You’ve got a great set of songs recorded, you’ve got some nice artwork to accompany the music and you’re ready to work with professionals in the music industry. You write an introductory email and send it out to every music label, publisher and manager email address you can get your hands on. You sit back and…crickets.

Truth is, music industry professionals are not waiting around for your email. They’re busy with work and they are also getting hit with emails from musicians like you every day. Making the effort to be thoughtful and respectful when introducing yourself to new contacts will help you stand out and with a little luck, get your emails answered. And if you take heed to the guidelines below, you can begin building important and lasting relationships along your career path.

  1. Name Names. If you’re going to email someone you feel could be important to your career, do not—repeat, DO NOT—send out a blanket email. If someone is important enough to be on your list, he’s important enough for you to know his name and to write a personalized note.
  1. Do Your Homework. Along the same lines as #1 above, know whom you’re contacting and what type of music she works with and what she does. If you hope to get signed, sending your new heavy metal EP to a label contact whom only promotes EDM DJ’s is disrespecting her time and speeding your way into that executive’s trash folder.
  1. Be A Time Saver. Don’t expect your industry contact to do the work for you. If you want someone to listen to your music, describe it. Simply sending a link to your tunes will not compel your target to check it out. But if you say you write catchy pop songs with electronic instrumentation, you’ve raised their curiosity and prepared them with a good idea of what they’re clicking on. Remember, you’re sending your music to people who genuinely like music, so help them out a bit with a short but good description of what you sound like.
  1. Just Don’t. Do not send your Mp3s in an email. Clogging up a music person’s inbox will get you remembered—in the wrong way—and you will not get listened to. Send a link to your music hosted on a streaming site like SoundCloud, and highlight two or three of your standout tracks.
  1. Ask. Sending an email with a link to your music may get it listened to, but if you aren’t clear what you’re pursuing, you may not get a response. Being polite about your request, whether you’re hoping to get signed, find a manager, or hire a publicist, and why, will up your chances for a response and it won’t make you look presumptuous. (But don’t ask for feedback unless you expect to pay them for the time. If someone loves your music enough, you’ll get it without having to ask).
  1. Don’t Stalk. Seriously. If you don’t receive a response to your initial email, one follow up response is good. But emailing your contact multiple times thereafter will not get a different result or change their mind.
  1. The Obvious. Thank them for their time. It may sound obvious but a sincere and simple thank you increases the potential for a reply.

Music professionals are first and foremost music fans themselves, with their own likes and musical preferences, so be patient and understand it takes time to find the right fit. They’re also overwhelmed with submissions, so being respectful is highly appreciated and can go a long way to getting your music listened to by the people who can help you the most.