Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Query Stats: Salutations!

When I was little I memorized the way my mom would spell out our last name to people over the phone. Ready?

"B as in boy, R - A - N, S as in Sam, F as in Frank, O-R-D. BransFORD."

My sister has a variation that emphasizes the SF in the middle, which is more comprehensible when you separate it out into BRAN - SF - ORD.

All of this is to say I know I have an uncommon last name that is a bit of a mouthful, and I don't get up in arms when people misspell it in a query and I certainly never reject anyone for it. At least they're in the ballpark (and below you'll see why I'll take a misspelling over some of the other results).

I thought it might be an interesting insight into the old inbox to show the rather incredible variety of ways people address me in a query. So I kept track for a week, and here's the result.

Behold! Query salutations. During the past week I received 258 queries and requested 3 partials (all addressed properly).

Number of queries addressed to:

Satisfactory:
Mr. Bransford: 124
Nathan: 33
Nathan Bransford: 29
Mr. Nathan Bransford: 10
Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent: 2
Total: 198

Not so much:
(Blank): 41
To Whom It May Concern: 3
Bransford: 1
Nate B.: 1
Literary Agent: 1
Literary Agency: 1
Editor: 1
Agent Nathan: 1
Mr. Branford: 1
Mr. Bradford: 1
Chris: 1
Vicky Bijur: 1
Martha Bransford: 1
Ms. Bransford: 3
Curtis Brown: 1
Mr. Brown: 1
Total: 60

I fully understand that mistakes happen, and I want to emphasize again that I don't reject anyone solely because they messed up the salutation. But this is really the absolute easiest thing to get right in the query, and it's a tad eye-opening that 23% missed the mark.






143 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't help but to laugh at Martha Bransford. Nate B is too cool.

Tahereh said...

WHO IS CHRIS?!

hahahahaha

oh, Vicky. i don't understand how so many people could get your name wrong.

Erinn said...
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Erinn said...

That sucks, Curtis, I mean you work so hard to start up an agency and someone screws up your name. Stupid people are lame.

:-)

Kathryn said...

Agent Nathan. It's like you're FBI.

Anonymous said...

Nate B., Literary Agent, sounds like a comic book superhero.

Simon C. Larter said...

Does "Yo, dog!" work? I'm partial to that mode of address, myself.

Hillary said...

Dude, I have an Agent Nathan in one of my short stories...but he doesn't accept queries. I do like Nate B. and just Bransford, like you're a brand name. Martha Bransford is just right out.

How can people say they want their book published and then put so little effort into a critical part of that process?

J. R. McLemore said...

That's hilarious!

I used to get bent out of shape when people messed up my last name. As time has gone by, however, I've mellowed out about it quite a bit. It still irks me, however, when someone is looking at my name spelled out and still calls me McEnroe or something similar. I know, then, that the person didn't even care to try to pronounce my name right. My last name is McLemore, by the way. Pronounced: Mac-La-more :)

Thankfully, I wasn't the recipient of a more difficult name, like Mastrogiovanni, like a guy I was in high school with. Poor fellow.

Natalie Whipple said...

Actually, I think the agent's name is potentially the easiest thing to get wrong.

I mean, I assume most writers have their query ready to cut and paste, save those few lines of personalization.

The agent's name is one of the few things you actually type into the email. Of course you should triple check it, but sometimes you just miss-type and it looks close enough you don't notice.

Of course...that does not account for Martha or Chris...

Anonymous said...

lol!

Why when spelling out your name, don't you go B-R-A-N-S-FORD?

If they don't know FORD, you can go like the car company.

Karla Nellenbach said...

Vicky Bijur made me snicker a little ;)

I feel your pain on whole name game...I'm always like Karla with a K and that's Nellenbach...N as in Nancy, E-L-L-E-N as in Nancy, B as in boy, A-C-H **sigh** the joys of having long names that NO ONE can spell :)

Nathan Bransford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Easier Read than Done said...

I think Nate B should be in the acceptable category. It's like a nickname, similar to Jackie O, A-Rod, or Paulie D.

Amanda J. said...

HAHA Nate B and Martha, it must be so interesting to read your slush. And I'm with Anon 11:45 - Nate B, Literary Agent does sound like a comic superhero. :)

Mia said...

