Friday, April 26, 2024

In Memoriam: Janet Reid

On Sunday, April 14, 2024, the literary community lost one of its guiding lights when Janet Reid passed away. A New York literary agent for more than twenty years, Janet was possibly even better known for her writings about the publishing industry, especially her advice columns for aspiring authors.


Janet Reid was born in Seattle, Washington, the oldest of four sisters. Her sister Cynthia described her as a constant source of “great humor and limitless encouragement” to all her family, a sentiment echoed by her clients, her associates, and her friends. After a stint at law school, which set her up nicely to do a literary agent’s requisite contract work later, Janet spent fifteen years doing book publicity in Oregon, where she also hosted an author interview radio program for Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Janet had a smooth radio voice,” writes Adam Eisenberg, her client of more than 20 years, “and a fondness for equally smooth Scotch, Macallan in particular.” Janet left her broadcast days behind her and moved to New York City to launch a literary agency in 2000, but that radio voice became famous all over New York publishing offices, where editors would pick up a phone call from Janet’s caller ID with accelerated pulses, wondering what one-liner she was going to drop on them today.


Janet launched JetReid Literary, her boutique agency, shortly after arriving, and began courting and accruing clients. During this time, Janet crossed paths with Stephany Evans, the owner of Imprint Agency. Janet joined Imprint in 2004 and she and Stephany worked together for the next twelve years, through an agency merger in 2006 that formed FinePrint Literary Management. Janet carved out a space for herself as the agency’s crime fiction specialist, although she also loved to represent nonfiction. After FinePrint, she worked with many of her former “ducklings” at New Leaf for three years before relaunching her own agency, JetReid Literary in 2020. Over her 25 years in the industry, she developed the careers of New York Times bestsellers and Edgar Award winners. At the time of her passing, many of her client relationships have stretched over two decades.


Janet became an integral piece of hundreds of writers’ professional careers because of her blogging. She never monetized any of her writing or labor—the thousands of hours she invested in her blogs were pure of purpose, to demystify the publishing and querying processes for (often frustrated) aspiring authors. Well, almost pure of purpose—Janet did enjoy the community that built up around her platforms, even if she was careful to only engage at arm’s length, protecting a rigorous ethical separation between her work for her clients and her non-denominational advice for writers.  


Janet’s first blog, which she ran from 2004 to 2008, was perhaps the watershed moment in book blogging history. For this (strictly anonymous!) blog, Janet developed the online persona of Miss Snark, a sharp-tongued, truth-telling literary agent who offered scathing and highly educational commentary on etiquette, bad behavior, trends, and hypocrisies in the book publishing industry. Miss Snark became legendary in the publishing community and beyond, establishing itself as the go-to online writers’ resource for how to get published. Miss Snark’s true identity was hotly debated in internet forums—to this day, long after Janet allowed Miss Snark’s anonymity to subside, one can still find Reddit pages offering a range of amusing hypotheses. 


In 2008, Janet pivoted to a new platform, The Query Shark, which she ran under her own name for the next sixteen years, critiquing readers’ query letters and answering readers’ industry questions. The impact of both these blogs can be observed all over the internet—her words quoted and excerpted widely by other publications, writers citing her advice as a critical turning point in their path to publication.


Janet was also a cherished mentor among publishing professionals as well as among writers. “What stands out to me about Janet's time at Fine Print, other than her fierce dedication to her clients and her penchant for literary murder and mayhem, was how she took our interns and younger agents under her wing as mother hen and mentor,” said Stephany Evans. “They seemed often to congregate in her office (her "lair", as she called it) and bring her their questions or run their pitches by her for her approval. She seemed to be happiest when she could offer support or a leg up.”


Indeed, to her “ducklings,” Janet was an incredible mentor, generous with everything she had,” said literary agent Suzie Townsend, former assistant and friend. “She knew when to be compassionate and when to push someone to be better and when to lighten the mood. She definitely shaped who I was in this industry and I'm incredibly grateful for it.


