General Question

augustlan's avatar

What is the best way to submit writing samples via email?

Asked by augustlan (47715points) July 24th, 2012

All of my writing is on the web, so I could just provide links to it, but is that the way to go? Maybe it’s better to send them as attachments to the email, or even to send the actual writing sample(s) in the body of the email. What’s the preferred method?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I usually just send links to online writing samples. But if that is all you have, you could also send a attachments. The they can choose.

harple's avatar

I hate emails that are just full of links… The way you format your email to people is another example of your use of the written word, so it really matters how you do it.

I would perhaps format an email with the titles of the piece of writing (and maybe the name of the site it is found on), and maybe the first para or a key sentence from it, and then supply the link so they can click on to see the whole thing.

It’s a bit like providing a cv of work experience, so I would present it in a way that. Eg:

augustlan – my story

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wundayatta's avatar

What @harple said made me think about what I would like if I were an editor (which I am decidedly not, as everyone here who has ever read anything I write knows). I think that if you write an email with links to your writing, I would want you to tell me the story of your writing. I’d like it if you spent a short paragraph describing each piece, with the link to the piece in the first sentence of the paragraph.

However what I’d like is to have you present them in a way that you weave them together into a kind of integrated whole. Put them in some kind of sort order, possibly by topic, or possibly chronologically, but not necessarily. They should be in an order that helps each piece lead from one to the next and makes them stronger by tying them together in this way.

In the end, though, I want a story. Your stories should be stories, and the story about the stories should be a good story, too. It doesn’t matter what kind of samples we are talking about. Whether fiction, technical, legal, or sports writing, there’s a story behind the stories, and that is going to help you sell the stories, I believe.

But as I said above, I’m not an editor and I never edit, so what do I know? That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

_Whitetigress's avatar

I would go with a PDF version. If you are trying to get published and are merely inquiring don’t send your story along with the e-mail. Inquire first to see if they are interested in the plot.
Since you asking about samples obviously you have an agreement with someone. Again, PDF in the attachment. Links get too messy and who knows how many windows the reader may have open already. I’ve noticed a trend lately in people not wanting any attachments either and will ask for sample in body. In this case, I would go with major spacing between your inquiry and new paragraph labeled Sample in bold and then one space under that, followed by your story. Best of luck to you!

6rant6's avatar

I know most agents want samples in e-mails. Some advise that they will delete anything with attachments – you can understand why.

I would think a list of links would be tedious and worrisome to go through. Even if I like something, I can’t readily print it to hand to someone else. And one of your links could be malevolent.

Also, actually compiling the stuff gives you a chance to annotate and cherry pick. If I were an agent, or publisher, I would hope that you would go to the effort to do so. Show them how easy you are to work with by compiling and sending in an e-mail.

ETpro's avatar

@augustlan I totally agree with @6rant6. Links are the surest way short of copying the entire text into an email. Word Docs and PDFs all can be problematic depending on the operating system and software installed on the recipient’s machine.

Feel free to amplify the links with a couple of excerpted lines or a couple of sentences explaining what the link leads to—just like the SERPs from good search engines do.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks, everyone!

gambitking's avatar

Links are the way to go, they seem to outweigh attachments in many ways.

But I’d also consider promoting yourself online. Tap into the vast many social networks and online writing communities, as well as the industries you’re targeting and topics you write about.

Build a web presence for yourself, make yourself a valued asset all its own, and bolster it with a connection to a solid foundation online. Start by making sure you’re taking advantage of Google Authorship markup

When people review your work , and likely do a quick search of you on the net, and they see all of that stuff everywhere, you’ve already got a good footing.

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