What Else You Should Be Reading: Query Shark

Writing, says nearly everyone in the entire writing world, is about rejection. You should be proud of your rejections, they say. Count them. Frame them. Relish them, because rejection is how you learn what doesn’t work and gets you one step closer to acceptance. You learn from your mistakes. That’s what they say, right?

Well, have I got good news for you! There’s a fantastic blog out there in the wide internet where you can join a community of other readers and watch other people’s queries get ripped to shreds for educational benefit. It’s called Query Shark. The author of the blog, a literary agent in New York known officially as Janet Reid and fondly as the Query Shark, accepts drafts of novel queries and publicly rips them into as many shreds as is necessary.

You should know, before you go on clicking the e-mail button and sending through your own query, that the blog’s not quite as post-friendly as our own YWS. There are strict standards for you to adhere to when submitting your potential query. The most honest and most useful is that you must read all past posts. Then Query Shark insists that you take notes — write down what you didn’t know before you started reading through. You can see the rest of the pre-submission check-list here on the blog.

So what say you, YWSers? Are you at this point with your novel, where you’ve got the darn thing written, but don’t know how to get an agent to take a peek at it? Make Query Shark your nightly reading, take notes, and maybe submit your own paper to the sharp teeth in the ocean.

Even if you’re not ready to query, or not even writing a novel at all, this blog has plenty of useful writing advice that applies not just to query letters but writing in general. Trawl the archives. Go fishing. It might help you land the big one.

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2 Responses

  1. Hightop says:

    I actually read that blog every now and then. I have no reason to write a query at the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to know how!

    • Hannah says:

      It’s also useful for just writing tips in general! Every piece of advice she gives you to apply to your query assumes you have similarly good writing to back it up in the novel.

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