There have been a number of posts responding to Scalzi, and responding to Ann, and responding to me. Notably, I rather liked Mamatas’s contribution to the conversation. (Though, sorry, I won’t shut up.)
However, in the spirit of cross-linkage, I wanted to point out this post by a Fantasy Magazine slush reader. It’s a useful break-down for new writers about how to present their stories, and how that presentation is being interpreted by slush readers.
I had my own addition to Molly’s list:
This would never have occurred to me before I started slushing, but donâ€™t send from an email address that lists you under a cutesy name.
Best case: Your email address sends mail as you. Hereâ€™s a sub from Sarah Ann Mayberry, listed as Sarah Ann Mayberry. Excellent.
Mildly unprofessional, but not enough so to make a difference: Your email address sends mail under some not-you identity that is obviously useful in your personal life, e.g. â€œBarry and Mary,â€ which is great when youâ€™re sending email as a couple, but less useful when itâ€™s only Barryâ€™s submission. These people might consider starting a professional g-mail account, but itâ€™s not a big deal either way.
BAD CASE: Your name is John Jones, but your email lists you as Thrashbar the Conquerer. Or The Seeker of All Evils. Your name is Susanne Height, but your email lists you as Lady Mistweather or The Golden Goddess or Feather Love, Bright Winter Falling. This email appears to have been set up as an RPG name, and suggests you might not have good taste in RPGs. Itâ€™s bad. It may even suggest you confuse yourself with the protagonist of your story.
WORST CASE: This hasnâ€™t happened yet, but Ann and I have been waiting for a submission to come in from someone with a name best left to bad spam. Get Harder Longer, submitting a story of approximately 2100 words for your consideration. Make Her Cry Your Name, with a tender tale of telepathically linked twins set against the background of the apocalypse. See Into Coed Showers wondering how to mark italics in his Jordan-esque epic fantasy.
ETA: Iâ€™m sorry â€” I realized this is perhaps â€¦ not clear. I donâ€™t care about the email address. You can be ThorThunsgratten@MaimedHammer.net and thatâ€™s fine.
Itâ€™s the NAME that appears with the email address that raises eyebrows. With gmail, I donâ€™t see your address unless I make an effort, but the email comes in sent from a name. That name is probably the one that you entered as your name when you made the account. If your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, I probably wonâ€™t even see it, as long as the name you entered is Thomas Wilkins. But if you entered your *name* as Lady Raventouch, and a story comes in from Lady Raventouch (email address email@example.com) then we kind of raise an eyebrow.