You know, Vicks, it's nice to know that queries aren't automatically rejected on this mistake even though, from your photo, you're clearly not a Martha :)

I am slightly worried that 198 seem to think your name is Nathan Bransford though....

jjdebenedictis said...

23%

Is that on a bad day, or is this typical?

Bittersweet Fountain said...

I had a teacher once who told the class that she would give us a zero on our exam if we misspelled our own names. Then she looked at me and said, "except for you. I'll understand if you misspell it."

Apparently having a 13 letter Polish last name earns me a few freebies in life.

P-I-E-T-R-U-S-Z as in Zebra - SKI

I always say Z as in Zebra because people never quite believe it's there.

So how do you pronounce it?
Petra-shef-skee

No one ever gets it right. *sigh*

Emily White said...

I think out of all of them, Mr. Brown is the worst. Although, Martha Bransford and Chris are pretty bad, too.

Durango Writer said...

Great that you have a sense of humor re: the misspellings! My last name (Mikulencak) has been butchered my entire life. That's why I resorted to DurangoWriter for my e-mail address!

February Grace said...

Twenty-three percent?

Yikes.

I have to wonder if a truly blockbuster query ever started out with such a simple mistake or if the lack of attention to detail in the salutation is just the pre-show for an epic fail overall in most cases?

Liberty Speidel said...

I can relate! (And, hey, at least you didn't get any to "Nathaniel"--my husband's first name is Nathan--not Nathaniel--and it drives him crazy if someone addresses him by the wrong name!)

I have a name that could be either male or female, so I get addressed as Mr. or Ms. (both of which irk me--I'm a Mrs.!) And my last name is Germanic, so people always reverse the E and the I. I just had it happen on the phone 30 minutes ago, even after I'd specifically spelled it out: S as in Sam, P as in Paul E-I D as in dog E-L. Not that complicated!

*sigh*

Nathan Bransford said...

Haha- as I misspell my own client's name. You see!! This is why I can't cast stones!

Matthew Rush said...

I used to put a d somewhere in your last name a lot. Then I started stalking you more - er I mean getting to know you better and I made sure to get it right.

My girlfriend has a name with slightly similar issues. Her last name is Jefferis, which is not Jefferies unless you just met her, are taking a phone call from her etc. She has gotten used to it.

I take it that you would prefer not to be referred to as NB in a query? Is it okay if I do it on my blog? Like saying we met on NB's forums ...

What about Nate Dogg? Or Nathaniel (insert random middle initial) Bransford esquire?

Carole said...

This was superbly funny. Funny in a Steve Martin sort of way. Not so much in a Nathan Bransford way.

cheekychook said...

I remember learning how to spell my last name by listening to my mom spell it to someone on the phone. She spoke so quickly when she did it. For years I thought "F-as-in-Frank" was one word!

And,for what it's worth, Bransford hardly seems like it should have a place on the Challenging Last Names list. Take it from someone who was born with a frequently mispronounced name and married someone with a perpetually mispronounced name. Don't get me started on how both mispronunciations are actually derogatory words.
*slinks off to ponder easy-to-say pen name*

Donna Hole said...

Thats funny :)

Glad you're so good natured about it.

Have a good day Nate.

........dhole

Jill said...

The second most common salutation this week was NO salutation?

That's just rude.

swampfox said...
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Bane of Anubis said...

What, Natey B. doesn't do it for you :)

No Nathaniels, Guv'nor?

Jaimie said...

Ms. Bransford. Hahaha.

swampfox said...

It's why I tell my students to just call me Mr. D.

And sometimes they even spell THAT wrong!

cheekychook said...

Guv'nor. Heehee.

I notice there was no Dude either.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I'm disappointed. Not one: Yo, dude, read my book 'k?



I can laugh at this because I know of at least 2 instances where I misspelled the agents name or cut/pasted the query and forgot to change the agent's name in the one I sent.

I cut/paste email addresses to make sure I spell the names right there, but usually try and type the salutation by hand so I don't have to deal with deleting the "dot" and "at" info, and it doesn't always end well.

blog said...

Oh that's too much! Martha? Really?

Martha *may* be a cut/paste error -- pasting from a list of agents, and only got the last name changed.

My last name is fairly uncommon as well; I've gotten pretty laid back about misspellings. And mispronunciations, my favorite of which is L'brand: strong emphasis on the second syllable and almost none on the first. The first is like an elided le in French? I don't even know. (It's pronounced LYE-brand, for the curious.)

