Email stationary – there’s artsy fartsy, and then there’s unwise

I remember when I first became proficient enough to do all kinds of fun things with my email…adding a signature line, making a stationary background. It brought me back to the days when my friends used to dot the letter “i” with little hearts. I was always too chicken to do that because I didn’t have a cool purple pen. I stumbled along with my regulation blue Bic pen and secretly cheered my friends on when the teacher upbraided them for not writing in blue ink. A closet renegade…that’s me.

So when Word gave me all those options, I went nuts. I used to change my stationary background on my emails hourly. So many choices. Twinkling stars! Glowy moons! Little blue hearts! Stripes! Wavy lines! Ohhh, Nirvana.

And then I grew up and knew that this type of thing was fun for friends, but it seemed to send the wrong message when emailing my daughter’s inept, brain-dead English teacher who’d rather show Bowling For Columbine rather than teach her composition. How can one rip someone a new orifice with little dancing faeries tripping across the page?

So when I get a query letter with little rosy flowers splashed across the page, I think this author needs additional time to grow up.

I can’t recommend this enough: separate your personal and professional emails. Your professional email should be your name with a nice, boring plain white background. A sig line isn’t a bad idea because that’s where you’d put your contact info and website. Cutesy-pie makes most of us with black-hearts and no souls gag.

8 Responses to Email stationary – there’s artsy fartsy, and then there’s unwise

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    One of the things I was told as a new writer was ‘don’t send out cover letters on fancy stationary’.

    It only makes sense to apply the same rule to email.

  2. kimkircher says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The last time I put a heart over an i was 8th grade. And I regretted it later. I don’t even add the ubiquitous smiley face “:)” on anything. Ever. Oops, I just did it. Well, just this once.

  3. Sally Zigmond says:

    In the days when everyone sent submissions by snail mail, I always knew that those emblazoned with cute thatched cottages and the author’s name with ‘writer’ after it would be unpublishable. And even if they weren’t, I wouldn’t on principle.

  4. Frank Mazur says:

    I’m confused. Because you’re talking about e-mail and not paper stationery, does ‘stationAry background’ mean ‘standing background’?

  5. Yes, Frank. You can add all kinds of funky backgrounds to your Word stationary.

  6. AstonWest says:

    I’d have to go back and look, but I’m pretty sure one of my most recent agent rejection notices came on said e-mail with a stationary background. Heh…not sure if they were trying to lighten the blow or what.

  7. Michael says:

    I think what Frank is trying point out discreetly is the wrong form of “stationery” was used in this article and some of the comments.

  8. I use Word email, and the settings they have for backgrounds are called “stationary.” You’re picking nits here. I think everyone understands what I’m talking about.

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