Sunday, June 26, 2016


A word about email addresses for writers.

A while ago I moved my email accounts and website to another provider. In the process I had to import my email contacts and distribution lists onto the new web server and I lost a few and had to hunt for them. Some I never found.

The experience taught me that many writers on my e-lists do not use their names in their email addies and are thus at risk of not being found when editors, readers, or colleagues search their address books for them. I discovered others use slightly risqué handles that are definitely not professional. Here are a few I found that I can safely post in a blog as examples of what not to use: downspout@, bestseller@, authortreasure@,
and dragonsbreath@.

So, here's the thing: Keep your weird/funny/naughty email addies for your personal life and Aunt Agatha. Open a more professional account using your name for your writing career's correspondence as soon as you start communication with writers, editors, periodicals, andassociations.  It's okay to use a free service like gmail or hotmail if you must, though I wouldn't. Instead secure your own domain using your name and you'll get email accounts with it; e.g. (This is not my real email, so don't try using it.)

But in the interim before you register a domain, most writers pay for connection to the Internet and have the use of several emails on the account. Use one for your writing life only and ensure that your last name, at least, appears in the address. Ideally use both your firstlastname@... because it makes searches accurate and quick. 

I can hear many of you saying, "Oh, but, my name's not available." Yes that happens with common names all the time. You have options:
  • Add an initial or two — juliehferguson@... or juliehtmferguson@....
  • Hyphenate the name, even better — julie-ferguson@... or julie-h-ferguson@....
  • Use periods - julie.ferguson@....
  • Add a meaningless number after both names. I would use a number that I'd never forget!
  • Use underscores as a last resort — they are easily confused with hyphens, especially when hand-written – julie_ferguson@....
There is always a way to achieve a searchable email address, so please open a separate, professional email account for your writing correspondence. It's too important to take a chance.

© Julie H. Ferguson 2015 (

QUESTIONS: Have you separated your email addresses for personal and professional use? If not, why not?