Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photo: Zach Inglis
There is a reason you should never check your email before you have your first coffee.
This morning, I woke to a message in my inbox from a writer I don’t know. She didn’t “introduce” herself (as in: “Hi, Julie, I’m _____ ____ and I’m a writer based in ______ who writes about _______. I found out about you through _________ and I’m writing because _________.”), but cut straight to the chase:
“I was commissioned to write a story about PR – any ideas or leads would be so appreciated!”
“PR” is Puerto Rico. I lived there for two and a half years and because I write about it often, I return there frequently.
This was, in fact, the second message I’d received from this writer. Last week she emailed to ask if I had any tourism board contacts on the island. In that message she said that she got my contact information from “Diana” (I know at least 4 Dianas, so I’m not sure which one she’s referencing, since she didn’t use a last name). She didn’t say why she wanted the information… much less persuade me why I should share it with her if I even had it (I don’t).
Writers, please don’t ever do this.
I’m extremely generous with leads, contacts, and ideas… if I know you, if I respect your work, and if I trust that sharing these won’t harm my own reputation. But if you’re effectively cold-calling me to do the work that YOU should be doing and you can’t even introduce yourself properly, don’t expect assistance.
In fact, don’t expect a reply.
I’m going to go have my coffee now.