Should You Send that Quick “Thank You” Email?

ThanksgivingSince tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., my thoughts turned to the idea of being grateful and saying “thank you.” One thing I’m thankful for this week is the fact that I’ve gotten on top of my email and it’s no longer a scary behemoth. Since email is a constant challenge for me, I’ve always been torn over whether to send quick “thank you” emails to acknowledge something, or to finish up an email conversation. I’m very hesitant to contribute to others’ email glut.

But I will no longer struggle with this.

I’ve concluded that I will always send a “thank you” email when it makes sense. Here’s why:

1. Gratitude is always appropriate. I don’t think it’s ever wrong to say thank you.

2. The value of a thank-you outweighs the concern over “too many emails.” It’s easy for the recipient to quickly delete the email if they want.

3. A thank-you email lets the other person know you received their communication. It can also signal that a conversation has been satisfactorily concluded.

4. People appreciate being acknowledged. It’s basic human nature to want to be recognized for something you’ve done.

5. Gratitude is good for my soul. Regardless of how the other person takes it, I am always better for taking a moment to be thankful for something. Anything.

I also realized that if I want to make things easier for the recipient, I can write “Thank you – EOM” in the subject line so they don’t even have to open the  email. (EOM = end of message — the entire message is in the subject line.)

So what do you think — have I made my case for the “thank you” email?

Happy Thanksgiving!




  1. Fiona Druce says:

    Ms. Gardner, as always, you had the exact answer I needed. Just received my first rejection (rather than dejected, I feel like a real author now, lol) and wondered whether I should thank the agent for his consideration or not.

    It’s always a tough balance between causing more work to be sifted through and just plain having good manners.

    I’m Southern and your post helped out: it’s never wrong to be polite. 🙂


    Thanks 😉

    — Fiona Druce

  2. I appreciate thank yous myself and send them whenever they come to mind. Love your positive points so I can keep sending them guilt-free, and also like the idea of putting the entire message in the subject line.

  3. You certainly made your case, Rachel. I’m a big fan of thank you e-mails. I’m also a bigger fan of the good ole handwritten thank you note. I have a box full of thank you notes from family and friends, some who have passed away. Periodically I’ll read the notes and they bring back wonderful memories.

  4. Yes, you’ve made your case and I completely agree.

    Thank you for the time and wisdom that you share so generously.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Rachelle and everyone reading this blog. Blessings!

  5. Yes, great post. Thank you! 🙂

  6. You’ve made the case. And along those same lines, thank you for this wonderful blog. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from you over the years.


  7. I’m not sure what to make of this post and all the comments, so I’ll ask directly: When an agent turns my work down (as has happened in the past), I usually don’t reply, not even to, err, thank the person for taking the time to reject my work. Do you suggest a thank you in such situations? Or am I correct to just leave it alone. I have always assumed thanking someone for a “no” of any sort would be pointless, and that sending such a thank you would further waste the person’s time. In general, even in a series of e-mails, once I feel the conversation is over in the mind of the other person, I won’t bother with a final thank you email. Sometimes, I’ve really wanted to send one, as a way of sort of hoping that the door would be open to future submissions. It’s a complicated question, I think. Thanks for the thought-provoking entry. Love your blog, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

    • MFA Writer Guy,

      I’m a writer and not an agent, so perhaps Rachelle or any other agent reading this will correct me if I’m leading you astray. I think a “thank you for your time” quick email is not a bad thing. I don’t think thanking a person is ever “pointless” and you will not be wasting the person’s time if the thank you is in the subject line with EOM as Rachelle mentioned. Think how many queries agents spend their time reading without being paid for it. And then they read manuscripts on their “free” time. How many writers thank them for taking that time? I’m a teacher and it’s mostly a thankless job. When, at the end of a semester, a student thanks me, especially if that student has not gotten a good grade in the class, it helps keep me going. It helps me believe that what I’m doing is not a waste of time. A thank you is particularly meaningful when is a genuine expression of gratitude, not just a polite way to say, “I’m delighted I got what I wanted.”

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Thanks, Rachelle.

    As a matter of fact, this point is something I’ve often thought about/ worried over after meeting with an agent at a conference. (Well, a good meeting!)

  9. Lauri Meyers says:

    And thank you for your always helpful posts!

  10. Rachelle, Thank you for a blog well-done, well-used and of great encouragement!

  11. Gary says:

    Gratitude is a mark of character. Can’t say I am have 360 degree thankfulness though. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. I have received several of them. Don’t bother me with an email that merely says, “Thank you.” IMHO, it takes more time to open and read than those words are worth.

  13. That’s one of my favorite things about you! Thanks for responding to emails and for being an amazing agent.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  14. Joe Pote says:

    Yes. Thank you – EOM

  15. Such a simple acknowledgement, and so underrated. Thank you? Always.
    Same for text messages. Acknowledgement goes a long way when we’re using a medium lacking tone and prone to confusion.

  16. Thanks, Rachelle. Love your posts. Happy Thanksgiving. Wish we had something similar in the UK to focus thankfulness.

  17. Tehila says:

    I truly appreciate these comments. From now on, I will never again hesitate to write a Thank You email!

    Appreciate your short, yet profound, thoughts on the subject.