Love these query stats posts! It's reassuring to see what you do and do not reject for.

Phyllis said...

I'm missing Mr. Bramsford. Is he not living at your address?

Theresa Milstein said...

First I laughed at Nate B. But when I got to Martha, I laughed louder.

My last name used to be Brown, so life was simple. Then I got married and became Milstein, so now I get lots of variations. I'm not a literary agent, but people still manage to mangle my name.

The one thing I take pride in is getting the agents' names spelled correctly on queries. Once I queried a Corey and triple checked whether it was Mr. or Ms.!

Derrick said...

Agent Nathan,

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make my book famous and my wallet full.

This query will self-destruct.

Casey Lybrand said...

Okay, still working out how to internet, apparently. "blog" above is me. My name it not blog. Though think of the fun I would have if it were . . .

isaiah.campbell said...

You should license Agent Nathan. I see a wonderful future of action figures for you. ;)

Other Lisa said...

"Agent Nathan" is not okay?

Damn...

Joseph L. Selby said...

Ha ha ha ha, that's awesome, Vicky.

I remember my first query to Kristin Nelson. This was a big deal. She's a big deal. I gotta get it right. Check and double-check everything. I'm just about to hit send and I realize my mistake. I was calling her Kristin and not Karen. Wouldn't that have been embarrassing if I had called her by the wrong first name.

Send.

Blink. Blink.

No, no wait. That's backward. Her name is Kristin. It would have been embarrassing if I had called her Karen.

WHICH I DID! GAH! *dies of failure*

Kelly Wittmann said...

Fun post, Nathan-- thanks!

Carin said...

When I was an editor, a lot of slush authors would call, hear my name, and ask how to spell my last name as it is tricky. But they would all assume they knew how to spell what sounds like "Karen". Nope. I spell it "Carin". So I was able to sort my submissions and still ignore the slush authors who were trying to make it into my To Read piles by pretending I'd requested them. Ha!

D. G. Hudson said...

'Agent Nathan' does have a ring to it, doesn't it? My guess is that the 'Bransford' and 'Nate B' salutations were from guys. Something about the macho sound of a punchy name.

It's common courtesy to address someone by their correct name,but even more so when you expect that person to do something for you.

Using a checklist can help one remember all the bits, and avoid a gaff.

crawshawus said...

Chris??

Mayowa said...

I feel your pain Nathan, names can be a bother when it comes to pronunciation and spelling

Janet Johnson said...

Martha. Hilarious! Yes, I definitely recommend getting the name right.:)

Kathryn said...

@Natalie Whipple, some of my worst nightmares have been about misspelled agent names. I check about three or four times before I convince myself that I am indeed not crazy and that it's spelled correctly. o_0

Melissa Emerald said...

I read your blog to learn. I also read it to laugh. And that's what I did today. Thank you for this hilarious, eye-opening post.

BTW ... Bransford seems like an easy sur name compared to mine, which has eight letters and only three consonants. No wonder I use a nom de plume. :-)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

haha! Isn't Vicky Bijur a real agent? I'm pretty sure she is. They must have been sending their query to various agents and accidentally sent you hers. LOL Honest mistake. Poor thing.

RosieC said...

I want to laugh (and, well, the "Martha" salutation is pretty funny), but I can just feel myself doing something equally is dense. I haven't sent you a query (yet), and I hope that when I do, I get it right. It's nice that you're so good-natured about it.

Genella deGrey said...

Had to giggle at the "not so much" list.

Just don't call him late for dinner.

That's just a guess, though.

:)
G.

WhisperingWriter said...

The Martha one made me giggle.

Before I sent a query I re-read the thing like 10 times to make sure everything is good to go. Once I nearly sent a query with Dear (Blank) because I usually imput the name right before I send. Thank goodness I figured it out. That would have been embarrassing.

T. Anne said...

Oh wow, I like the, Nate B. I thought that was catchy. You may never be Nathan to me again.

My husbands last name is a phonetic nightmare. I too have to resort to your mother's style of spelling. It takes a little longer but cuts back on confusion.

Sherrie H. said...

I really wish my keyboard had a 'Recall/DON'T SEND' button on it.

(big sigh...)

Rebecca Mahoney said...

I am still so, so sorry about the Ms. Bransford thing. But at least now I never query while brain-dead.

