How to Avoid the Spam Bucket

trash can, rubbish, discarded writing

Fed up with spammy contacts? Yup, me too.

You know when you look at a contact and think ‘is this real?’, well this has happened to me on more than a few occasions, and I’ll bet it’s happened to you too. If truth be told, I can now be a little bit suspicious when contacts come through that don’t look professional.

By professional I don’t mean full email stationery, swanky signatures and jargon, I just mean a well-written, well-constructed email that gets to the point, gives contact information and a little background.

Now we’re all guilty of short informal messaging at one time or another, but usually only once contact has been made and we are familiar with whoever we are messaging.

Ok, emails that look professional can be spam too, but I can’t help but feel a large number of emails out there are deleted because they ring the spam bells, when they are just written by potential clients who are either unsure as to the correct way to contact someone, are not native speakers, just don’t take enough care, or are just downright lazy.

Obviously if you are reading this you know how to construct professional, to the point, emails. But in case you know someone who is unsure as to how to contact their editorial professional, here are some handy tips…


I like this kind of spam, email spam not so much.

How not to be seen as spam when you contact professionals:


1.       Be professional.

2.       Use your whole name.

It’s nice to know your first name, but adding your second name adds authenticity. The scammers often only post first names.

3.       Tell us about yourself and why you are contacting us.

If you are a business, tell us what it is and if you are a self-publisher, tell us that too.

4.       Don’t just leave us one line, generic messages.

‘Please contact me further’

‘I would like to talk about a proposal’

‘I would like to talk to you about the above [see subject line]’

These are not proper correspondences. You don’t need to give us your life story, but if you leave a one-liner (especially if you only put your first name) you are likely to be put in the spam box.

5.       Don’t just leave a question.

I’ve had lots of emails, especially via my genealogy site, where there has been no real correspondence, just a question.

So you would like to know how to format your book correctly/whether I can do something for you/if I can give you some information on a certain topic… are you asking me to tell you if I can do it, or are you wanting to correspond in a professional manner and perhaps hire my services? This leads onto…

6.       Don’t ask for freebies.

We need to pay the bills too. You wouldn’t ask your plumber/builder/restaurant for a free service, don’t ask us either.

7.       Don’t send messages with attachments.

I know from experience that initial enquiries that have attachments can disappear into the ISP spam bucket, without anyone knowing. Some providers don’t even allow you to see what they have flagged as spam, and their filtering doesn’t show up in your online spam or junk file. If you need to send an attachment make contact first, then we know that something legitimate is on its way and if it doesn’t turn up we both know it’s gone missing. I dread to think how many legitimate first contacts have disappeared and left the enquirer thinking the professional is rude and hasn’t replied when the professional didn’t receive the email in the first place!

8.       Tell us how you found us.

It’s nice to know how you found us, and it helps us to know you are real too. If you found me via one of my online listings, it’s good to know.


So a few pointers there to make sure that when you connect with your editorial professional you will actually get through to us. Email is wonderful for quick correspondence, but it can go wrong on so many levels.


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