Saying Goodbye

Calm down. I’m not going anywhere. I was just getting your attention.

I was submitting a short story just now, and the literary magazine required a cover letter. Fine, no problem. But then I got to the end of my email, and I was stumped. How do I sign off? I usually solve this problem in business emails by ending the email with a thank you of some kind, but in this case I had just written “thanks for your consideration” and now what? This is when I began to think for maybe the hundredth time that there are really not very many – or perhaps any – satisfying email sign-offs.  For example:

Sincerely. Oh, you’re a writer? Good job. Very creative.

Best. Best what? What does it mean? Ambiguity is another fantastic quality in a writer.

Regards. You clearly have no original thought whatsoever.

I went with warm regards, so now the editors believe I’m not just boring, but also (lamely) hitting on them.

I’m open to suggestions. Seriously. Help me.

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3 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. Since you are asking for advice, my suggestion would be that you should not try to show creativity in formalities. Formalities are just that — formal. The forms exist to provide a comfortable way in which we can interact, while each of us understands what is expected of the other. Thus, it is always proper to begin “Dear X” with a comma or colon depending on whether it is a personal or business letter; and to finish with “Sincerely,” or “Respectfully,” as appropriate.

    These forms are like the forms of spelling, punctuation, spacing or indentation: they are not the place for creative new ways of doing things! A poet is not being less creative if he or she observes the rhyme scheme and meter of the sonnet; there is plenty of room for creativity within the form. Neither is a writer being less creative by observing the word count on a publication. The place for creativity here is in the body of the letter, not in the formalities that help to frame it as a business letter.

    Now, that’s just advice, since you asked for advice. You can do what you like.

  2. I take your point. I do. There’s just something in me that feels like it’s my job to think of something fresh but still formal. I’m not talking about one of those obnoxious, trying-to-hard sign-offs like “Seize the day!” I’m talking subtle, unobtrusive, clean. The kind of sign-off you might read-over and then do a double take; you know, like a so-simple-it’s-genius Cormac McCarthy sentence.

    Low expectations for this whole sign-off thing. I know.

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