Another former assistant and friend, Meredith Barnes, said, “I moved to New York from far away when I was very young, and Janet was my first boss--but she gave me much more than anyone should ever expect from ‘a boss.’ Janet fed me when I was broke, corrected mewith vivid diction!--when I messed up, and somehow knew how to compliment the things I was secretly proudest of but thought no one else noticed. She made me bold.”


Janet endured more than her fair share of personal loss, but she held herself to a very strict code of right and wrong. Her friends looked to her as a moral compass: a person who had an instinct for taking the high road, whose well of kindness and generosity was seemingly inexhaustible, and who held no grudges unless you really deserved them. Janet was a devout Catholic. In the often-unreligious culture of publishing, Janet joked about her own church attendance and how it kept her on the right track; her friends joked back that she kept them on the right track. “Many know Janet as the Query Shark but for me she was my ram in the bush,’ providing help and support when I least expected,” said agent Regina Brooks. “She sent me flowers at milestones and offered prayers as a steadfast warrior in my corner.” For the non-believers among her “ducklings,” Janet would skip the prayers but still send the flowers. Or whiskey.


Janet’s irrepressible sense of humor endeared her to authors, editors, and fellow agents alike. The ultimate reward of a lunch or drinks date with Janet was making her laugh. Her guffaw, if one earned it, could silence a crowded restaurant, and she was not afraid to fall out of her chair with mirth. She brought joy into every gathering, steadfast loyalty into every relationship, and kindness into every encounter. She will be deeply missed—by her two surviving sisters and brothers-in-law, two cousins, ten nieces and nephews, nine great-nieces and nephews on the west coast, and by her non-biological found family in New York, who are legion.


“Her passing leaves an unfillable hole for me, and for so many people,” said Keith Kahla, Executive Editor at St. Martin’s Press. “And yet, I know that somewhere, shes clucking her tongue and saying, with great sympathy and heart—‘I know it's hard . . . now get back to work.

Click here to contribute to a memorial bench in Central Park in Janet's name and to Janet's favorite charity, Wild Bird Fund.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Love for Janet in the Words of Some of Her Authors, Colleagues, and Friends

There’s so much to say—about Janet’s kindness, her rowdy sense of humor, the delight she took in giving and receiving good-natured ribbing. She was a supportive agent and a blistering deliverer of critiques—but always with a mind to bring out the very best in us. It would be true to say she made me a better writer, but that was only part of her gift, and surprisingly incidental for someone who was a literary agent. I can’t count the number of people who’ve told me she helped them with no expectation of anything in return.


I could go on and on, but I keep coming back to one thought. Janet used to say, “The Shark doesn’t do hugs.” But I never once saw her hold back when someone needed one, including me. I’ll miss her.


—Bill Cameron, client




Janet has been a friend and mentor to so many of us in the publishing industry. I've never met someone with such a ready hand to help another, whether offering advice on a query, sharing a brilliant new manuscript, or connecting kindred spirits. Her unique brand of jovial curmudgeon made her the life of every gathering, and her wit was razor-sharp but always used for good. I'm glad to have many years of comradeship and conference drinks to recall fondly . . . as well as her great love of animals, including the (rental) cats she loved to tout on her Twitter feed. In the end, I'll remember her for her kindness, her humor, and her fierce independence. I am deeply grateful to have known her.


—Abby Zidle, Executive Editor, Gallery Books




I first started working with Janet around 2002. I think Janet had arrived in Brooklyn only a year or two before we connected. After I met her, I realized the move to the East Coast was an obvious one for her. Janet LOVED the City—she seemed to breathe New York. 


Janet was not only a knowledgeable agent, she was also an amazing and honest editor. She always told the truth and, even if she finessed it at times, her advice was always spot on. Janet once explained, I'm not creative. I can't tell you how to fix things. But I can tell you what's wrong. Of course, that wasn't true—at least the part about her creativity. Janet was very creative. Yes, she had a keen eye for spotting problems with your manuscript, but she was also a wonderful writer in her own right, as readers of her popular Query Shark posts can attest.  


