Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The overwhelming response to my frustration Sunday night was both helpful and heartwarming. Thank you.

It's clear QueryShark archives have value and should continue.

It's clear that most writers understand the value of having their work in the archives, and the revision process available for other writers to benefit from.

With that in mind there is a change in the QueryShark submission process:

1. Every submission must include a phrase agreeing to be posted and archived.

2. The option to have your work removed is gone.

Because this is a major change in the submission agreement, ALL queries are being discarded as of this morning.

IF your query was not posted, and you wish to be considered you MUST SEND AGAIN.

You MUST use the new submission policy.

It's spelled out here.


Eric Steinberg said...

I just sent mine...I wonder if I'll be the first. Thanks for continuing this valuable free service to the writer community.

Janet Reid said...

You're third. The new guidelines were up yesterday, before this post went up.

Heidi Willis said...

A perfect solution.

Thank you for all the work you do, Janet. This blog is a gift, and if it costs us a little humbling in the process of learning, that's a price we should be willing to pay. Nothing is free.

BonnieShaljean said...

I'm SO glad you're not going to leave us to perish on Bad Query Reef. One question, though. Regarding the proviso which everyone agrees to:

"By submitting this query, I agree it may be posted and critiqued on the QueryShark blog and included in the archives for the life of the blog"

is there any chance that people could misinterpret "life of the blog"? I'm thinking of the late, wonderful Miss Snark, whose ghost remains but who no longer posts. Though her blog hasn't been taken down, it is no longer active - so would it be considered that it is still "alive"?

Not trying to nit-pick, but if it's for legal coverage, should you perhaps say something like "for as long as the blog remains online" so nobody can make a fuss if the Shark decides to swim away (don't you DARE!!!!!) but leave her chum (and forlorn chums) behind?

JeffO said...

I was out of town and missed commenting on Sunday, but I'm glad you've found a workable solution. What you do here is so valuable it would be a shame to lose it. Thanks!

Josin L. McQuein said...

I saw the post you made before (and would have gone with the "lifetime" option, too), but I'm curious. Did the people who asked for their posts to be removed give a reason? Were they disappointed in the response, using the blog as a free / quick critique service, or afraid someone would use the posted query to create a similar novel?

I know the query crit section of Absolute Write had to make a revision in policy due to posters who would only sign in to get their work polished, and then never participate elsewhere. And I've seen the "someone will steal it" tantrums, there, too.

french sojourn said...

Excellent news, When finished with my rewrite I will send mine in.

On the off chance I am fortunate enough to have your insight, and comments from the barracuda pool; I will keep a ( whats a polite delicate word for proctologist) Doctor on retainer.

Your blog is invaluable.

I remember "Five seconds" as a great query, I think it was withdrawn. too bad it was memorable.

Thank you again for all the time and effort you put in to this blog.

kregger said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

The vast majority of us know the value of the time and expertise you offer. Too bad there isn't a litmus test to judge the thin skinned.

Any writer worth their weight in salt has critiqued another's writing in order to teach and to learn. Critique enough and eventually, paths will cross with "Author Whom Knows Better".

I can't imagine the volume of writers you come across. I tell my staff about the 90-10 rule. Ten percent of the people cause ninety percent of the problems. You've done 236 queries here as the Shark, how do the numbers work out?

Having been on the receiving end of your help I can't begin to explain my heart-felt appreciation for how much you helped me.

Anyone that had their query taken down might as well have kicked Santa in the teeth for all the good it did for their future.

Tips a single malt in your direction. Cheers!

french sojourn said...

Kregger.....Nice, well said.

drw said...

Thank you for taking so much of your time doing this incredible job. We'll all benefit from your decision.

Sarah (saz101) said...

So glad you found a (I hope?) happy resolution.

I remember reading a comment on the previous post from an aspiring author/current lawyer talking about the problems involved in choosing option #1. Saying, 'yes, post my work, yes archive it,' seems like a very sensible solution.

Good luck, and thank you :)
Seriously, Ms Reid -- you deserve a plaque.
And a bottle of tequila.
And a lifetime pass to Shark World.

...is there a shark world?

Veronica Sicoe said...


Rena said...

You know, I almost dashed off my query, but when I read the rules again, I saw the "let your query sit for a week" rule.

Thanks for staying open for this. The query critiques have been immeasurably helpful, and I'm so glad you're continuing. Publishing changes. I would expect querying to change as well.

Alexander Pierce said...

I'm all for the new requirements. If my mistakes can help others the way other's mistakes have helped me, well, that's fantastic. At least then they've served double the purpose, first in teaching me, and second, hopefully, in teaching others.

I've re-submitted my query and I thank you for your service and assistance to writers. I'm learning more and more from this site every day as I read and re-read other's queries.

Theresa Milstein said...

Glad you found a solution to your frustration.

Augustina Peach said...

I missed all this controversy while it was happening (busy time at work), but I'm so glad you've decided to forge on.

Aimless Writer said...

Now that's the Shark we know and love! Lay down the law and let the fearful run and hide.
I'd be honored to have my query in your archives...that is...if I were ready to query.

Uma said...

I'd say those querists are extremely selfish. What's wrong with letting others learn from your mistakes? (And in many cases that's all you're sharing- your mistakes. The letter has no other value. Janet Reid seems to spend more time critting the letters, than many authors spent writing them.)

That said, many months ago I submitted a query. I wrote that I wanted representation, but I didn't want it posted on QS. It wasn't posted (of course) but I didn't get any rejection nor a request for chapters. What if I'm only looking for an agent, but not for a critique of my query letter, can I still submit to your email provided? Maybe you could have a separate submission email for those who are looking for an agent but not for critiques?

Karen Alterisio Nelson said...

If my query was posted just before the changes, am I to send revisions with the new subject line and the query number? Or am I starting over from scratch?

Janet Reid said...

Karen, just keep the former settings.

Karen Alterisio Nelson said...

Thank you, Dear Shark

Rebecca O'Tool said...

Very excited to see the problem resolved. :D Way to blow the complainers out of the water.

Lemur said...

Awesome Ms. Shark! Glad you got it fixed.

I do have a question - maybe somehow I just missed some of the previous revisions or maybe something changed. When I used to come to the site a newly revised query would show up at the top of the page. Now they're showing below the archive fiasco.

Now it seems like they're showing up in the space where their first posts were? Or is that just my imagination? I only ask because if I'm correct about that, then it'll be harder for your readers to find new revisions without reading the entire archives again.

LOL and having slogged through the archives once... At the same time I don't want to miss any new revisions as they're hugely interesting and helpful.

Keep up the good work, Janet, and know that you're appreciated!

Janet Reid said...

Lemur, the revisions have always been posted above the original query and in the same place as the original query.

What might have changed is how you land on the page. If you click a link that leads to a specific page/revision, it will be at the top.

And revisions are listed on the blogroll to the left under Recently Revised. Click on those links to land you on the right page too.

Janet Reid said...

err...that would be Most Recently Updated, not what I said above.

1. Drink coffee
2. THEN post.


Jackie Randall said...

I love your work, Query Shark. Please don't go away.

Brent Stratford said...

The shark is the one and only place to get the straight scoop on the query process. One shark review is worth more than all the canned responses from other agents put together. I'm thrilled that a bunch of whiners failed topple this awesome site.

Thanks for all you do Janet. Those of us searching for our first break love you.