  18. Penelope J says:

    A good subject for this season. Thank you for reminding us how much a thank you matters.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  19. Lynda Schmeichel says:

    In my last job the company sent out an email discussing upgrades to the company computer system. One of the reasons they cited for needing additional storage space is the abundance of “thank you” emails sitting on people’s computers unopened & unnecessary (in their opinion). Soon after they started using an internal dialogue system which allowed employees within the same building to “talk” to each other on their computer screens without having to send an email. This was a very large corporation & although I could see their point, I thought it was a sad commentary on the state of society when it was considered bad form to send a thank you email.
    Thank YOU for all the information you disseminate to us, I have found so much useful stuff in your posts. Thank you for explaining EOM, I didn’t know what this meant & I like the idea of using it in the subject line. And have a great Thanksgiving!

  20. Years ago, a mentor told me to develop an “attitude of gratitude.” Expect nothing and appreciate everything that is done. I say thank you to service people, doctors, store clerks and seniors who welcome me to the store. So saying thank you to someone in an email just flows from that. I’m not bragging, btw, it makes me happy to do it, so it’s as much for me as it is for the recipient. Entitlement leaves one feeling jilted, but gratitude never fails to leave a joyful memory.

  21. R.A.Savary says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Thank you all.

  22. Rose Gardener says:

    You made an excellent case for the thank you e-mail. 🙂
    I can’t remember ever being irritated by a thank you mail, but sometimes the lack of one leaves a sour taste. A two word mail to say thank you takes only a second to write and to read, but the goodwill lasts a long time.

  23. Susan says:

    I agree completely.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    And thank you, Rachelle. 🙂

  24. You did. Thank YOU for yourr awesome blog!

  25. Thank you notes are definitely important. E-mails are easy to send, too. I always appreciate it when my students send me thank you e-mails for writing recommendation letters or for helping them with their work. It makes me feel like I’ve actually gotten through to them.

  26. Mandi Lynn says:

    I always send thank you’s. My teacher told me that there is a college that gives out scholarships, but only after you send a thank you. It’s actually sad that it’s had to come to that.

  27. Jeanne says:

    “Thank you” are two words we should use as often as we can. Even if it’s in an e-mail. When someone helps me in some way, I want to say thanks.

    I’m glad you explained “EOM,” too. 🙂 I just learned a new acronym! 😉

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Rachelle.

  28. Robin Weeks says:

    Such a good idea–though perhaps not in response to a simple query rejection? 🙂

  29. Zan Marie says:

    Thank you for all the time you spend eductating us.

  30. Sue Harrison says:

    I think I speak for most of your clients, Rachelle, and I certainly speak for myself. A “thank you” from you makes my whole week bright.

    Thank you for all you do for all of us! Happy Thanksgiving!

  31. Isabel says:

    I’m over hmmm…mumble…and distressed by the lack of ‘thanks’ today. Reading is my most important connection to the world – has always been – and it’s surprising the appreciation I’ve received when I post a ‘thank you’ to an author whose book I’ve just read and enjoyed.

  32. Sarah Thomas says:

    Perfect! I agree with James, though, that a “thank you” for a “thank you” gets to be too much. “You’re welcome,” as the right response if any is needed at all.

  33. Terri Weldon says:

    You made your case! Plus you answered a question for me on whether or not I should send a thank you email on an email I received yesterday. Thank you and have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

  34. joylene says:

    Once I sent a nice lady a head’s up, she replied with a thank you and some praise for a job well done, I reciprocated with a “It was nuttin”, to which she replied with a “You’re terrific”. By then I figured this had gone on long enough and not to be Annie Wilkes, I decided to end it there. But, you know, it bothered me not saying that final thanks. I should have. Time went by and doing it after a few days seemed silly. But now I’m not so sure.

  35. Roxanne Sherwood Gray says:

    Yes, you made your case. I won’t hesitate to send a thank you when appropriate. (Thanks for explaining “EOM.” That’s new to me.)

    Our society isn’t very thankful or polite. In fact, my 14-year-old is often complimented on his manners, and he’s a great kid but I think his behavior should be about average, if only the other kids would cooperate. 😉

    Thank you for such helpful advice in this blog and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  36. I agree completely, as long as you are not thanking someone for thanking you. 🙂

    I recently read a post on Jungle Red Writers that cited studies that practicing gratitude over a period of time affects your brain. It appears that gratitude is not only good for your soul, but for your brain as well.

    ~ Jim

  37. Etiquette has gone by the wayside. It sits near the rotary phone and jeans for teenage boys that go all the way up.

    A simple ‘thank you’ can be perfectly sufficient. Or a more detailed note as well. However one chooses to show gratitude, it’s about showing gratitude. Don’t cut corners on good manners.

    But, in case anyone is reading this?
    My thank you’s may also include ridiculous amounts of Canadian chocolate.

  38. For me, the factor that obviates the “too many emails” bugbear is the fact that a thank you comes at the end of an established conversation.

    It is a boost to see it – I genuinely want to help my correspondents, and it’s a small affirmation that, perhaps, I did.

  39. I completely agree, and I always send one, too. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for your wonderful (and very helpful) blog!

  40. Elissa says:

    Thank You 🙂


  41. You’ve made your case.

    I’m always a bit disappointed when a correspondence ends without a “thanks”. It makes me feel just a little bit used.

    It’s similar to what I often see at the beginning of an email – the salutation is just, “Andrew,”. No “dear, no “hello” ot “hi”. It’s an assumed informality that goes too far for my taste.

    Happy Thanbksgiving!

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