Lessons Learned...The Rejection Way - #7

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Watch those subject lines
There are so many agents and publishers taking electronic submissions these days. All you gotta do is fix up a nice quick "cover letter" email, and hit the check spelling button, then send that baby off, right?? Boy, do I wish.

I usually go a step further than this and write my letter on Word, hoping to catch misuses, repeats, grammar, and so on. Then I proofread, put it away for a few days, then proofread again. Finally, I copy and paste it into my email body....then I finally hit send.

I try--really--to be so careful.

But I always forget to proofread that darn SUBJECT LINE. And I'm really beginning to wish you could spell check the subject line because once I wrote Submission as SBUMISSION and another time I wrote it as SUMISSION...all to the same publisher. Oops.

As soon as I hit send, I saw the misspelling and wished I could undo, undo, undo. The Subject line is what editors see before they even look at your cover letter or your synopsis or even your story. Misspells on the Subject Line cannot be cool.

Now I didn't receive a rejection letter that actually said, "I cannot believe you can't even spell SUBMISSION. We are so not looking at your proposal just because of that." (okay, fine, I confess I actually sold that story), but it was still way embarrassing. Not only did it make me feel unprofessional, but it had to start that editor off with a bad first impression.

So, hey everyone, don't forget to proofread the subject line too before you hit SEND!!!

(PS: I actually re-read the subject line for this post and found out I'd spelled Lessons as LEASONS. Yay, I actually followed my own advice for once!)


  1. Good advice! I know we all make those silly mistakes that make us shudder later. lol

  2. Great advice. Proofreading is something I am not very good at. So I try and try and yet, something is still wrong. So, I know that it is something that I have to work at myself.

  3. Good advice. I did the same thing recently. Boy was I mortified. I still haven't heard from the magazine! :(

  4. I'm usually bound to misspell something. I think it's just a talent of mine!

  5. I want to know why it's always AFTER Ihit send that I find the problem? Doesn't matter how many times I read the darn thing either. Sigh.

  6. So true, Linda! It must be the fault of that enthusiasm (or impatience) to get our work away.

  7. Yeah, I've done that too...

    Happy New Year Linda:)

  8. You're cute and I'm glad you're right beside us as we all go along this path. Hugs :O)

  9. *cringe* Eeks, I'm so sorry that happened, and I will try to remember always forevermore to check my subject line. I think a lot of mistakes happen when we get overtired.

  10. He he. :)
    Actually, my mac does underline misspelled words even in titles and subject lines etc. HOWEVER, it ALSO tends to autocorrect to an entirely wrong word (and I don't catch it, if there isn't a red underline...which there isn't when it auto-corrects *sigh*)...AND if my typo is a real word, spelled correctly, but not the word I meant, it obviously doesn't catch those either. Thus, even with Mac's spell check I mess up all the time. Embarrassing indeed.
    Love this post.
    Your new friend,

  11. GASP! Macs check the title and subject lines?? I knew I've been wanting a Mac for a reason. I just got an iPad and totally love it.

    Microsoft will autocorrect words too, so that's nothing new for me.

    You've definitely got my wheels turning. Thanks, Lola!