Technology is a boon to writers but it can also be our enemy if it malfunctions without our knowledge. As a former student of The Writers Bureau, I submitted a piece of work to them two weeks ago hoping to earn a profile on their website; not merely a profile but the opportunity to have the links to my books, social media, blog and proofreading business on permanent display. This chance to gain some free publicity from a large, well-known organisation is being offered as part of its thirty-year anniversary as a going concern. A really good profile could also end up in their press and magazine advertising.
I knew this was too good to miss and I wrote the piece specified and sent it in with the other information required. To be on the safe side, I put their email address in my contacts so any response didn’t end up in the spam bucket …
Two weeks later, something niggled at me. Call it intuition if you like. I decided to check my spam bucket, although not for anything in particular, just to make sure I knew where it was. I couldn’t find it. I emailed an author pal and she told me where to find it … exactly where I had looked to no avail. I felt a bit aggrieved that Gmail hadn’t given me a spam bucket! Now what?
I knew something was urging me to investigate further and it occurred to me to put ‘spam’ in the search box. And what came up? The Spam bucket. It existed, the little devil, but not in my drop-down menu! And what was in it? One thing. My response from The Writers Bureau. They thought my piece was ‘brilliant’ and they would be in touch again nearer the end of this year. I would never have known and perhaps never received their next email, because the first email had been marked as spam. It follows that a great opportunity for promotion would be missed. (Given my memory these days, I’m not sure I would have followed any of it up, but trusted in Gmail to deposit their replies in the correct box.)
So, Gmail, that was naughty. The Writers Bureau, congratulations on your anniversary celebrations in January, 2019. And, writers, check your spam buckets before you empty them!