You have decided to write to me. Excellent! I don’t allow comments anymore on my site, but I always welcome correspondence, hopefully in a longer form than the usual, rushed commentary written during those ten spare seconds. (If you want to share a quick comment or observation, you can find me on Twitter and App.net. I’m not active on any other social network.)
Normally, when I read other people’s blogs and websites, I’m a bit put off when I find ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’ for contacting the authors. Often, the feeling is that it’s all an elaborate system to passive-aggressively discourage feedback. It’s not my intention, and not the reason why — after one year and a half since I launched this site — I’ve decided to create a page like this.
No, if I’m writing this, is out of sheer pragmatism. I want to give you an idea of what to expect from our correspondence, so that you can decide what to do beforehand. So that you can decide if what you want to write me may start a constructive exchange, or if it’s going to be a waste of time, for both of us.
Things to know about my email management
In no particular order:
- I read all emails. I receive a fair share of messages, but so far my @morrick.me Inbox is rather manageable.
- I very rarely respond right away. In case of work-related communications (collaboration proposals, estimates for writing or translation assignments, and the like), I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion, because such emails usually have precedence over any other kind of message. The fact is that I don’t always work at home, I read my mail on many devices, according to the mobile office setup of the moment, but 98% of the time I write back from my main machine in my home office. So there may be some delays.
- Typically, my promptness in honouring email correspondence is directly related to the current workload. The busier I am, the longer I’ll take to get back to you, especially if the nature of your message demands a long, articulate reply. When I work from home, and have a lot of stuff going on, I tend to reduce distractions, so I leave my email clients closed most of the time, opening them and reading emails during much needed breaks.
- I read all emails, but I don’t necessarily reply to all emails. Read further on for more information.
Things I am not interested in
Sorry, but this website is not a collaborative space. It’s not a tech news site. I’m not a company looking for editors or collaborators to keep the contents up-to-date. It’s essentially a personal website, so you can’t write for it or on it. Therefore, any proposal about having your article / essay / contribution featured here will be ignored.
Working for free
This seems obvious, but let me explain anyway. Perhaps you may think I could be interested in doing some translation work for your website or company and you feel I’d be honoured to see my name appear on your website, and that this kind of visibility would be more than enough for me. Sorry, but that’s not the case, no matter how important you are or you think you are.
Advice from ‘social media experts’, SEOs, and the like
I don’t need it. Don’t even waste the time to copy-paste your spammy message. Thanks in advance.
Advertising is an interesting subject matter. If you feel like promoting your company or product by placing an ad on my website, consider that the only space available is small. The ad could be placed in the sidebar, which allows for an image no larger than 120×120 pixels and 2-3 lines of text. The sidebar is always visible on every page of my website. The image has to be static; no animations. Any other form of advertising proposal (big banners or other images to be placed in different places than the spot indicated) will be ignored.
Of course, even when your advertising proposal complies with these requirements, don’t take for granted that I’ll just accept your money and place your ad on my website. Advertising is endorsing, so I also have to know/like your product. Before contacting me, try to read some of my articles to better understand where I come from, what interests me, the way I work and the tools I use.
Writing articles or essays for you
In the past, I have been contacted a few times by people who wanted me to write something for them (at a price). I am not opposed to this kind of proposals, but I’d like to be clear on a couple of points:
- If you’re vague about yourself, don’t offer any kind of information about who you are or who you work for, don’t offer links or other ways for me to see for whom I’ll be writing my article, don’t even bother sending me an email. (e.g. “Hello, I’m Mr Smith and work for an important media company / tech news site / etc. and I’d like you to consider writing…” Sorry, you’ll have to provide me a way to check that information: give me a link to the site, give me names so I can search information about you.)
- If you’re asking me to write about a certain subject and demand that my piece have a particular spin or bias, again, forget about it. Same goes for product reviews: I’m happy to consider your product and write about it, but I won’t tell lies. So, no ‘positive’ reviews or reviews that emphasise the positive aspects of a product over the downsides/drawbacks. My audience knows well, by now, that I try to be as objective as possible in my assessments, and I won’t stain this reputation by writing what you want.
Submitting materials to my attention
People have written to bring the most varied things to my attention — like articles, images, link to websites, videos, even scientific essays and other research materials — in the hope that I’d be interested enough to talk about such things on my weblog, or at least share the source with my readers. Again, nothing wrong with that. I’m naturally curious and love to discover new things, learn something new. But please bear in mind points 1 and 2 of the previous section, because they apply here as well. Avoid vagueness at all costs. Provide as much information as you can. Don’t write a generic email asking if I’m possibly interested in something without providing at least a link to this something you’re talking about.
Examples: it is okay to write “Hi Rick, I’ve written this essay on the importance of responsive Web design [link to the essay]. If you’d like to take a look and let me know what you think… Etc.”. It is not okay to write “Hi Rick, would you be interested in reading an essay on the importance of responsive Web design? Let me know.” If you don’t give me a link straight away, don’t even bother writing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rudeness on my part, I just want to avoid a waste of time for both of us. Give me a link and I’ll try to make some time to go read/watch your material: if it’s good stuff, I’ll be glad to talk about it sooner or later, and bring it to the attention of my (smallish) audience.
If you don’t hear from me
As I said at the beginning, I read all emails, but I don’t necessarily reply to all of them. If you don’t hear from me after a reasonable time (remember: I rarely respond to emails right away), possible reasons include:
- You haven’t followed these guidelines.
- You have repeatedly written at two or more of my email accounts, in an effort to be noticed at all costs.
- You have written a rude, inflammatory, or otherwise offensive message.
- If you have followed these guidelines, or you have reason to believe I should have replied to you by now, and you still haven’t heard from me, check if you wrote my email address correctly. Your email could also have mistakenly been caught by anti-Spam filters. I usually check my Spam mailbox, but not as frequently as my Inbox, especially when I’m very busy. If you’re on Twitter, you can alert me by sending a @reply. On Twitter I’m @morrick. I use the same username on App.net. Otherwise, try sending another, shorter reminder email.
- Of course, there’s always the possibility of a technical error, a temporary email server downtime, etc. I can’t do anything about that.