Martha Bransford, though... how does that happen?

James said...

The hive mind has spoken. You must change your name to Agent Nathan.

Nathan Bransford said...

rebecca-

If you've done that really no worries, it happens to quite a few people, I'm bad about this stuff myself and I don't take it too seriously as you can see!

Teresa said...

Vicky Bijur?? Actually, that's kind of a cool name. Nate B. sounds like you're a member of a recovery group (Agents Anonymous?).

Really, Nathan, you should be grateful. You could be stuck with a moniker like "Frohock." Would you like to know the variations of that name?

Frohawk, Fruhawk, Frohuck (which looks slightly obscene to me), and my personal favorite: Fruehause (complete with an umlaut over the u). And those are just the misspellings. The pronunciations would curl your ear hairs.

Honestly, Vicki, it could be much worse. ;-D

That was a fun post, Nathan, thanks for an afternoon laugh.

Katy said...

This is amazing.

Laur said...

hey, I'm surprised there weren't any Bradshaws (as in Carrie Bradshaw haha) in the list!

Stephanie said...

Too funny!!! It has never ever occurred to me to address a query other than Mr./Ms. and their last name. This is a formal business letter...and IMHO, there is no other way too address it!

Holly said...

That guy Curtis Brown keeps popping up. I mean, I hope he's easy to get along with in the office, keeps up with the sports scores, that kind of stuff.

Mira said...

Ha! These are funny. I started laughing at Chris and kept going.

Although, frankly, I'm also alittle disappointed. So little true creativity. Where are the really good names?

Mister Agent Man
Brandy Ford
O' Magnificence
Snookums
Sire
Hey You

Not even a: To Sir or Madam. C'mon writers, we have to try harder!

Magdalena Munro said...

What a timely post! I received a cover letter from a candidate today addressed to Dear Sirs. Plural. As though there are a bunch of dudes sitting in a circle reading their resume.

Has anyone called you Ma'am Bransford? Wait...what exactly is the plural of Ma'am. Ma'ams? Maams? Back to work. Thanks for the post and I'm glad we're back on track with being nice and jovial as a group.

Chazley Dotson said...

Oh my gosh, too funny. Nate B made me laugh out loud, and I agree with Kathryn - Agent Nathan does sound like some sort of secret agent. I think you should adopt that as your new query name.

From the other side, I get an alarming number of query replies addressed to Mr. Dotson. I know that Chazley is a weird name, but it's not inherently masculine! I even slyly mention my husband in the letter. Maybe I should start signing my letters "Mrs. Dotson."

Joanna said...

Well Nathan Bransford, I can truly sympathize. Whenever you are feeling that you have a loo-loo of a monicker, think of me. My name is Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado. (Note how my already difficult surname is comprised of three words and the first and second are not capitalized...) On top of this, I live in Mexico where a woman takes on her husband's name too. You would NOT believe the versions I have received! So, take heart... it could be a LOT worse.

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

That's it. I'm going to call you Vicky Bijur at home.

Vicky Bijur, can you feed the Chihuahua?

Vicky Bijur, do you want to go on a date this Friday?

Vicky Bijur, do I look fat in this dress?

Deniz Bevan said...

Vicky Bijur?!?! At leas Bijou would have been interesting - in an alter ego, Parisian femme fatale kind of way...

Kay said...

Personally, I like "Nate B." I'm surprised you haven't received any addressed to "Nate Dawg."

When I'm randomly talking to people I've met on your forums, I just say "NB." They never misunderstand who I'm talking about. Must be pretty cool to be recognizable by initials only.

K

Margo Gremmler said...

"Vicky Bijur" made me laugh out loud. Quite the misspelling. ;)

People always want me to be more French (as in "Gremmier"), because an "L" cannot POSSIBLY follow a double-M.

Thanks for the laugh. I'm sure for you (Yo, Dawg) it's funnier on some days than others. :)

Tara said...

I'd honestly be delighted to be addressed as Agent Nathan, and I'm a girl named Tara. I'm pretty sure it's awesome.

sonia said...

Agent Nathan is funny! lol Martha Bransford is just wrong.

Nancy Coffelt said...

I have an unusual last name, and because of the effs it's hard to spell over the phone unless you do this: C-O -FF, as in French fry, E-L-T, as in Tom.

