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The author who hits reply instead of forward after receiving your response to her query. It doesn’t really matter what she says, but it’s always fascinating to be the fly on the wall, even if it’s for a brief moment. And for those of you who are embarrassed because you’re convinced I’m talking about you, don’t worry. This happens at least a couple of times a month.

I called a client to let her know we had interest in her book from a publisher. She was way ahead of me. Apparently she had seen hits on her website from that publisher’s URL.

When I was closed to queries I had an automatic reply to any email that used “query” in the subject. I noticed by accident that my automatic reply got an automatic reply that the querier was out of the office. I assume then that since “query” was still in the subject that my automatic reply replied. I’m just curious. How long do you think that went on for?


Category: Blog



  1. I saw similar circular emails years ago when a coworker went on vacation and set both office and home email to "auto-reply." The computers quickly flooded both in boxes with mail and the IT Department had to crash the email server (think over 1000 email accounts).

    They fixed it by using a "reply once" option to any particular email address.

  2. It makes my head spin to consider how the internet follows a digital paper trail these days. It gives me a modicum of comfort, sometimes even delight–other times, a wee bit of fear, honestly.

    Proof yet again that we all benefit from taking that breath before hitting the "send" or "post" button.

  3. My husband once encountered a reply issue. It seems a meeting was called, and since he's the VP over the division, he was invited (in the e-mail). One of the recipients hit "reply all" and complained that they had to meet with him, since she didn't think he had any business coming and checking up on them.

    Yet she didn't check her address block, and thus didn't realize she'd sent her diatribe directly to him until he called her into his office and showed her the e-mail. Ouch.

    We are not as careful with e-mail as we were with snail mail, and twitter and texting are causing us to be even less careful, I'm afraid.

  4. I get so much email and reply or forward quite often, obviously, that I know the opportunity to screw up is always a click away, but the classic "boo boo" happened when an editor of a small epub wrote a LOOOONG email to a friend totally trashing a multi-published, bestselling author who had submitted a story to the epub. She then sent it to the author's listserv instead of her friend, so that almost a hundred of us saw it.

    The editor was fired, the multi-pubbed author pulled her story from the publisher and we all learned a very good lesson. LOOK before you send!

    And how apropos that my word verification word is "wined." I've wined a lot over the years…

  5. Here's the boring answer – the application shouldn't send more than one out of office to any one email address. So if I email you three times I should only get one Out of Office reply.
    The best emails though are when the person gets a mail they didn't like hits reply and types in a load of abuse and then hits send instead of delete. One was sent to my boss in a previous job and it was followed up with a feeble 'um I think we have a virus so if you got any unusual emails from us then it must have been that.' – The email said: Yeah (name of my boss removed) we will do that you tosser.

  6. I sent a newsletter off to my mailing list just before going away on vacation and setting up my auto-reply. When I came back, my inbox was thousands deep with auto-replies to my auto reply.

    Took me a week to get through it all!

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