Is it Time to Drop the Cute?

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Fiction, General, thomas smith, writer, writing, Writing/Publishing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Is your email address How about Do you have letterhead (digital or otherwise) that has a little bunny reading a book, or lots of smiling flowers on a Pepto-Bismol® pink background? If you do, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Unless, of course, you want to be published.

Now if that’s the case, you’re sunk before your ship ever leaves the dock.

Many writers I know (and a whole bunch I don’t) have cute writing-related email addresses, taglines (sprinkling joy and sunshine with a touch of unicorn dust — gag me with a Smurf), cute letterhead, and cute pet phrases tossed liberally in each query, all of which they feel are guaranteed to catch an editor’s attention.

And they’e right.

But its the wrong kind of attention.

Writing is a business. At least the kind of writing that editors pay for on a regular basis is a business. And to be taken seriously as a professional, a writer has to look like a professional. That includes everything from your choice of email address to the way you craft your queries. I know of people who have even gone so far as to purchase a web domain just so they can use their name in an email address. Something like An easier (and cheaper) solution is to just use some form of your name in the email somehow. Something like

“But Thomas,” some of you are saying right about now, “I want to be memorable. There’s a lot of competition out there and I want to make an impact on the editors.” If that’s the case, let your writing and your professionalism make you memorable. I can promise you, if an editor receives a well written query, a professional proposal, or an engaging story/article/play/bumper sticker/book/greeting card verse, you WILL make an impression. And it will be the right impression.

Cute has its place:

  • Puppies
  • Babies
  • Trolls
  • The Church Christmas Pageant (you don’t know there wasn’t an angel showing off her Smurf underwear at the manger)
  • Kittens
  • My 82-year-old mother-in-law dating

…but your writing career isn’t on the list.

However, on behalf of all the other writers trying to pay the bills with their scribblings, we encourage you to be as cute as you want to be.

That leaves more work for us.

  1. Thomas Smith says:

    “As a writer I have enough to remember who is who without trying to remember their dog’s name.”

    I just about fell out of my chair! That’s great.

  2. Paula Petty says:

    Thanks for this. I get really turned-off by things like nextbestseller@… or my favorite ball team122. As a writer I have enough to remember who is who without trying to remember their dog’s name. It makes sense that if you want an editor or reader to remember your name to use it. Thanks again for the post.

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