How to Write a Smashing E-Mail: Part Five

Keep your e-mails short and to the point. Most e-mails can be summed up within one window pane. If yours goes beyond that, reread it to make sure the extra length is essential. Not everything can be abbreviated, but respect other people’s time and the state of their inbox. However, you want to include all pertinent information so that you don’t create an e-mail chain where your note has created more confusion than clarity.

For example, if you’re announcing a book signing, or a business meeting, make sure you have all the relevant information in your note, so people don’t have to write back several times to ask questions. That creates more work for everyone. Always ask yourself when you’re writing, “Am I saying what I want to say in the least amount of words?” If not, kill your darlings. Delete unnecessary content.

Sigrid Macdonald is an editor, a manuscript evaluator, and the author of three books, including the newly released Be Your Own Editor. Find it on Amazon in paperback ( or on Kindle ( Or contact for a 20% discount off the regular $17.95 price.

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