I just got a form rejection from a very reputable agent with an oft-misspelled name. The initial query was in response to a Twitter pitch favorite. When I was writing my letter, I proof-read it at least a dozen times, and toggled between my email and the agency's site to make sure the name was spelled correctly and I wasn't committing any faux pas. So it was an extra punch in the gut to get a form rejection addressed to "Mr. [misspelled last name]" (re-gendered and misspelled).
As much as the fear to make sure there are no name misspellings (let alone gender mistakes) in my queries is pounded into me in agent interviews, on blogs, and on their submission guidelines, it makes me feel so much more like a disposable author in the eyes of an agent to have a churned out response that can't even pretend to care about salutation. Granted, my name is difficult to spell and can be any gender, but when in doubt, surely "Dear [full name]" or "Dear [first name]" is a good solution (and easier - just copy paste from the query). Since the query is solicited for once, the carelessness feels compounded.
I know it would be a bad move to respond, but I want so badly to (nicely) point this out because the agent may not be aware of how this reads to authors.
So I guess my questions are 1) Does a Twitter request count as requested material? 2) Am I crazy for being so bothered by this? 3) Would I be banished if I responded?
Wait, you've got your knickers in a twist because an agent responded and actually included your name (although re-gendered and misspelled.) This falls under Be Careful What You Wish For cause the alternative as I understand is vast swathes of silence.
Of course it's not good to misspell a person's name. Of course this was a careless mistake, most likely made becuase the person responding wasn't paying close enough attention. And do you really think this agent doesn't know misspelling an author's name is Not A Good Thing? Do you think this agent is a tree dwelling ogre with no experience among civilized folk?
It feels dismissive because you worked hard to get the salutation right.
On the other hand, the agent gets as many queries in a week as you'll send out in a year.
So here are the answers to your questions:
1. Does a Twitter request count as requested material: yes
2. Am I crazy for being bothered by this? No. But you need to get over it.
3. Would I be banished if I responded? No, BUT you don't want to be "that writer." I remember the authors who write back to me with any sort of complaint no matter how justified. I keep track of the ones who seem particularly ill-suited to the rough and tumble world that publishing can be. Life is too short to work with people who take offense where none was intended.
This is why you need a dartboard.
(I have one in my office for just this reason.)
Put a photo of the agent on the dartboard.
Repeat as needed.