Janet loved non-fiction books, even ones that wouldn't necessarily make a lot of money. I think she really loved ideas, and she would nurture them as she would her writers. Janet was very supportive and encouraging, often telling me, You just have to write your way through this book to find out what it's really about. Janet also had a great passion for what the law should be Over the years, our conversations always included a discussion of the state of the law and the harried state of the world. In those discussions I learned Janet was an old-style law & order Republican, yet socially liberal. She often ranted about how she couldn't stand what happened to the party starting with George W. Bush, and she absolutely despised Trump.  


Janet was knowledgeable about a lot of subjects and curious about so many more, and she had a razor sharp (shark?) wit. She was also kind and thoughtful. Last fall, as I was returning to a novel I'd put aside for a while, she unexpectedly sent me a book she thought would serve as inspiration. It was a lovely gesture that reminded me she cared about my project and believed in me.


Back in 2008, after Janet helped me polish my book proposal for A Different Shade of Blue: How Women Changed the Face of Police Work, she started sending it around. But the initial response was less than enthusiastic. Not long after, I was visiting New York City and we met for coffee in Grand Central Station. After we sat down, I nervously asked, "Are you breaking up with me?"


“What? Janet replied, clearly surprised.


“Are you breaking up with me? I mean, we've gotten three rejections—”


“Phew!" Janet interrupted with a wave of her hands. Three rejections are nothing! After we get a hundred rejections we'll talk.”


She then calmly laid out the realities of the publishing world, explaining that we may get many rejections before we find the right publisher. I was greatly relieved, and from that day forward, whenever she had to give me bad news or even advice that I should change course on a project, she always started off with, I'm NOT breaking up with you. But . . . 


Now that Janet has passed, I thank her for not breaking up with me . . . until now. And while I'm incredibly saddened by this, I forgive her. I'm grateful to her for believing in me and, more importantly, for being my dear friend.


—Adam Eisenberg, client




I always thought it was cool that Janet's last name was Reid, because that's how she spent so much of her time.


Janet read manuscripts, emails, text messages, and contracts.

Janet read SO MANY QUERIES and offered the sharkiest of feedback.

Janet read people and situations and every room she walked into.


For a while, I was one of the lucky people who got to be with Janet almost every day. Office neighbors, we would roll our chairs to our door frames and kibbitz in the corner. I loved talking with her because she was unlike anyone I had ever met. Janet had opinions and shared them freely. She had the best vocabulary and was very particular about word choice. Janet would speak quietly and then burst out laughing when she got to her favorite part of a story. Janet loved cats, plants, and bourbon. She loved maps and office supplies. I know that love extended to her people as well and I am very thankful that our paths crossed when they did. Janet was and always will be an uplifter (even though I'm sure she would cringe at my stating this, ha!) but she is. I know I'm not the only one who is feeling blindsided by her quick departure. I'm not really accepting it to be honest. I owed Janet a call. I'll talk to her.


—JL Stermer, agent




The first thing Janet ever wrote to me, in response to my query letter, was 'I'm pretty sure I'm not cool enough to be your literary agent.' After twenty years of uproarious laughter, sage advice, and plentiful snark, I knew the inverse was true. Our first meeting to discuss my literary career took place in a Subway sandwich shop on 23rd Street; the last time I saw Janet was in our favorite bar. I will forever miss her raucous laughter and wonderful spirit. My world is a lesser place for her absence.


—Jeff Somers, client





Janet was an incredible mentor and friend, as well as hands-down one of the most selfless people I knew. Her blog is actually one of two blogs that sealed the deal for me to make the leap into publishing. When I started as an intern, her agency's office shared space with the agency I interned for. On my last day, she gave me several pieces of much needed (blunt) advice that helped propel me to where I am today. (Though I admit I didn’t follow all of it: I regret not changing my X, formerly known as Twitter, handle—"Do you really want to be called KOrtizzle in your fifties? That's going to be your brand," she cautioned. "Nah, no one will really know who I am." To this day, I am KOrtizzle—at conferences, online. I can't change it; it's how people now know me! But I know she came to love it by the way she would shriek ORTWEEEEEZE on voicemails and whenever I entered the room.)