Haven't gotten a Cosselt or Coflet in years because of that trick...

Deniz Bevan said...

People usually spell my name correctly, but if it's over email or mail, they usually assume I'm a guy :-( I guess Deniz looks a lot like Denis, but it gets really frustrating...

Amanda Sablan said...

Who would honestly think your name is MARTHA Bransford? xD

Karen said...

This made me think of the Phil Hartman scene from So I Married an Axe Murderer: "My name is Nathan Bransford. People here call me Vicky."

Kristi Helvig said...

This post is one of the many reasons I love this blog! Thanks, Martha. :)

Sommer said...

Haha! I can't even imagine sending some of these!

Although I have to be honest. I think Nate B. is kind of awesome.

Claire Dawn said...

Oh, Martha! I love it! :)

Rick Daley said...

What the heck, no one calls you Nate Dog anymore?

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

None were addressed to Nate the Great?

Actually, I'm very surprised by all the variations. I've wondered when I've sent something to a female editor how to address it if I've spent time googling and can't figure out if she is a Miss or a Mrs. I've sent them to Ms. if I'm not positive of their marital status. I've never addressed anyone by their first name unless I have met them or had personal communications with them.

Nick said...

At least Mr Branford and Ms Bransford were kind of close, I guess.

Also, would it be insta-fail to say something along the lines of "Yo Mister Agent Person Dude"? I happen to enjoy YMAPD (maybe not (or maybe really (not))).

Becca said...

I get similar name problems too. For some reason, Rebecca is apparently the hardest name to spell because I've gotten every variation possible, and then my last name is worse, and it's only four letters!

Melissa Gill said...

So should we call you Martha or Vicki from now on?

wendy said...

Speaking of not casting stones, I once queried you about a query beginnng with, 'Hi, Nathan'. After this illustrious start, I was too embarrassed to try again. *g*

Mike said...

Nathan:

Please, what is the official moniker of agents (or at least the safest rout)"?

Adam Heine said...

Chris made me laugh. Vicky Bijur made me spit rice on my screen. Thanks a lot, Martha.

Remilda Graystone said...

This was too funny.

Tracy said...

Personally, I like "Agent Nathan" ... it sounds very Mission Impossible!

Claudie said...

Martha Bransford... Really? Where did they get that one from? It made me laugh (then again, it's getting late here, and I laugh at everything!)

Nathalie said...

Vicky Bijur, another agent, cut and paste oversight, yes? I do like Nate B, that makes me laugh. When people I've just met shorten my name to Nat, it kind of bugs me - hate to say it, but it's the truth. So good you're relaxed about this,Martha...

kalincasey said...

Vicky Bijur made me laugh until I realized it was a cut and paste thing. It was funnier when I thought it was made up. Martha is a hoot, as well.

Nathan, I don't think your name is weird at all. Or hard to spell.

Mine is hyphenated, which is my own fault, I admit. But hyphens do really weird things to people. They can look right at my driver's license and still not get the name, spelling, or my place in the alphabet right.

Trading Plan Template said...

LOL! You, agents, must really be having fun not having fun at all.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Some of those are quite hilarious from an outside perspective, at least.

Anyway, offering solidarity, as I too have an oddly-spelled last name (and one that very few pronounce correctly the first time they say it).

pensees said...

Great post, Nate Dogg.

Yo, Mr. B! works for me, too.

ali said...

Oh my gosh these totally crack me up. In some weird way they make me feel better about myself. Thanks Mr. B.!

Lucy said...

Magdalena Munro said...

Wait...what exactly is the plural of Ma'am. Ma'ams? Maams?

June 22, 2010 3:21 PM

Mesdames. Yes, I know that looks strange, but it is indeed the plural. Actually it's the plural of Madam, or Madame, since you can't pluralize the contraction "Ma'am."

:-)

And yes, "Martha" was priceless. I hope that was a cut-and-paste accident, which is more understandable than anything else. Ooh, ouchie.

Margaret said...

"Martha Bransford" sounds like a salad dressing.

I'm surprised just "Nathan" is acceptable. Query letters are business letters, after all, so it seems like a last name would be in order.

Nic said...

Liberty my dad gets misspelled letters all the time - in fact his nickname is due to a teacher not reading his name right.

