Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Editor/Agent/Publisher

Mike from Norwich wants to know if it’s important to address editors, agents and publishers by name. He writes: I’ve been told that I should use the person’s name when sending in a submission, but I can’t always find the name I need on a website or in a magazine, so does it really matter if I don’t address the recipient by name?

It is always worth going to a bit of trouble to try to find out the name of the right person in an organisation. Firstly, your submission or query is far more likely to land on the right desk if you have used someone’s name. Anything addressed to Dear Agent/Editor/Publisher stands more chance of being left unattended than something correctly addressed. Secondly, it shows the recipient that you are professional enough to do your homework. If the information you need isn’t readily available, a quick phone call to the organisation asking to whom you should address your submission will pay dividends.

Having said the above, there are some agencies and publishers who state that submissions should go to a department and not a particular person. There is nothing you can do about that, apart from giving yourself a pat on the back for at least trying to do the right thing.

1 comment:

pattyjansen said...

This is what I do: I try to find out a name.

If I can't, I address the letter to 'Dear Editors'.

Agents tell us: Don't ever use 'Dear Sir.' Most publishers are female. Don't use Sir/Madam. It's clunky and formal. I don't know how true this is, but some agents (read the Query Shark blog) get pretty hot under the collar about being addressed as the wrong gender.