Dear Miss Knark, (ha!)
A few weeks ago I queried an agency electronically and was told to send the first 50 pages via hardcopy to a particular agent. The agent's name was right there on my computer screen, but being a nitwit, I somehow got it into my head that the first letter of the last name was a 'P' when, in reality, the agent's last name begins with a 'B'.
Of course, nitwittingly enough, I didn't realize my error until about two weeks after I mailed said partial (the outside envelope addressed to the same wrong name written on the cover letter, oh, say three times?) to said agent, and now I'm wondering if perhaps she took a match to my gasoline-soaked work rather than bothering to read it? My stupid sister says I should act on just that--send the agent another copy with a note attached, explaining how I'm resubmitting in case she set the first submission on fire. My stupid sister thinks this idea is so funny that it will actually speed up the review process (I told you she was stupid) because it will make the agent want to read my work at once.
My problem with this is that while I do so wish I had gotten the spelling right, I believe that my writing is strong and commercial enough for a good agent to see past the sort of blunder I made. Assuming the cover letter is excellent (it is), I think the agent should keep reading beyond her name, but maybe I am wrong and my stupid sister is right...What's your take?
There Miss Snark was, in her business-like yet fun summer frock. Hat, spiffy shoes. No poodle since this was a biz lunch. Enter editor. Miss Snark rises, greets her by name. All sit. Chat ensues. Miss Snark is warm, gracious and focused. She's on her game. Since she's read all the sales and networking books, she knows to use the editor's name - not often, but certainly more than once or twice in the course of the two hour lunch.
The bill arrives. The editor pays. Miss Snark sees the name on the credit card. It is NOT the name she has been using. The editor never says a word. Ever. Not even to this day.
Excrement occurs. It's not the end of the world. You will recover. Your work will speak for itself. It's an annoyance but it's not a deal breaker to miss one letter in a cover letter, particularly since its a requested partial. It will not hurt however to email a quick "oh my dear dog, I spelled your name incorrectly, very sorry."
We've ALL done this. There's not an agent in the world who hasn't called someone by the wrong name at least once and the older we get the higher that number goes.