Sunday, February 28, 2010


I've critiqued 148 queries at 143 are still available for people to read. Five elected to have their queries taken down after the critique. I didn't ask why, and didn't argue. And I don't think less of them for asking (an option available to everyone who submits work to the Shark.)

What I do is think more of the 143 people who have embraced the public critiques of their work: more still of the 100+ who have sent revisions; more still of the 50+ who've sent second revisions; and I'm frankly awed by the one has sent five revisions.

Revision happens most often in isolation. There are few ways to learn from other people, particularly people removed by geography or subject matter. To let us into that process, to see what works, what doesn't, and how you try and try again is a resource beyond value. Its only price is courage. A price I do not pay, nor do the readers. Only you, the writer, pays it.

You have my utmost respect. Never doubt it. Never forget it.


Josin L. McQuein said...

Query Shark is an AWESOME resource, and one I'm grateful to have the chance to read. It's not easy to put something out there in public view to get shredded.

Brittany said...

Amen to that. I haven't gotten to the querying stage yet, but once I do, I'm planning on submitting to Query Shark, and if my query gets chosen, I'll do as many revisions as it takes to get to a yes.

Then I'll submit to other agents, of course.

Christi Goddard said...

Revision is difficult, but your help is invaluable.

I had to google 'Big Love.' I don't watch TV so had no idea what that was. :-)

Casey Something said...

Agreed! I appreciate everyone who's submitted to the Shark.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thank you for letting us be your chum. Really.

For me, anyway, being taken seriously, listened to and responded to is what gives me courage.

I hope you get to mine soon, although given the date on the sample in today's post, I expect it will take a while....

(Oops. Did I use that ellipsis correctly?)

lexcade said...

this is definitely one of the most helpful sites on the web. i've recommended it and i know loads of others have as well!

thank you, janet!

Margaret Yang said...

A huge salute to the chum. You allow yourself to be eviscerated so that we all may learn.

Thanks for taking one for the team.

ryan field said...

"Revision happens most often in isolation."

I love this line.

Ellen said...

"You have my utmost respect."

That's evident ... and it makes all the difference. The blogger I complained to you about has no respect and mistakes disdain for snark. Miles apart.

Anonymous said...

Query Shark is an amazing resource and I thank you for the effort it takes to keep it going.
Thanks again,

Patience-please said...

Yes, please add mine to the chorus of thanks. No, that's wrong.

I would like my thank you to be the big glob of freshly whipped cream on top of the steaming mug of hot chocolate.


That works.

Rachel Hamm said...

Query Shark is amazing. Definitely the most helpful site about querying out there in the cyber universe. I'd give my right arm (and I'm right-handed) to get my query critiqued by you Janet! (hint hint- I've sent a couple of versions!)

Sandra Cormier said...

I think I revised mine about five times before I sent it in, but I'm not yoinking it again.

*waits patiently & with trepidation*

Sandra Cormier said...

*ahem* I meant, AFTER I sent it in.

Tom Bridgeland said...

Many thanks. Query Shark was one of the very first blogs I discovered when I went looking for an agent. I didn't have any idea how to go about it, and that blog with the many useful links got me started. I sent a query to Query Shark recently, and hope someday to see it chopped to bait.

Unknown said...

Query shark is my favorite blog on the whole planet. I cry when people take their queries down after a critique.
It does take courage, and a sense of humor, to leave a query up. It also takes the conviction that one is capable of better things.
You respect the ones who leave their queries up. I thank them.

Anonymous said...

Funny... I am working on that very thing in a few weeks. My second revision, that is. I just have to deal with all these silly zombies.

Thank you for the encouragement.
Be assured that you are on my 'to do' list.
Er... and I mean that in a non sexually sort of way.