Saturday, January 8, 2011

Websites for Writers

I said I’d do this Saturdays. I think. I may have said Sunday, but I’m too lazy to go check. Whatever. It’s going to be Saturdays, in any case. And the first website I’m picking to look at is QueryShark, one of the many websites out there to teach unpublished writers how to query, run by an agent that packs so much into one day that I’m fairly sure she is a robot. At the very least, she doesn’t sleep.

I love QueryShark, and not just because Janet Reid is so, well, biting. It has a lot of queries (about two hundred by now) for you to look at and go “Well, I’m glad mine isn’t that bad.” Also, the senders can update their queries for a second, third, fourth and even fifth rounds, so you can watch the evolution of a query from “Is this even English?” to “Must have NOW.” You might even pick up a hint or two looking at the mistakes, learn how to recognize them in your own work. And, if you send one in, you might even get it critiqued by the Shark herself. It is kind of a long shot, though. A lot of people throw themselves into the shark infested waters.

Warning: it is not for the thin-skinned. Oh, and don’t send in an email with your name, address and all that in the top left corner. She really, really hates seeing that. Really. She started a quiz (I got all six questions! Yippee! I’m observant!) and says if you get all six questions right (which, as I said in the last parentheses, is possible if you read the archives and pay attention) you’re ready to send something to the Shark. Apparently, my teachers were right when they said they have to give quizzes in order to ensure people actually look at the information.

Even if you don’t want to send something in, it’s a great learning experience. Because if you think you’re ready to send in the query letter, you’re not. Trust me. Read the archives and you’ll see what I mean.  


  1. I haven't gotten around to the query phase yet, but I've seen Queryshark on a couple of occasions.

  2. Ha! She can bite hard, can't she? But it also sometimes shows how truly (sorry, I need to say it) subjective the business can be. Ones I think sound like crap (story line, not mechanics) she bites on in a good way. Ones I think sound like something I'd read get ripped a new one.

    I have good taste in books, I swear!!!!!!


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