Thursday, November 10, 2005

How Not to Contact Your Editor

Keeping track of contact information is one of the simple yet powerful tools for every writer. Yes, create business cards to exchange at conferences--but take those cards and enter the information into Outlook or whatever system you use to keep such data. I use most of the various fields of Outlook--including birthdays and anniversaries. I'm constantly changing, adding and updating this information as it comes across my desk. You never know when it will come in handy to have a phone number or email address. I rarely use the information which I've carefully gathered--but when I need to reach someone, I have the information easily accessible. Also I carefully back up this information and save it--in case I have a weird computer crash or some other event. Information is power.

I carry this point a bit further because I have a business card scanner. If you have a lot of business cards, it's a great timesaver and highly recommended. You can learn more of the details at this link.

Here's a fresh example how NOT to use the information. Typically after a writer's conference as editors we receive a few thank you notes (which as editors we appreciate even if we never acknowledge the notes because of time constraints). This week I received a thank you note from someone who attended the Glorieta Christian Writer's Conference. They sent it to my address--but addressed their note to "Phyllis Boultinghouse, nonfiction editor at Howard Publishing.” That mistake is not something I fix by walking down the hall way or routing it to a different place within the company. I work remote from Howard Publishing, which is located in West Monroe, LA--first key mistake. Note they also misspelled the editor's first name is Philis NOT Phyllis. Also Philis is not the nonfiction editor (a title which doesn't exist within the publishing house) but she's the managing editor. Now what sort of impression will that thank you note make? If you are going to bother to gather the information--gather the correct information. This morning, I tucked that note into an envelope to Philis so it is headed off to the publishing house. I understand this writer had a good heart and great intentions with her thank you note yet she managed to make a completely different impression to me—even though the letter was addressed to someone else in my publishing house. Here’s a bit of additional irony: in small print on every business card, the “right mailing address” for Howard Publishing was there. This writer simply sent her card to the wrong address.

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