Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Query Question: salutations

Does the greeting matter all that much? “Dear Ms. Reid” seems too formal and “Dear Janet” feels the opposite. Is “Dear Janet Reid” okay or does that give the impression of a mass query?

Dear Querywort:

Anything that has my name on it doesn't feel like a mass query. Look, I know you're querying everyone under the sun. I'm ok with that. What doesn't work is "Dear Agent" or "To Whom It May Concern" or no salutation at all.

Dear Janet is fine. Dear Ms Reid is fine. Dear Janet Read, not my fave, but ok, what the hell. Dear Snookums works too, but probably not the best choice. And don't think I haven't signed and sold books that arrived on queries with Dear Barbara Poelle. Yes indeed I have.

Use the salutation that feels right to you. You're not going to go wrong with my name, whatever form it takes.

Yours truly,

Janet Reid, QOTKU


Terri Lynn Coop said...

Did Barbara's restraining order finally expire and you can hack her email again? YAY!

An additional part to the question. The salutation when you are sending to the common query email box. Do you still address it to the agent that you feel is most likely to accept the promised bribe knowing that it make get passed around like a bucket of popcorn at the movies, or do you leave it off.

Enquiring minds want to know, oh wise Sharkly one . . .


nightsmusic said...

Okay, I give. Too early in the morning and not enough coffee.

QOTKU = Queen of the what?

Lance said...

Is there a source on the web for the nicknames of agents? In case we feel like being less formal?

S.P. Bowers said...

I so wish you repped fantasy just so I could address your query

S.P. Bowers said...


QOTKU=Queen of the known universe

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

In the early days of the 'net you did NOT use salutations on email, nor did you sign them. Using "Dear so-and-so" was the mark of a clueless newbie who didn't understand nettiquette. Since the name of the sender and the receiver were part of the file, the salutation was unnecessary. Oh, how clever and modern we all thought we were.
We got over ourselves.

DLM said...

A query is business correspondence (and I have a giant tic about names). I do not address anyone by first name unless we're introduced socially or at least some exchange has occurred - not at my job, not in a query.

There used to be this phrase - "first name basis" - which indicated a requirement of some rapport and/or intimacy to be privileged to call people Chet or Hortense or Queenie (instead of Your Majesty, QOTKU). It's become obsolete, as we no longer reserve rights on familiarity, but I've found nobody takes offense to Ms. or Mr. like *some* of us (yes, me included) get irked at encountering the would-be chummy (pardon the pun) "HI DIANE!" greeting from strangers and inanimate bots alike.

Okay, I'm going to go see about having this stick extracted ...

Susy said...

This is random but I just realized you have a very cool name for a literary agent. I love your blog Janet Read/Reid! Thank you for taking the time to share your hard earned wisdom with us.

BonnieShaljean said...

So how does the "Jet" part fit in? Got the J sussed, but then what? Endlessly Talented? Eats Tuna? Extra Terrestrial?

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Bonnie, my guess is that it is first an abbreviation of the initial J and final -et of Janet, and that since she is a Shark, she must also, to be on BOTH sides in that ultra New York story, be a Jet. (all the way!)

Michael Seese said...

The real question is, will I help my cause by signing

JK Rowling

Tam Francis said...

Thank you! I usually treat queries like a business as well and put the Ms. or Mr. It feels right to me and respectful. That said, if there is no agent specific to query or there is an online query from I address it to the agency.

LMAO at the QOTKU! hahahahha made my morning :)