I got these questions recently:
“I’ve seen websites that recommend using the agents’ first name on the ‘Dear…’ line, and other websites where they discourage this? What do you think?
Is it better to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope or a self-addressed, stamped postcard? I’ve heard postcard and envelope. Is the trend more toward postcards? What’s your take?”
I usually write the first and last name and do NOT use the “Dear” part. For example:
Joe Smith; instead of Dear Joe Smith;
I think this is appropriate and professional. I think using just the first name is too casual considering you don’t know this person. Also, using my method with both a first and last name avoids the gender issue, so you don’t have to worry about getting the “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Mrs.” wrong.
I always use a self-addressed stamped postcard when mailing query letters. It’s easy and cheap for everyone involved. The producer can simply write a quick note on the back of it and drop it in the mail. With an envelope, even if it’s stamped, the producer still has to write a letter and stuff it in, which is a lot of work for a busy producer. In this day and age make sure that your email address is on your query letter and easy to find because I’ve found that in most cases a producer will simply drop me an email if they want to read my script even if I’ve included a self-addressed stamped postcard.