writhing fingers at spam dot com

This may sound stupid, but do editors or agents think less of you if you have an e-mail address from a freebie place like yahoo or hotmail? I know I've seen "writer's tips" that give several reasons why "you should invest in a professional sounding e-mail address" -- agents and editors taking you more seriously being one of them -- but I wonder...as long as it's a professional, real-sounding name before the @ (not something juvenile or silly or scary), does the e-mail address make any difference?

Talk about perfect timing on a question. Miss Snark has just slunk back from a late afternoon of revelry with her drunk and debauched colleagues, and one of the topics of the evening was ..tadaa...email.

One colleague, who gets quite a bit of email said that anything remotely spammy (ie anything other than your proper name) got deleted. Others were a tad less restrictive but not much.

It's not so much the @hotmail, or @yahoo, it's the "prettyfingersflexing4u" kind of NAME.

I believe that to be true as well. I get quite a bit of email from folks coming off my website and the only ones I answer are clearly real people with real names. I avoid "doglover@bitches.com" although Killer Yapp swears the pictures aren't of him.

It can't hurt to invest in a good name and a website with email based on the site. That way too, if your server or ISP changes, your email address does not. I can't tell you the number of times I've had email to someone bounce back cause they aren't on aol anymore or something like that.


Chrysoula said...

By 'good name' do you mean 'good email name' (that is, something that sounds like it'd be on a birth certificate) or 'good website name'? I've always wondering if having a website that consisted of yourname.com was pretentious or professional (especially pre-publication).

Anonymous said...

My name is so very common that it's impossible to get any variant at all that's more letters than numbers. So my E-mail is very 'unprofessional'. I honestly didn't think that agents really cared, so long as the subject line was 'query', but perhaps now I'll invest in a new one.

the green ray said...

I can't believe this is something I never thought of! My name and variants were already used on AOL, so I'm going with the equivalent of Hu86tt@aol.com. (2 letters, 2 numbers, 2 letters.) Does this sound spamish or unprofessional? Might it have gotten deleted? I can tell that one AOL agent deleted my query recently. It seems too late in the game to change it, but if necessary, I will.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

This means I can't use my ICyber4Oreos@nomail.net email to query agents?

the green ray said...

OK. I'm doing an experiment. I've created a new AOL screen name, and I'm going to query that AOL agent again and see if she deletes the email. (On AOL you can tell if they read it or delete it.) Thanks, Miss Snark. You are deliciously entertaining.

Miss Snark said...

1. yourname.com is not pretentious.

2. And it's not so much that they care, as they are trying to avoid spam and the viral crap contained therein.

3. Let me know how the experiment turns out Greenie baby!

Now, back to Greta Garbo and Grand Hotel-- "I want to be alone".

litagent said...

Well, here's an interesting twist on it: when I start feeling guilty and panicky about the backlog of email queries (yes I do accept them) I haven't answered, I'll sometime sit down and devote several hours to catching up. The only problem is that some of the email services, AOL in particular, will interpret my several dozen responses to their members as some sort of spam attack and block me from sending any email to their members AT ALL. It then takes weeks and weeks to get it sorted out, while I fantically email people I must contact from different email addresses.

Anonymous said...

I've had a Yahoo address as my sole email for six years, and the only problem it's ever given me was that the snoots over at Readerville won't let me sign up. Oh yeah . . . and the Houghton Mifflin server "disappears" anything I send with an attachment--so I set up a Yahoo address for my editor to download my mss.!

Anonymous said...

In my days as a slush reader, I found that sending rejections or acceptances to AOL addresses was a waste of time--they always always always bounced back.

Anon E. Mouse

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Well this explains why so many of my queries went unanswered when I was on AOL. AOL is just nasty.

I'd blame AOL for dandruff too, if I could. I use a Yahoo mail for queries these days, and a Verizon email for business. Much better than AOL.

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

In the terms of bad choices for e-mail names, how bad is one that is a name, but not my real name (I use a nickname from college--Saborra. I also use it on a writing site and for my blog). I've just sent e-queries to two agents I've very interested in (their sites stated that they prefer e-queries). Is it all a loss because my e-mail isn't prfessional enough?

Kalen said...

I would think this problem would be moot if the subject line was clear (e.g. QUERY: THE FIDDLEHEAD FERN). All the agents I’ve seen who take e-queries state very clearly that the subject should be clear (some even give specific language).

