before, but as of now it would serve little purpose. Unless of course I was submitting parts of my script (and other writing things) to you for review. Then it would be nice to get them back without interference by other e-mails. I’ll consider it.

    On that note, I want to get started on my query letter. I’ll write out some rough ones.

  4. Anonymouson 31 Jan 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Okay, thanks. ^_^ In order to make it clear, you would put “John Smith, writing as Steve Johnson,” I think…?

  5. Beccaon 31 Jan 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I definitely have a separate writing-centric email address. Also, I’m thinking about maybe using a pseudonym, since my surname is long and some people have trouble pronouncing it.

  6. B. Macon 31 Jan 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Yeah, Anonymous. The line at the top of the first page of your manuscript should be either “[GIVEN NAME], WRITING AS [PSEUDONYM]” or “[GIVEN NAME]”. So, for example, “JOSHUA HELLER, WRITING AS B. MAC,” or “JOSHUA HELLER”. And, before anyone asks, my name isn’t Joshua Heller. 😉

  7. B. Macon 31 Jan 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Sure thing, RB. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been thinking about how to do a cover letter or query letter for most of the regulars here.

    I’d also recommend checking out websites like QueryShark and The Rejectionist, because I think that a lot of the skills involved in writing an excellent novel query translate to writing cover letters for a comic book submission.

    There are a few differences, though…
    –A CL should mention page-count and whether this is a standalone issue, a limited series or an ongoing series. QLs mention word-count and whether they have a series in mind.

    –A comic book writer will probably include more with his CL than a novelist would include with his query letter. Notably, most comic book publishers ask that the writer submit at least the script for the first issue. In contrast, a novelist should NEVER send his full manuscript unless the agent or editor specifically asks him to. (The main difference is that agents and editors/publisher’s assistants would drown in paper if every novelist sent a full manuscript, but a comic book script is usually around 22-32 pages).

    –If you have an artist, you might want to talk a bit about his or her credentials like you would talk about yours.

    –Most comic book publishers besides Dark Horse expect ~5 sample pages inked, lettered and (if applicable) colored. Note: the script should cover every page of the issue, even the ones included as sample pages! It makes reading the script easier and the editor will want to see the script the artist was working from.

  8. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2010 at 8:07 pm

    So basically I should just worry about the writing as of now. Try to find an artist to do my sample pages so that I can even have credentials for my artist. Okay, I can do that.

  9. B. Macon 31 Jan 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Yeah, I think the writing is the most important thing right now. I’d recommend getting an artist involved AFTER the issue is ready to illustrate. As for the cover letter, I could see good reasons to do that either before or after the art. It’ll make you think more about the target audience and pitch for the book, which should influence the art style. On the other hand, the process of finding an artist and getting through the sample will leave you with a few weeks of dead time, which you could use on the query (and synopsis, if necessary).

  10. Ragged Boyon 01 Feb 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I need to be writing right now. But I’ve been so bogged with school. Ugh. I truly hate it. I starting to get in the writing mood so I think I may get some work done. Smooth. I’ll get on that.

    Thanks by the way, B. Mac. 😉

  11. Anonymouson 30 Dec 2012 at 7:34 pm

    BM, are you writing under a pen name? If so, what is it?

  12. B. McKenzieon 30 Dec 2012 at 8:25 pm

    All of my superhero-related stuff is under “Brian McKenzie.” When I publish other works (like the book of Pixar reviews), I’ll probably use a different name to help different readers find what they are looking for more easily.

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