Friday, November 4, 2011

Siglines: Simple is better.

I've seen this come up periodically, and a run-in with a truly obnoxious sigline the other day prompted this blog post.

What is a sigline? Sigline is short for "signature line," the close of your email. For example,

Tymber Dalton
email address

That is effective. And depending on if you're posting on email lists or not (and if you're an author, you should be), you might be limited by list rules as to how many lines you can have.

Let's start with what NOT to put in your sigline:

  1. NO graphics. They are annoying, and over half the time, they won't render anyway, especially on digests. Worse, they could render as html code, meaning they clutter up the list and make people irritated at you.
  2. NO long excerpts. By excerpts, I mean just that. No excerpts from reviews OR from your book. Period.
  3. NO animated graphics. (You'd think number one would make this obvious, but just thought I'd add it.)
  4. No ascii art or funky text or colors.
Now, those items cover 90% of poor sigline etiquette. So let's cover what you should do in your sigline:
  1. Mind your manners. If an email list says you can't have a sigline over five lines, then keep it short.
  2. Keep it short regardless of where you're posting. If your sigline is more than five lines, it's TOO LONG.
  3. Include your name, email address, and website. (Stick to the main website, all your other websites and social media should be included on your main website.)
  4. Keep it clean. Remember your audience might not all be appreciative of dirty limericks.
  5. Don't be political or religious. (We're talking promotions, not personal siglines. You might have your own beliefs, and that's fine, but don't go alienating readers who might not share those beliefs.)
  6. If you want to promo, keep it to one line, such as, "My new book, New Book, is available from my publisher at: link to webpage." That's IT. No book blurb, no excerpt. Do you like pushy sales people? No? Then why do you think your readers will like you being pushy while selling your book?
  7. Use plain text and plain backgrounds for your emails. Most of the time, it will render either incorrectly or worse, as a parcel of html code. Save the cutesy stuff for your personal emails, not for professional ones. Just because an email you send yourself looks good does NOT mean it'll look good to someone using a different email delivery system, especially if they're on digest.
I know some of you are whining, "But I have my banner in my sigline!" Or, "But I excerpted my great review in my sigline!" Tough noogies. Here's what happens when you post to an email list and people get it in digest form: you end up clogging their email inbox with a HUGE ASS bunch of crap. Especially if you post to the list frequently. So if you post, for example, five times in one day to an email list, and your sigline is coming in at twenty lines, that's one HUNDREDS lines people have to scroll through over...and over...and OVER again.

Get the picture?

Honestly, most people ignore or grumble about long signlines. They scan through them to get to the next message. If they get their email in individual post format, they stop when they get to the end of the email and hit delete. Most of the time, your long-ass sigline is only being kvetched about by people you've annoyed. So it's not an effective marketing tool if you're misusing it by cramming a lot of crap into it. 

So do yourself, and your readers and fellow listmates, a favor: keep it short, sweet, to the point, and no funky text or graphics.


  1. Love it. Hope everyone listens!!

    Melody S. Monroe Did I do it right?