Last week I wrote about how titles can help pre-sell your writing.
But any acquisitions editor also knows the frustration of receiving material from people who fail to create an appropriate title for the attached documents that contain their queries and proposals.
Consider these titles, a sampling from ones I've received in the past couple weeks:
● Full Proposal for Hartline Literary.doc
● FIRST THREE CHAPTERS.doc
● Book Proposal.doc
Yes, most of these file names at least identify the content's genre. But I get no clue who sent them—or what kind of project they're for. So after downloading the file, I have to rename each one so I can later find them in my computer.
When naming a file to send to an agent or editor, the rule of “reader first” applies. These people receive emails from countless people, so don't camouflage your attachment with an anonymous file name. A title like “Full Proposal for Hartline Literary” may help you identify that document, but in the computer of a Hartline agent, it sticks out like one more penguin on the iceberg.
Instead, I suggest something like this: Becky Smith fiction proposal.doc (assuming your name is Becky Smith and you're proposing a novel) or Ira Roth proposal on Retirement Savings Myths.doc.
I'll let my colleagues check in with their own file name preferences. But my advice is to apply one of those great life principles we all learned in kindergarten: Put your name on your paper.