I just discovered that Yahoo Mail has been embedding links in my emails. Not cool.
Maybe I should have done more research when I set up the account on the eve of switching from Comcast to Verizon. I had decided that I needed an email address for fiction submissions that isn’t tied to a paid service because response times for queries and especially for short story subs can take months, and you don’t want to have them dangling out there if you change providers. But I guess free email comes with a price, and in this case it’s the distracting links that Yahoo arbitrarily peppers your text with, causing words and phrases in query letters, flash fiction stories, and sample chapters to be highlighted and underlined.
It’s maddening because I put a lot of care into my queries and subs, making sure to follow guidelines and avoid messy formatting. The rule of thumb for sending stuff to people who read all day is to keep it stark and simple. Add to that the fact that most agents and editors live in fear of virus laden attachments and so request that you paste your writing into the body of the email, and you have a recipe for distracting, intrusive hijacking of your prose as Yahoo attempts to redirect the reader to some wiki, or search results for a catch phrase, or a map of a location you mentioned in passing.
When you’re trying to make reading as easy as possible for someone who has very limited time to asses your work at a glance–someone who will often jump at the first good reason you give them to thin out the slush pile with a quick form reply–you don’t need your email provider getting creative.
Yahoo calls them shortcuts. Shortcuts to what, rejection? Diversion?
Thankfully, the agents who have gotten past the query stage and requested chapters from me lately are asking for Word doc. attachments. But since you can’t turn Shortcuts off (you can only hide them in your own viewing of Yahoo Mail) I’m dropping Yahoo going forward. The only reason I went with them in the first place was because it’s easy to check it on my phone.
Does Gmail do anything crazy like this?