Scripta picture Scripta Word Services
Professional editing for individuals, publishers, and businesses

verba volent, scripta manent – words flee, writing remains

Home Contact me Articles Writing course Services described Editing samples Endorsements About Marg Gilks Links


© Marg Gilks

  1. Learn how to spell properly.

  2. Learn basic grammar. They cover most of it in grade 5. Or weren't you there?

  3. Don't try to write intelligent-sounding subject lines when you're not. Big words misused look stupid, not intelligent.

  4. Learn how to construct an actual business letter, and realize that's what you're supposed to be writing, not an eighteenth-century bodice-ripper peppered with purple prose, or something modelled after an absence letter your daddy wrote for you in grade 2.

  5. Realize that no one other than those sending scam letters from a Third World country refer to themselves as Mr. or Mrs.

  6. Don't type your subject in ALL CAPS. In Netspeak, that's shouting. You look hysterical.

  7. Note that legitimate businesses do not end every sentence with an exclamation point. They certainly don't use multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Ever thought that the reason you have to disguise words like Cialis and sex and Viagra as c1a|i$ and $e'X and v1a&r@ to get around spam blockers is because the recipients have no use whatsoever for bootleg Ciallis and Viagra and bought sex and wouldn't buy it from you anyway, even if they mistakenly received or opened your email? Duh.

  9. Look at your subject line: "Eliminate everything you are indebted for." Well, no; if I didn't want it, I wouldn't have gone into debt to acquire it. There's that grammar throwing you for a loop again. Of course, anyone stupid enough to buy such a "service" from spam emailed from a fake or appropriated email address is probably too stupid to see anything wrong with that subject line.

  10. Don't try to pass yourself off as the webmaster (or support, or service, or admin...) of a domain to the real webmaster/administrator of that domain.

  11. Time limits? Give me a break. What is this, a race? The businesses you're trying to phish want clients; they're not going to drive them away with 24-hour time limits.

  12. Do you really think those on a gardening forum are interested in your "How to win at the casinos" scheme? If you're going to "advertise" by barging into chat forums, I know it's hard, but THINK about the ones to which you should post. "Gamblers Anonymous" strikes me as more appropriate...

  13. It's of course impossible to get the recipient's name right when you're sending the same spam email en masse to hundreds of harvested addresses, but try to get your recipient's sex right in the opening salutation, especially when you're trying to claim that you chose them, personally.

  14. Don't expect respect as a man when you're sending out spam that only reinforces how pathetically clueless and insecure the men must be who fall for some of those subject lines. And don't be surprised if recipients don't believe a subject line like "My girl thinks I'm a god in bed" from a sender name like Betty Jones.

  15. Does it really surprise you that a woman will automatically delete an email with a subject promising that it can help her increase the size of her johnson, or please her woman in bed?

  16. No one who sees a sender name like Yashimoto Hernandez or Pablo O'Reilly is going to believe it's from a legitimate person's legitimate address.

  17. Don't try to get personal with intelligent people; they don't want to know that you're a new man, you've discovered this fantastic miracle you want to share with them, or that you heard what Debi said last night. Intelligent people have good memories. They remember who their friends are. You're not one of them, no matter how familiar you try to sound.

  18. Did you buy that degree you were too busy spamming to earn? Is that why you're sitting at your computer at night, emailing garbage to people you don't know?

  19. Who would open an email with a subject line that's all gibberish?


Marg Gilks is a writer and professional editor specializing in fiction. She's been working one-on-one with authors to help them prepare their work for publication for over ten years. Visit to learn more about her editing services, manuscript evaluations, and FUNDAMENTALS OF FICTION, her 8-week e-mail course covering fiction-writing basics including point of view, showing instead of telling...all the way through to putting the final polish on your manuscript.

email Marg Gilks

This article may be reprinted in its entirety (including bio) if you e-mail me for permission.

Return to top of page

Copyright © Marg Gilks. All rights reserved. All trademarks, logos, & book covers are the sole property of their respective owners.