Monday, October 02, 2023



Several agents use they/them pronouns, so I don't want to offend anyone by putting Mr. or Ms. Is it okay to use the agent's first name in the salutation?



It's also ok to use both first name and surname.


Dear Janet, or

Dear Janet Reid, or even

Dear SharkForBrains



What is going by the wayside I fear is one of my former reliable work around:

Ladies and Gentlemen:


And if this is all just too much for you and you're tempted to forgo the salutation entirely, do NOT do that.


(at least not for me)


Including my name on a query is one of the very few requests I make for sending me work.


Any questions?



Janet Reid

(me/me/meeeee!) <----too soon?


Mister Furkles said...

My pronouns are: mine, neither, and furry.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Can I say that I do NOT miss the query trenches. Not even a little. Although, I know with how publishing works, I could easily end up there again. The simple "be polite" has morphed into an impenetrable minefield of people waiting to be offended. I hope this is just a phase we are going through and we can start thinking the best of people instead of assuming the worst based on silly rules that change with every Tik-Tok post.

I am more grateful for Janet's time and advice every day as the waters are more turbulent than ever, and it takes a shark to help manage them.

Amy Johnson said...

Thanks, Janet. Last week I had to write a letter to a person for whom I didn't know if Mr. or Ms. would be appropriate, so I used the person's first name and surname. To my mind's ear, that sounds past respectful and into the realm of official in an unfriendly way (which was not what I was going for). Perhaps there was a time when many people would think the same way if they received such a salutation. But times change, and the Queen says it's okay, so I should be good. :)

OT: In case anyone saw here recently that one of my reef friends was unable to reach me, and in case anyone was a tad concerned: I am fine; I paid a particular company for extra storage; and I am once again reachable. Well, I cannot truly say I am fine, as I am serving a self-imposed sentence on Carkoon for disobeying the Queen's edict to be reachable. I used to like kale.

Theresa said...

I now opt for the first name/last name salutation as the safest and most respectful.

Love the (me/me/meeee)!

John Davis Frain said...

Imagine if Janet's given name were Mimi.




You could write your ticket to Carkoon by addressing her "Hey YouYou" and I wish you would because we can always use more visitors here in the mighty swamplands.

Mark R. David said...

I was under the impression that Mx. was an acceptable title for they/them prounouners. Am I mistaken?

BJ Muntain said...

So much for "Dear Sir or Madam", though I suppose that's probably been out of use for a decade or so (I haven't worked for nearly a decade - my business writing skills are rusty.)

Steve Forti said...

EM - the query trenches are a dark and dismal place. Congrats for getting out of them.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I currently am not in the query trenches. I am, however, in the job search trenches. I never thought I'd miss the query trenches. Job search cover letters are so... staid.

I do address my cover letters to "Dear Firstname Lastname," even if I do know their preferred pronouns. *shrug*

But if I should ever find myself back in the query trenches, I shall not complain. And I shall always address every query to Her Sharkness with "Dear Snookums..."

Aside: It is acceptable to include preferred pronouns in one's email signature. It is still questionable to include preferred proverbs.