View Full Version : Proper salutation

03-18-2015, 07:44 PM
I e-queried Agent Jane Doe as "Dear Ms. Doe".

She replied, "Dear Ms. Wench" when she asked for a partial, but signed her note "Jane".

Question: When I send the partial, should I address her as "Jane", as she signed off, or "Ms. Doe", so as not to be the first to be casual?

(Thank goodness I'm not trying to do this in Spanish. The "tu/usted" thing would cause me to freeze up entirely.)

03-18-2015, 07:59 PM
I tend to reply to someone with whatever name they offered. So yes, I'd write to "Jane" next time. But I'd love to hear what others have to say to this question too :) .

03-18-2015, 08:14 PM
I think the switchover to first names is awkward whenever it happens. I think once they sign with their first name, that leaves the door open for you to reciprocate that way. It's also perfectly fine to stick with Ms. Doe if you're unsure. The agent won't be offended.

03-18-2015, 08:25 PM
The way I used to handle this when I was in a corporate job was if they signed their full name, I stuck with Mr./Ms. but if they signed only the first name, I'd go with that. So in this case, if she signed Jane Doe, go with Ms. Doe. If she only signed Jane, I consider that an invitation for less formality.

But Quickbread's right. You can never go wrong continuing to maintain formalities if you're uneasy or unsure.

Bryan Methods
03-18-2015, 09:09 PM
I agree: go with what they signed off with, but nobody is likely to mind if you stick with 'Ms...'

03-18-2015, 09:25 PM
If somebody "Ms Laughran"'s me, that's totally fine, but when I respond, I always switch to first names as soon as humanly possible.

If I have switched to first names, and you are for some reason still insisting on Ms Laughran-ing me, THAT'S a little awkward. I mean, once or twice, fine, but a prolonged back-and-forth in which YOU are "Jeff" and I am "Ms Laughran"???

It's just odd, and speaks of a bit of tone-deafness - I'm trying to be at-ease and friendly, which is how I conduct my correspondence with colleagues, and you are insisting on bringing me back to Very Proper Strangers mode... and that's just not how I work. So I must say, if that kept going on over *multiple* pieces of correspondence, I'd have to wonder if we were really going to rub along well together.

03-18-2015, 10:10 PM
First names are always best, as soon as you can get to them. When an agent or editor uses a first name, it's time for you to do the same.

03-18-2015, 10:11 PM
I cue off of the person I'm corresponding with. If they sign off with their first name (or choose to use my first name in their response), then I switch as well.

03-19-2015, 12:23 AM
Thanks, everybody! I just sent the message, addressed to "Jane", and signed "Ink".