Seen on writer’s lists I’ve been on online and am still on. Yes, this is sort of a rant. Or maybe more than sort of.

  • Your signature line is longer than any of the emails you send to the list.
  • You only come on to announce that you’ve been published.  And you also have a long signature line. Or none at all (see below).
  • You’re a writer, but you don’t sign your emails.  How is anyone supposed to remember you?  Your email address may give us a hint, but not always.
  • How does this work exactly?  You’re trying to email someone privately who is on a list you’re on, but your email won’t go through.  So, you go on the list and ask the other person to contact you.  If you couldn’t get through before, how on earth do you think you’re going to after they contact you? 
  • Or, you lost all your addresses when you had a computer crash.  You didn’t back up your address book, of course, so now you go to the lists every time you need an address. 
  • Your emails are usually full of typos and spelling/grammar errors.  Why would you think this was okay? (I admit I make mistakes on lists—everyone does– but certainly my posts are not full of them.)
  • You use two names, and you use them indiscriminately.  No one is sure who you really are, and most don’t care.
  • You only come on to rant and complain about the list.  You hardly ever contribute, but you know best how it should run.
  • You’re the king or queen of one-liners.  You never have much to say, and it really, really shows.

And you may be wondering why you’re not getting very far in this writing biz.  Any of these hit their mark? Too harsh? Maybe, but apparently no one has told some of the writers who are doing these things that there’s a better way. I hope this helps.



14 thoughts on “WRITER’S LISTS DON’TS

  1. The only one I am guilty of on this list is the typo one. Some days are bad and on my bad days I don’t always catch them. Another reason I am saying far less on most lists.

    What bothers me far more than any of your listed items is the writer who feels he or she MUST comment multiple times on every single thread on every list. Often the comments the poster makes have zero informational value and usually just restate what was said.

    • Kevin, I sympathize about the typos. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, and I notice mistakes sometimes when I read over posts that have already been sent.
      And you’re right about the posters who don’t have anything new to say but say something anyway–I haven’t seen that so much lately, but I’m not on that many lists anymore. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I didn’t notice any typos . . . LOL

  2. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say, and other times I know perfectly well someone else will say what I’m thinking way better than I can. But that doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention!

  3. May I suggest more coffee early in the morning? And follow that up with a buttery croissant or something similar.

    I’m guilty of a few of your criticisms, Jan. First, and most noticeably, I almost never put anything after my name. I’m posting as a person and not as a commercial enterprise. I also find names followed by lists of titles and websites offputting, as though the writer is constantly showing off. It seems amateurish to me.

    Second, I often have nothing to say. Odd, but there it is. Perhaps I write too much, or talk to much to the computer or the dog, but at the end of the day, which is when I usually look at email, I am often at a loss for thought and hence words.

    I liked your post even if I disagreed with some of it.

    • Hi, Susan. Interesting points. I guess I should have been clearer about when to put the info in a sig line–I only do it on emails to writer’s groups, not for personal email or other groups. For writer’s groups, if someone says something that interests me, I want to be able to quickly go to their website or somewhere where I can find out more about them. So, I like seeing the info.
      As for your second point, I seem to never be at a loss for something to say, so can’t help you there. LOL I have the opposite problem–I have to refrain from answering too many posts.

  4. Hello Jan, I misplaced your card and can’t find your email address, so here I am instead. I love the different symbols you have created and the simple and straightforward format of this blog.

    That said, I am here to thank you so much for Organized to Death that I won in your giveaway. I enjoyed it very much and I hope there will be some more Tina Shaw mysteries in the future.

    • Inger, thanks so much for stopping by here and letting me know you enjoyed ORGANIZED TO DEATH. I’m so glad to hear that. I am writing a second one about Tina right now. Maybe you’d also like the one I wrote about a female private eye–she’s similar to Tina. That one is called PEFECT VICTIM. My email is in my conntact info. Just click on the tab if you want to get in touch privately. Thanks again!

  5. Andy, I’m talking about any kind of writer’s lists on the internet. For example, I belong to one that talks about short mystery fiction, and another about marketing mysteries. There are lots of lists about different genres and how to write out there, and it surprises me when writers who are trying to promote their stuff don’t do some of the things I’ve mentioned in this post. Hope it’s clearer now.

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