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Promoting Yourself With Signature Files 

by Nann Dunne

A simple, free, and unobtrusive way to promote yourself, your works, and/or your services is by adding a signature file to your emails.

What is a signature file?

A signature file—often called a sig file—is several lines of type added below your email signature. Think of it as a mini-billboard, offering information to everyone who reads your emails.

What should it contain?

Some people add a favorite quotation or a piece of philosophical wisdom that strikes their fancy. But for promotional purposes, a sig file can contain information such as your books, your achievements, your expertise. You should include your URL(s), and other email addresses you might wish to make available.

At whom should it be aimed?

You can choose the same sig file for all your emails, or the file can be shaped for various audiences. For example:

You might use a more personal one for close friends and family:

Hug someone you love today.
One for emails and lists related to writing could promote your published works and any noteworthy credentials in your field:

Nann Dunne
Author: Staying in the Game. Co-Author: True Colours;
Many Roads to Travel (True Colours, Book Two)
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: Just About Write, an online
newsletter with writing tips at
Author site:

Another could promote a service you might be offering:

Nann Dunne
Professional editor and author with 27 years’ experience
can help prepare your work for possible publication.
Services and rates are listed at (URL).

How do I add a sig file to my emails?

Some browsers provide a way to do this.

For AOL:
The following procedure must be done for each new signature you want to make. (It sounds more complicated than it is.)

At the top of the AOL screen, click on Mail. On the drop-down menu, click on Signatures. A box appears, giving several options. Click on Create, and another box appears that looks like your Write email box. Where the Subject would go, give each signature an appropriate and memorable name, such as Nann family, Nann author, Nann editor, etc. Compose your signature in the text box.

AOL gives you the opportunity to put some fancy looks on your emails, but I prefer plain backgrounds, especially since colors look different on some browsers and can make the emails difficult to read.

When you’re finished composing your sig file(s), click on the one you use the most then click on Default On/OFF to put a red check mark next to the one chosen. Now, when you click on Write to send an email, the default signature will automatically appear on your email. If you want to use a different signature, you must first go to Mail, Signatures, and change the Default to the sig you need. When you then click on Write, the new sig will appear.

For Outlook Express or Netscape
I don’t use Outlook Express or Netscape, but I’ve found a place that gives step-by-step directions. Please try this site:;gid=17,pid=334,bid=847

If your browser isn't one of the three above, or you have trouble with these directions, you can always compose several signature files on a page in your word processing program, save them, then call up the file to cut and paste as needed.

Try to keep your signature files short, as some say longer ones may not be read. Four or five lines or less are recommended, though if you must use more, then do. Take a look at the various sigs used here in the newsletter to get some ideas. Author, editor, reviewer Lori Lake, for instance, uses one for her articles, one for her reviews, and another one for personal emails.

If you are undecided about using a sig file, ask yourself if you have something you would like to share with everyone who reads your email. Many readers appreciate information on who you are and where to reach you. Promoting and marketing yourself and your work will never be any easier or less expensive!

—Nann Dunne 
© 2003, Nann Dunne

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