His real name is Simon but a teacher saw SMM and read out Sam and that name stuck. Very few people actually know what my dad's actual name is. Some letters come to him addressed as Samuel, which is logical but if your going to write to someone make sure the elongation that your assuming is actually the correct one.

bettielee said...

For such a long time, I was so scared of querying. I feared the doleful eye of jaded literary agents holding the keys to the kingdom. Now I see I need not have been worried. For all my sins, I'm not a blithering idiot. I'm only an idiot on purpose. Vicky. Oh man.

Stephen Prosapio said...

I for one and extremely disappointed that no one used the effervescent "NB"
:-)

Tessa Quin said...

To Whom It May Concern?

Sounds like a suicide note.

Martin Willoughby said...

My surname's 'Willoughby'. Try and imagine how many misspellings I get. I also get some weird pronunciations from cold callers.

I just laugh.

CMR said...

Chris and Vicky Bijur almost made me spit my breakfast all over my computer screen. That's hi-larious. Thank you for sharing--you've made my morning.

Sangu said...

There is no way the person addressing you as Nate B. thought he was going to be taken seriously. No way. (Unless he's a friend)

Giles Hash said...

That's why I triple check my query letters. I want to get EVERYTHING right! The competition is so tough right now, I don't want to give anyone anymore excuses to ignore or reject my letter :)

Janny said...

And to think I worried about whether to start "Dear Nathan" or "Dear Mr. Bransford."

I did the same thing everyone else did when I saw CHRIS. Martha...er...you failed the physical for that a long time ago, so that's a mystery.

As a person whose maiden name was very, very simple to spell but apparently impossible for people to figure out how to pronounce (!), I feel yoah pain.

JB, who's waiting in line to be the first to buy the "Agent Nathan" action figure!

Wild Child said...

Personally, I am partial to Mr. Brown. Does that mean you get a raise?

Melody said...

People have been spelling my last name wrong since before I can remember. If I were an agent, I think I'd be like you and give them marks for trying. :) Still, it's always nice when someone gets it right.

Marjorie said...

@bettielee re: "For such a long time, I was so scared of querying."

Develop a thick skin and jump in, the water's fine! I queried for 30 years and have over 300 rejections. I wear a Shield of Gardol and I am living to tell the tale.

The rejections never hurt until recently... until the "marjorie-cartoons" were rejected. This hurts. I am submitting not just for me, but for her, and my alter ego takes rejection quite seriously. She is not pleased. Her next morph may be quite edgy.

Jen P said...

So glad we here at least have the likelihood of clearing into the 'didn't get it wrong in the opening address' 77% just with such a simple thing.

Do you have a personal preference?

I like the method in lots of languages with a formal you and informal you, depending on how well you know the person. The formal you is ALWAYS prefaced with Mr. or Mrs or other title followed by last name.

ryan field said...

LOL...Martha!

Terin Tashi Miller said...

Dear Ms. Bijur: That's great!
Having a first name frequently misspelled, even by friends, I sympathize.
Best,
T (it's just easier, I've found)

Terin Tashi Miller said...

Oh, and I agree completely with Mira:
Expect a query addressed to "Mr. Agent Man" some day soon...it'll be from me...or maybe Mira, since it was her idea...

James said...

I'd like to know how many queries you get addressed to Nate B. now.

Which is to say how many people who read your blog and feel vicariously connected to you in some way that they'll risk the joke.

Anyway, Nate B, catchyalater.

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...

Decided that was too easily misinterpreted as disrespectful, which is not the intent, of course.

Terin - no reason we can't share! :)

This is a fun thread.

Mesmerix said...

I'm dating a Nate B...

This post was hi-friggin-larious! Keep 'em coming, Vicky.

Mesmerix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olivia Cunning said...

I can make sense of all the mistakes made except "Chris". Where did that come from? It made me snort in a most unladylike fashion.

hannah said...

Yeah, I grew up with M-O-S...long pause...K-O-W...I-T-Z.

and then you repeat it.

Shannon Ryan said...

Put me in the pro-Nate-B column.

Levonne said...

The unsatisfactory category is actually funny!!

The Invisible Writer said...

I'm Dan Hill.

Just for giggles I spell it out for people as though there's a trick - keeps 'em on edge.

Jay Tee Shay said...

Dear Nate Blank Agent-Type Person Dude,

So, you expect us to spell your name right? What do you think we are? Writers? Oh, wait...

