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Anonymous Traveler
01-17-2007, 11:52 PM
I have visited some sites showing sample queries. Assuming I am wrong, I seem to do that a lot. Queries appear to me to be in the same vein as commercial proposals on why they should consider my book. Some were pretty lame. What struck me was the slap on the back 'you're my buddy' approach. The addressed person was Robert, the greeting was Bob. Several of the 'good' ones strike me as being too personal. After Robert publishes six of my books then I may call him Bob. I still call people Sir and Mister even though I'm older. The girl at Safeway always looks at me funny. I have civilian friends who served with me who still address me as Sir. And my old boss still is addressed Colonel. Maybe I'm old fashioned but respect still has a place.

Shadow_Ferret
01-17-2007, 11:56 PM
You address the girl at Safeway as "sir?" No wonder she looks at you funny.

But I agree on the salutation. I would never address a prospective agent by their first name.

MidnightMuse
01-18-2007, 12:01 AM
Well, different strokes I suppose - but I never address an agent by their first name, or anyone else for that matter, unless they've told me to.

Anonymous Traveler
01-18-2007, 01:05 AM
You address the girl at Safeway as "sir?" No wonder she looks at you funny.

When I realized my mistake I suggested a good dipilitary for her lip. Then she put my eggs under the ten big cans of soup. And threw my bags in the cart. Perhaps I need my glasses changed and renew my subscriotion to Sensitivity Monthly.

I will try to find the pages with the Query samples and link them here.

Anyway there is still the matter of what constitues a good format for a query.

TsukiRyoko
01-18-2007, 01:22 AM
I agree with what was said above. I would NEVER address an agent by their first name unless I already knew them personally or was working with them and had been ginve permission to call them that. "Using the friendly first name approach" is essentially a euphemism for being intruding, I think.

Kate Thornton
01-18-2007, 01:30 AM
I have a book at home I like called "How to Write Irresistable Query Letters" by Lisa Collier. Love it - lots of good advice & samples.

underthecity
01-18-2007, 02:48 AM
I have never seen an online query letter sample that was that informal. A writer has to treat a query letter like any business letter, and that is with all the formalities: Dear Mr. Agent, Sincerely, etc. Doing so makes you look professional. An agent having a bad day might reject it based on the "Dear Bob" salutation alone.

There's an agent posting this week in the "Ask the Agent" forum and answering questions. Maybe you should ask her for her thoughts.

allen

maestrowork
01-18-2007, 02:52 AM
A query is a business letter. Treat it as such. Now, if you happen to know that agent Robert Smith prefers to be called Bob Smith even though he lists his name as Robert, you MAY address him as Bob, but that's if you KNOW for sure he actually prefers it. People always ask if if I prefer Ray or Raymond -- they don't just assume. When you're dealing with someone on a professional level, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous Traveler
01-18-2007, 03:08 AM
Found it!!! Here (http://www.charlottedillon.com/QuerySamples.html)... Charlotte Dillon's web site. Find Bob & Tina

And another question, formatting. I like Ariel 12 and full justified for my business letters. I know that's not how to send a manuscript but a letter is different.

A lawyer, a customer of mine, is named Charles and is QC lawyer, (a legal honor in Canada) owns the largest firm in town and goes by Chuck and expects people to call him that. In twenty years of dealing with him I could never do it.

Talia
01-18-2007, 03:32 AM
I don't see why you wouldn't use the agents first name in the letter. Mr Smith would be ridiculous. As someone else has said a query letter is a business letter, so you would write dear xxx and use their first name.

I think most agents hate letters addressed to dear sir or madam as it makes it look like a standard letter that you send to everyone. The more you can personalise your approach the better.

Anonymous Traveler
01-18-2007, 03:45 AM
I remember from my officer training, they don't salute because of who you are but for the position you represent. And I personally dislike the 'used car' sales reps that haunt my business. The one that lost my business instantly figured if my name was Richard he could call me Dick.

Tish Davidson
01-18-2007, 05:58 AM
I don't see why you wouldn't use the agents first name in the letter. Mr Smith would be ridiculous. As someone else has said a query letter is a business letter, so you would write dear xxx and use their first name.

I think most agents hate letters addressed to dear sir or madam as it makes it look like a standard letter that you send to everyone. The more you can personalise your approach the better.


Why would it be ridiculous to begin a letter to an agent Dear [Honorific LastName] as in Dear Mr. Smith? I think it is inappropriate bordering on rude to use a person's first name --Dear Bill-- if you don't know the person. They may not mind, but on the other hand, why take the chance that they will be turned off by the presumption of chumminess and the informality of using their first name when you are a stranger to them. I do agree that Dear Sir just suggests that you haven't done your homework and are sending out a mass mailing.

Anonymous Traveler
01-18-2007, 07:39 AM
And then there is Lynn or Lynne or Lyn. I know both genders. Some men get really offended if you address them as Ms. I've been there. However the statistical chances of that are slim. I phone the company and ask, they are used to it.

I sometimes use Dear Sir but I usually qualify that by putting an Attn: line in the address.

mysterygrl
01-18-2007, 08:05 AM
Proper business etiquette, when you don't know the person and how they like to be addressed: Dear Mr. Agent or Dear Ms. Agent. If you're not sure of the gender, then go with Dear Super Agent.

It's better to be too formal than too casual. You may be faulted for sounding like the agent's pal, but you won't be faulted for sounding like his butler.