Pat, Chris and Other Gender-Neutral Names

Don’t forget: When addressing a literary agent in a query letter, it should always be in the form of “Dear Mr./Ms. Robinson:”

However, feel free to break this rule when you are addressing an agent whose gender is in question – names such as Pat, Chris, Charley, heck even Leslie.  Just simply address them as “Dear Pat Robinson:”

Better safe than sorry. 

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5 thoughts on “Pat, Chris and Other Gender-Neutral Names

  1. Chad

    "Dear Mr./Ms. Robinson:" is never correct, matter fact it only brings attention to the fact that you have no idea to whom you are writing. This is a problem of course when in the next sentence you invite this person to partner with you. If you are using someone’s name it is your responsibility to know their gender preference-which can easily be found calling the office receptionist. While "Dear Sir/Madam" is formal it is an acceptable generic greeting.

  2. Kyle

    Hmm. Well, isn’t it still formal to use an agent’s full name regardless? Maybe I’m of a different generation, but I personally think using the Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss to be archaic and old-fashioned.

    Honestly, is an agent really going to care whether or not you use a Mr./Ms. salutation, so long as it’s something that they might be interested in?

  3. Melanie

    Seems like it’d be worth the trouble to Google the agent, find the agency website, and read the bio. It’ll likely say something about the agent, e.g.: "Pat Little graduated from Ole Miss where she majored in Public Policy."

    Or some other situation where a pronoun is called for. Voila: Dear Ms. Little,

    And bonus points for you taking the trouble to find out. Because why wouldn’t you be looking up the agents in the first place to find out what they’re looking for?