Jaye Tea Chez

Ishta Mercurio said...

Agent Nathan! Agent Nathan!

hahahahahahaha...

Actually, I am not immune to cut-and-paste stupidity. I once sent a query to an agent from a template that I had created for that manuscript's query, and I missed a couple of the parts that I was supposed to personalize. Oops. I got rejected pretty much immediately.

And I, too, have an odd name, which both gets misspelled and mispronounced. Nousha, anyone? It's really Ishta. EEESH-tuh. Oh, well.

Morgan said...

But isn't it a little bit fun to be called Agent Nathan? Come on. Whipping out the literary agent badge and storming a bookstore has to be a perk. =P

www.morgankayser.com

Meghan Ward said...

Amazing that 60 people got your name wrong!

Dorothy said...

Thanks, Chris.

Anonymous said...

Who in the name of Socrates is Vicky Bijur - I hope that at least that this person got the spelling correct!

Anonymous said...

Hey, maybe the person didn't know Nathan's last name, and consequently wrote 'Dear Agent'.

Maybe this person thought his last name was a secret?

So that would make Nathan a secret-agent.

Get it!

A secret agent! Ha - I crack myself up.

Anonymous said...

I see I'm the only one who queried 'Mr Bradford".

Note to self-when doing google search to pull up the web site, just because 'Nathan Bradford' got me to the site, doesn't mean I should cut and paste from my google search!

Vacuum Queen said...

So funny that someone thinks they play hoop with you on the playground or something. To simply call you, "Bransford," cracked me up.

Jacqui Pirl said...

Thanks to Agent Janet Reid's fabulous blog, I just found your fabulous and hilarious blog! What a riot. Makes me feel somewhat less bad about any of my query goofs.
-Jacqui Pirl
That's J A C Q U I, and P I R L spelled just like "girl" but with a "p" and pronounced like "Pearl" as in Pearl Harbor.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Nobody gets Chumplet wrong, except the one who called me Crumpet. Oh, and there's the one who called me Chump, and Chumpie.

Wait -- even I'm not immune...

Bangalow Accommodation said...

Blank hurts but pray tell - who is Vicki Bujur?

Vivian Dixon Sober said...

Nathan,

I think people want to believe that you are their friend and that you actually know them by name or want to know them because they write on your blog. They query you, and, bam! Reject. Should they be surprised?

People should do research on you and your company before they even bother to query you.

Anyone who calls you out of your name has an unrealistic expectation of you and from you.

Every one should be professional. Don't you deserve that much and even demand it? It is all about respect and professionalism.

You see someone who recognizes you. "Hey, Nate, you my dog. Right, we be bloggin'. I'm John Doe. You know me. Skin tight."

Things that make you go "Hmmm."

Vivian Dixon Sober
victoriouswomen.wordpress.com

Julie D said...

Very funny! I was such a wreck when sending out queries that I not only painstakingly made sure of the correct spelling of the agents name and the agency, but I re-read my query each time, even though it hadn't changed!

I managed to find an agent who overlooked much for the good of the product, in spite of my best efforts.

Great article.

Salute,
Julie Dolcemaschio
(D as in David, OLCE, M as in MARY, A, S as in SAM, CHIO like OSCAR)
Author, TESTAROSSA

Anonymous said...

I know this post is years old, but it brought a smile to my face during a gray week so wanted to chime in.

I recall the best impression I ever made with someone's name (we won't mention the others) was when I was introduced to someone in a business setting with the last name "Schneckenburger." I spelled it back to make sure I understood and because I knew I'd need the spelling later.

She responded somewhat surprised. "Yes, that's perfect!"

Without skipping a beat I quipped. "Well, it's the common spelling isn't it?"

We both laughed, and I knew I'd made my best first impression ever.

Perhaps I should look for a literary agent with the last name Schneckenburger ;).

At any rate, thanks for the smile. Have a great day, Vicki ;)

Tammy said...

I... CANT... STOP... LAUGHING... i feel your pain Vicky!!!!

Novel Software Creator said...

Really funny post. As someone who'se gone through the world with the name 'Katja Brenke' I've learned to brush off errors, both in spelling and pronunciation, even when trying to make things easier for people. My favourite was:
"My name's Kat."
Person writes down 'Cat'.
"No, with a 'k'"
"Oh, okay,"
Writes down Cak.
*facepalm*

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