On Responding to E-mail

Someone in my e-mail queue has just– I suspect unintentionally — pissed me off, so let me make a general statement here so I can refer people to it later:

I am not your e-mail monkey. I receive dozens and sometimes hundreds of non-spam e-mails each day. I try to get to most of them. However, I don’t generally respond to non-critical e-mail immediately, because:

a) I’m not always on the computer.
b) When I am on the computer I am usually doing something else.
c) When I am on the computer not doing something else, sometimes I don’t want to bother answering e-mail.

I usually try to respond to non-critical e-mail within a couple of days. If I’m really busy (like when I was on tour, for example), it might be longer than that. Additionally, if you send me something for which I do not feel a response is necessary and/or expected, I may not respond at all. Finally, given the volume of e-mail I get, if I do respond I may be brief. Also, of course, I am the one who determines whether an e-mail is critical to respond to immediately, not anyone else.

I expect that most of you, as humans who are also busy with life and work, understand this. For those of you who don’t, I will make this simple:

Pestering me about not immediately answering your e-mail will piss me off. It will make me less likely to respond, and if I do respond, you probably won’t like it.

This is not the same as following up an e-mail after several days time. That’s entirely legitimate and indeed I encourage that, since sometimes mail slips through the cracks. Please feel free to follow up after a few days (briefly if possible); you’ll likely get a response and an apologetic tone.

But, say, sending the same e-mail more than once in a few hours and sending another less than a day later demanding a response is just going to irritate the living crap out of me. Yes, this has happened recently. Indeed, it has happened more than once recently (no, it wasn’t from any of the usual gang who frequents here. Relax). People who don’t get the concept that I am not slavering to pounce on their e-mail the second it arrives in my queue — and perhaps are even offended that I am not — really need to be struck about the head several times with a clue stick.

There, I’m done venting.


Monetizing FanFic

Via Making Light, I learn about FanLib, a site for fanfic sponsored and/or tolerated by a number of media companies. Is this a good idea? I don’t know about that. I discuss why in some detail over at the Ficlets Blog. Click through, won’t you?


Writing Bits

Some about me, some about other people:

* Look! Proof I know cool bestselling authors!

That’s me with New York Times bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (and Cassie’s friend Lori), after Holly and Cassie’s stop here in Dayton for their book tour. The two of them had quite a turnout; they both write YA and it’s always heartening to see so many teens and tweens in one place, books in hand. Also, Holly and Cassie (and Lori) were tons of fun to hang out with. I’ll be interviewing both Holly and Cassie at some point in the future for Ficlets, as soon as I pull my head out and actually start sending out interview questions again. I really have no excuse now; I’m just procrastinating.

* Elizabeth Bear’s New Amsterdam is shipping this week, and you’re in for a treat when it hits — but why wait for a taste? Subterranean Magazine online has a ginchy audio version of “Wax,” a story in the NA collection, read by Mary Robinette Kowal, who you all know to be one of my favorite audio people (she’s cool in other respects too). Enjoy and remember that the sooner you buy new Amsterdam, the sooner you can read it, and the sooner you read it, the better you’ll feel about, well. The entire universe, actually.

* Moving on to me: As most of you know, Subterranean Press is slated to release Your Hate Mail Will be Graded: Selection Writings 1998 – 2007, comprised of selections from the Whatever over the years. We were originally going to release this book early this year, but decided to put Coffee Shop, my writing book, in that slot instead. This turned out to be a good idea (Coffee Shop did well) but as we prepped Hate Mail for later this year, I couldn’t help notice that 2008 — and my 10th year of writing the Whatever — was right around the corner. And, you know. Ten years is a nice round number.

So: Hate Mail is being pulled back into 2008, and being revamped to be a ten year retrospective of the site, which should be both interesting and fun to do. I think this will give us a lot more flexibility with the presentation of the book, which needless to say is better for you, the potential book-buying public, whom I adore and want to give quality work to. So, for those of you who have been looking forward to Hate Mail, patience. We’ll make it worth the wait.

Also, of course: Ten years. Damn. I’ve been doing this for a long time.

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