I have a hotmail account with a strange moniker and I've never had an e-query not be answered.

kim reid said...

It isn't just about the mail going into spam oblivion, it's also about image because in this business, as promotion becomes more critical, you're selling yourself as well as your book. Even if your subject line is clear, what image does your name project?

This is no different than any other business. I'd be more inclined to do business with a plumber, dentist, lawyer with a standard address than with his competitor with a goofy e-mail address. The competition is stiff enough when an agent has 50+ queries a day to wade through. Why do anything that makes it easier for her to reject yours?

the green ray said...

Good point, Ecrire. Miss Snark, the AOL agent deleted my new email too. But I forgot, she doesn't accept email queries. Still, I think I'll use my new address for queries in the future. More professional sounding. But this AOL stuff, I just can't deal with today. I think it's mostly for bulk emails. I've got a friend who sends one out every Monday morning, and she tells me sometimes (but not often) the AOL ones come back to her. So, Litagent, if you're sending out bulk rejections, maybe it's time to personalize them!

Stephen D. Rogers said...

I guess it's time to retire EnlargeYourMicroStocks as a submission account. ;)

Unfortunately, while I do have my own domain which comes with a hundred (?) email addresses, I use HTML email accounts professionally because I can access them anywhere.

Sal said...

AOL is just plain weird about things.

I registered towse.com through GoDaddy and spend $60/yr for the domain hosting through another outfit (although I'm thinking of swapping that to GoDaddy too).

One of the features offered by the domain host was e-mail redirecting so incoming mail addressed to mom@towse.com or mom's-first-name@ was sent on to my mom, dad@towse.com or dad's-first-name@ to my dad, &c.

Alas, Mom, Dad, and Sis use aol.com which has banned my hosting outfit from forwarding any mails to aol.com.

Why you ask? Well, 'cause.

Bella Stander said...

I know a bestselling author whose email is her husband's name combined with "wife" (ICK!). Ditto for an author/screenwriter/movie producer. (Interestingly, their husbands have the same first name.) So I wouldn't worry much. However some variation of name@firstnamelastname.com certainly looks more professional & is WAY easier to remember.

I'm constantly having trouble w/ AOL (which I've never used). Latest is that AOL users get an error message when they try to sign up for my NotifyList.com mailing list.

Stacy said...

I don't think that a whimsical, wifely, non-feminist 'bobs wife@yahoo.com' is much of a problem. I personally have issues (deep, dark issues - I can't talk about it anymore!) with email addresses like 'hot2trot@msn.com', 'mypenisislarge@hotmail.com' and 'fubitchesandhos@yahoo.com'. But maybe that's just me.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eden said...

As an e-zine editor, I have to say that Miss Snark is so right here (quel suprise).

We don't care if your e-mail address is @yahoo or @gmail or wherever (honestly, worry about the quality of the sub); in fact, we recommend it*.

What we hate are (1) e-mail programs that consider us spammers when we reply to your submission (2) anything @AOL.com b/c it truncates your paragraphs (and bounces us -- see #1) (3) a notice when we reply to you that we need to apply for permission to e-mail you w/ an acceptance or rejection (4) cutesy e-mail names like "snowbunny1971" (5) anything w/ "writer" in it (ex: suzythewriter) and (6) shared e-mail addresses, like it comes up in your spouse or parent's name (ex: "Louis Smith" lousmith@whatever.com) b/c it's then hard to find your story to refer to it when we look for "Jane Jones" in the sender list.

* It's so easy to make a free e-mail account with your name and you want to look professional, why not do something w/ your name in it? Like sarahjessica or sjparker.

Whew. Thanks for the opportunity to get that off my chest.

Miss Snark said...

I strongly recommend to my authors that they have ONE email name for their biz stuff. That name never goes to a chat room, never subscribes to a mailing list and is not published. It doesn't have spam filters. You can keep a name pretty clean if you're careful.

I'm pretty happy with earthlink, but you have to reset the spam filters for medium rather than high to avoid the approval message.

And I hate AOL with a passion. They regularly bumped me off line for sending too much email and finally wouldn't fix it even when it was clear I was NOT sending spam. Their business model and customer service model stinks. I'm glad to be rid of them.