She wrote my recommendation letter for the AALA (then, the AAR) and was always forwarding me learning opportunities early in my career. She often invited me to go with her to drinks, parties or lunches to help me network, despite the fact I was 'just' an assistant. I had the honor of working with her for a few years under the same shingle, and she was an incredibly knowledgeable and empathetic mentor who was always available to answer questions or give advice. When I launched my agency, I received a gorgeous bouquet with an amazing note of encouragement that still hangs over my desk. She would call with no agenda just to see how I was doing and her door was literally always open.


I'm confident in saying a good portion of this industry benefited from her selflessness, guidance and/or humor at some point in their careers. And I know she would be annoyed we're making 'a fuss' over her, but the woman more than f*cking deserves it. And I will continue to quote her and share those tough love lessons to others in the industry in hopes of doing what she wanted from everyone she spoke to: helping others rise and succeed.


—Kathleen Ortiz, agent




Around 2009, I was desperate to find an agent and was sending query letters to every agent in New York City. One of them called me. "You're Dana Haynes? Were you the editor of the weekly newspaper in West Linn, Oregon?" Since almost nobody had ever heard of the West Linn Tidings, I was surprised but told her, yes, I used to edit that paper. "Before I moved to New York, I lived in West Linn. I hated your paper. Sure, I'll look at your manuscript."

That was Janet Reid. She sold that manuscript, and then the next eight.


—Dana Haynes, client




Janet Reid was a unique individual and she made an indelible mark on the world of publishing. She was passionate, endlessly enthusiastic, and while she never sought the limelight for herself she was relentless in support of her authors. She will be sorely missed.


—Andrew Grant, former client





There are three things in particular I'd like people to remember about Janet. One is how wise she was. I'd send her a manuscript and she'd get back to me with, "This is great! I love this! Here's what you need to change . . ." Of course, as a writer, you don't want to make changes. You just got done with it. It works. If you pull it apart you have to put it back together again and you just got the damned pieces to fit. So I'd pout for a day or two and feel sorry for myself and then figure out how to make the changes. And she was right. Every single time, whatever she told me to do, following her advice made it a stronger book. 


The second thing is her great sense of humor. Making her laugh was one of my favorite things and I'm sad that I won't have the chance again. I have one memory that still makes me smile, when I related an interaction between Royals fans and New York Mets fans to Janet and she laughed so hard she fell out of her chair. 


And, finally, I want people to remember how kind she was, and how supportive of writers at all stages of their careers. Her blog was a major source of advice and encouragement and, of course, Query Shark was an amazing resource for authors at that stage.


—Loretta Sue Ross, client




“I met Janet Reid only once in person, but she had already made an indelible impression on me. I spent at least a decade in awe of her Query Shark persona online. I then spent years sending her queries of my own to see if I could convince her to be my agent for my Linda Wallheim mystery novels. I hadn’t thought it was possible to become a bigger fan of her, but once I got to work with her, I did. Her online persona was gruff and blunt, but my experience with her was that she was also extremely warm. She loved books and she loved people and she saw both more clearly than most anyone I’ve ever known. She guided me through the most difficult years of my life, and she kept sending me incredibly encouraging emails that had subject lines like ‘Holy Smokes.’ I will miss her guidance more than I can say.”

—Mettie Ivie Harrison, client




On the last day of July 2007 I got a phone call that started with, “Hi, this is Janet Reid, from the department of you left me hanging on page fifty.”


Several weeks earlier I had finished my first novel, and over the summer I’d sent query letters to about thirty agents. While learning how to tackle that process, I must have read just about the entire archives of a famous blogger known as Miss Snark, an agent with a fierce little dog named Killer Yapp. Miss Snark’s blog was a gold mine of information about publishing, finding an agent, and especially writing a query letter. She would actually have readers send her their queries, and she’d critique them in detail. At times, it was a bit like the opening episodes of a season of American Idol, when the judges brutally tear apart someone who can’t sing—but in the case of a bad query letter, the criticism could help to fix it.


