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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Online Editing: Foiling the Spam Filters

Editing isn't just editing book manuscripts. Today it is an extremely rare writer indeed who doesn't blog, have a Web site, etc--and many of these marketing tools are on the Web. Thus, editing entails knowing some of the stuff techy types know. I've adapted this post from my SharingwithWriters newsletter. Anyone who would like to subscribe may send an e-mail to me and I'll do it for you. Just put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line and send it to HoJoNews (at) AOL (dot) com.

 So here are a few no-nos you'll need to learn to avoid if you do any mass mailings at all. That includes things like media releases, newsletters, release announcements, and more.

Here is a continuation of our newsletter discussion from the last issue of SharingwithWriters. It's simply a list of things you shouldn’t do or say if you don’t want your newsletter to get caught in spam folders and other techy devices.
  • Don’t use symbols, especially dollar signs. Notice, I've stopped even using the (at) symbol in e-mail addresses in this newsletter—just in case.
  • Offer a way to unsubscribe from your letter.
  • Don’t let your exclamation points and question marks run wild. Editors frown on it, so it’s a good thing to avoid in any case.
  • Use any length subject line in the e-mail you wish, but key information must go into the first 50 character spaces. Besides, it’s not nice, to try to mislead Mother Nature or anyone else.
Avoid overused marketing phrases like the ones suggested by Linda Carlson of Independent Book Publishers Association slick magazine, IBPA Independent.  Some of these words and phrases are:
"be amazed"
"print out and fax"
"call now"

"check or money order"
"earn so much per week or year"
"subject to credit approval"
"your income"

 and my favorites free (I usually type f r ~ ~ to avoid symbols which the filters also don't like and tildes aren't considered symbols, I hear! (-: ), and "spam."

Do you suppose “frugal” is on the complete list?

Some of these are just good, sound (and sometimes necessary) marketing words) but some sound plain creepy--especially when listed out of context! Try this link for more ideas:


Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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