I am a huge emailer. It’s vital to the business end of photography and sometimes the only way I’ll communicate with a client. I also send a lot of emails to strangers…”How about we take some photos!” “You’re a badass artist!” “Check out my portfolio!” “Your stupid bear-hat hoodie thing is ridiculous!” I don’t end them all with exclamation points (that would be offensive) but often I do so people will hear the excitement in my voice without having to resort to an emoticon which I don’t do, because I am a grown ass man.
As an avid emailer, I send a lot of emails to other photographers asking about things or telling them they are awesome. I have about a 70% return rate of them getting back to me, answering my question or saying thanks or what have you. And I’m absolutely ON POINT when it comes to replying other people’s emails because I feel like it is LITERALLY the least I can do. I mean, literally, it requires the absolute least amount of effort I can possibly (not) muster.
Soooo, I just got a CD by a musician who I thought was really pretty cool. She was doing something kind of different and I’d been wearing the album out in the car. She’s playing here soon so I sent her this exact email :
Underground Artist That I Respect,
I just picked up your CD at the recommendation of a friend and I’ve been listening to it for 3 days straight! Long story short, I’m a photographer and would love to take your photo while you’re here. I do a lot of portraits, and it would be cool to work with someone’s who’s music is so badass! I’m fast, and I can come to you. I know you’ll be crazy busy, but I’d love the opportunity if you’ve got a minute. This is me:
I look forward to hearing from you,
No answer. A week goes by. Nothing. I’m kind of crushed. Nay, I am crushed. Period.
Let’s look at this another way. What if she’d written me?
I came across your website a few days ago and I just wanted to write and tell you I couldn’t stop licking the screen. I’m a singer/rapper type, and I’ll be in Los Angeles next week. I was hoping I could play a quick set for you and some of your friends. I’ll work with your schedule, and hope we can meet soon!
How much of a Complete Dick would I be if I didn’t even acknowledge the email? (Big.) No apologetic thanks-but-no-thanks, or I’d love to but I’ll be out of town, or Hell yea, let’s do this! Instead, I was completely ate up with my own imaginary life that is “so crazy hectic” that I don’t have time to write emails to fans. Not cool.
...from a serial killer, apparently.
A couple things you should know. She’s a touring musician, but she’s not famous. I didn’t write Beyonce and get butthurt because she didn’t write back. Secondly, her email address is on her website. So why would you put your email address on your website if you aren’t going to answer it? Save yourself some trouble and don’t even offer the option. What I’d like to do is send a follow up email asking her where her fucking manners are. But I’m not going to do that. Instead:
Mary Robinette Kowal
has issued a challenge to write a letter each mail day through February, and I’m on board. I’m taking this task on as a way to revive the art of correspondance and to attempt something positive in the wake of being dissed. So if you want some actual physical mail from me, email me
your address and the mail-person will deliver you a death-threat, a love letter, a test print, a postcard from the vintage store, or a page from my notebook of lies and sorrow. You can specify which one you want. Maybe we’ll be pen pals. You know, if I don’t get too busy.