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Jenan Mac
02-07-2007, 03:14 AM
When addressing a query to an unknown person or persons at a publisher (and Gods, how I've surfed the internet trying to figure out who this person is!), how do you begin the letter? Obviously, you don't have the luxury of using a name. So what's another option? "To whom it may concern" sounds like a really bad start, and "greetings earthlings", even for sci fi, is just out there.
The email address is "query(insertrandomfirstname)@publisher'sname.com". Should I use the first name in my salutation, even though we've not actually been introduced and I'm not sure there's a real person attached?

aka eraser
02-07-2007, 04:49 AM
Whenever I didn't know I'd address it: Dear Sir/Ms

That might seem clunky and a bit passe but I think it beats "Dear Dave" when you really don't know the person at all.

Manat
02-07-2007, 05:08 PM
In similar situations I've just skipped a name, used the company name in a to/from, and started right into the query.

i.e. To Buy my Book Press
From Me

I would like to submit my book xxx for your consideration....

johnzakour
02-07-2007, 05:18 PM
Actually the Beatles said it pretty well in "Paperback writer": Dear Sir or Madam.... (will you read my book it took me years write will you take a look).

Dear Mr. / Ms is probably more contemporay though.

Jenan Mac
02-07-2007, 08:31 PM
Thanks, everybody!

Jamesaritchie
02-07-2007, 08:57 PM
My advice is to never address anything to an unknown person. This is definitely bad form, and makes a horrible first impression.

My advice is to stop surfing the internet and pick up the phone. Someone there, probably a receptionist, will give you the correct name.

Variant Frequencies
02-07-2007, 09:35 PM
I agree with James. Do everything you can to find out that name. (I hadn't thought of calling on the phone.) On the few occasions I haven't been able to find a name, I use "Dear Editor" or "Dear acquisitions editor" (as the case may be.) Or like Manat, skip the salutation altogether.

Will Lavender
02-07-2007, 11:33 PM
My advice is to never address anything to an unknown person. This is definitely bad form, and makes a horrible first impression.

My advice is to stop surfing the internet and pick up the phone. Someone there, probably a receptionist, will give you the correct name.

I agree.

In one of the "Ask the Agent" threads on the other forum, I noticed one of the agents listed as her pet peeves, "When a writer spells my name wrong."

Seems to me that the omission of the agent's name would be worse than a misspelling of the agent's name.

Cat Scratch
02-08-2007, 01:22 AM
My advice is to never address anything to an unknown person. This is definitely bad form, and makes a horrible first impression.

My advice is to stop surfing the internet and pick up the phone. Someone there, probably a receptionist, will give you the correct name.

This is precisely what I was going to suggest.

Jenan Mac
02-09-2007, 06:19 AM
My advice is to stop surfing the internet and pick up the phone. Someone there, probably a receptionist, will give you the correct name.


Actually, that had occurred to me! It's a small press, I live in fear that the owner of the name will answer the phone.
I actually weaseled out, and queried somebody else whom I figured would decline, while I stalled for time. Imagine my surprise when they said to send the full. So I'm back in Exclusiveland, but at least this time there's a specific time frame mentioned. I do learn, if slowly.;)
Again, thanks, everybody. I'm keeping the comments for future reference.

Soccer Mom
02-09-2007, 08:15 PM
Whoo hoo! Good look, Jenan!