Friday 10 May 2013

Bizarre email of the week

There I was, diligently working away back in February 2011 when an email popped into my Inbox.

It was from Andy Murray.

And the subject line was:


I was intrigued, so I opened it up.

Here’s what happened next.

My initial reply was a genuine attempt to be helpful. But looking back now, I suppose it might have seemed high-handed and condescending.

Anyway, see what you think....

From: Andy Murray []
Sent: 26 February 2011 11:04

At nearly 56 years of age I am at a stage where what I want to do when I grow up is becoming more of an issue.  Roughly translated, that means that I am looking for work, and I am e-mailing you in the off-chance that you "sub-contract".  I garnered your details from a search on Google, and I thought, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I live in southern Scotland but, post-globalisation, you could live in Greenland , or Pluto, were it habitable, and still be able to submit excellent copy.  I was a freelance journalist for 16 years, during which I wrote news features and travel articles for most of the dailies, and for magazines and other outlets.  My work appeared in everything from Scotland on Sunday to those weekly colour magazines on various areas of Scotland that the former Maxwell camp used to bring out. I "shifted" for The Sun, the Record, The Herald and the Sunday Mail.   I wrote press releases for Gates Rubber Company, The Cheese Company, Dumfries and Galloway Enterprise and Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board.  I also had two books published (nothing that Spielberg would have been bothered about).  I have a huge portfolio of cuttings I could show you.

In 2004 I began my training to be a psychiatric nurse, completed the degree course, and have been nursing since then.  It was a bad move. My heart is in writing and I think I made a mistake in giving it all up when the going got tougher and tougher, and as cheques were left unsigned in the offices of newspaper accountants.

I have studied web writing in-depth; and I am itching to add that to my offline prowess. If you have any work available I would be delighted to hear from you.  Believe you me, FAST though I undoubtedly am,  I would not be expensive to hire.

Andy Murray (not the tennis player).

 My initial reply:

From: Jamie Hudson <>
To: Andy Murray <>
Sent: Mon, 28 February, 2011 15:44:09

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your email.

Unfortunately, I don’t usually put work out and if I ever do, it goes to the chap who lives two days away and is a freelance copywriter too.

A word of advice. Starting off your email with;

At nearly 56 years of age I am at a stage where what I want to do when I grow up is becoming more of an issue. 

…is an incredibly bad opening.

Readers don’t care about your age, stage of life or the issues you face.

We want to know what you can do for us. What benefits are you offering me? How can you make my life easier? Why should I give you work?

You need fewer ‘I’s and more ‘You’s’.

There are three ‘I’s in your opening sentence alone….

For more on better sales writing, read my blog, ‘Seven easy ways to improve your writing’ in my blog archive.

Best of luck.


P.S. Send some cuttings as attachments in PDF or JPeg form and show readers you can write.

From: Andy Murray <>
To: Jamie Hudson <>
Sent: Mon, 28 February, 2011 15:58:01
You are entitled to your opinion.  However, I have been inundated with very encouraging comments from fellow-PR professionals, and have more than enough work now on the strength of an e-mail which was almost universally praised for its capacity to get a great message across. Some of the reactions I have had have been astonishing.  One PR name, who earns a very lucrative living, admitted (with humility you will manifestly never have supposing you lived a dozen lifetimes) that she could not let me loose on any of her clients because they would switch to me.  Reasons?  My submission was "terrifically well written". You obviously do not possess enough humour to grasp the concept of my e-mail; or are too far along the autistic spectrum to see the merits dozens of very successful professionals have.  Perhaps, in the words of a man whose views I admire, you are "too far up your own arse".

Thank you for your advice that I read your blog, but I do not require any lectures from someone as patronising as he is self-important.

From: Andy Murray
Sent: 28 February 2011 16:03
To: Jamie Hudson

P.S. I have just had a wee look at your blog. If that is cutting-edge material, then God help us all. Oh, and you have the gall to criticise me for using the personal possessive pronoun.  You have more "I"s than a needle cushion.  I am laughing fit to excrete.

From: Jamie Hudson <>
To: Andy Murray <>
Sent: Mon, 28 February, 2011 16:25:58

Andy, that’s priceless. You’ve absolutely made my day.

You’ve also given me loads of material for my next blog which will feature you.

All the best.

Jamie x

From: Andy Murray
Sent: 28 February 2011 16:33
To: Jamie Hudson

Feature me in any way you wish, you numpty.  Your arrogance defies belief. Mind you, I did not expect the kind of person who composes the kind of  mind-numbing blog  I skimmed over to be big enough to see how often he uses the words "me" and "I".  Incidentally, in your e-mail, there ought to be a comma between "blog" and "which". Practise what you preach.  I am too seasoned to be fooled by blowhards.

At this stage, it all got a bit school playground, so I left it at that.

I suppose the moral of the story is, and as they used to say on ‘Hill Street Blues’, be careful out there...

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