There seemed to be a consensus among random strangers on the internet: the real identity of Miss Snark was Janet Reid. After having read all those blog posts, the thought of possibly becoming a client of the real Miss Snark seemed like too much to hope for, but of course I sent her the query. And I was stunned when Janet Reid emailed and asked to see the first fifty pages of the book. When she called and asked for the rest of it, and ended up offering to represent me, well . . . words like ecstatic and overjoyed fall pretty far short.


You didn’t have to be a client of hers to know that Janet was the funnest person to be around at a writing conference—but being a client probably helped. I remember sending her a link to a YouTube video years ago of a woman walking into an apartment with about fifty cats in it. They clamber over furniture, knocking things aside, swarming around her. I asked Janet if that was what it felt like when she arrived at a conference where some of her clients were present.


Her advice on a manuscript was always spot on. I can’t think of how many times I changed something in a book based on a note of hers, and in hindsight couldn’t believe I’d written the earlier version in the first place. The last action scene in one of my books is a frantic race against time in Central Park—but making it frantic was Janet’s idea. For whatever reason, when I first wrote that sequence, I thought the scene should be very sedate, the whole thing serving as a kind of washed-out postscript to a climactic scene that came before it. (I distinctly remember thinking something like, “I want the characters to be like Schwarzenegger at the end of Predator, when he finally gets to the chopper, and he’s exhausted, covered in dust from the Predator nuking itself, he’s barely awake, this last little coda of a scene . . .”) Yep, my first pass at that Central Park scene felt just like that, and it was about two pages long, with almost zero conflict or tension, and I thought it was very artistic and clever. Janet’s response (I’m paraphrasing only a little) was, “Are you nuts? They should be racing against the clock to survive here, and they should barely make it.” It was pretty much instantly obvious that she was right, so I changed it, the whole time just shaking my head at the previous version, like, you were really going to put that in the book?


As a writer, it’s not exactly fun to admit something like that.  But it’s true, and people should know the impact she had, and how her work made a huge difference. That stuff happened all the time.


I keep thinking of a moment at Thrillerfest, in New York, about ten years ago.  I was sitting with Janet and a couple other friends in one of the huge conference rooms at the Hyatt (a few hundred seats), and it was mostly empty just then. We were all sitting in some back corner of the room, talking about random things, catching up. Janet said that times like this were her favorite thing about conferences. Quiet moments when you could just talk for a while. There were a lot of those over the years, and they were great.


As someone who doesn’t live in New York City, it’s hitting me lately just how much I associated that city with Janet Reid.  And it’s very strange, now, to picture New York without her in it.  She’ll be missed by lots of people who live there, and lots of us everywhere else.


—Patrick Lee, client




I first met Janet at a world mystery conference. We’d talked on the phone, and she had agreed to take me on as a client. I’d been nominated for an award there, and when Janet saw me at the awards, she led me up front to an aisle seat--so I'd be right up front to accept my award. I was less optimistic about my chances, but Janet had no doubts. And when I did win the award, she was the first to clap. She was always like that as an agent. She was positive about the works she represented and showed that faith in her clients. 


Janet once came to the Midwest for a conference not far from my house. On her second day there, I picked her up for lunch and drove to Waffle House, a mutual weakness. We had such a good time, not only eating, but talking about books and what was going on in NYC. (I'll never forget her laugh.) I then drove her back to the conference as she had a presentation. It was like someone had flipped a switch. She was immediately helpful and willing to answer any and all questions. She spent the time teaching all of these writers what they needed to know to query an agent or editor. I just sat in awe at the amount of information she had at hand and how freely she shared that with others.


—Jeffrey Marks, client


When I first submitted a query to Janet, through a series of misadventures which were only partially my own fault, all my personal email accounts were then silently disabled. I became completely uncontactable. Janet liked my query, emailed me, and the email bounced. Any normal person would have written me off. Janet persevered. Eventually she posted on her own blog, "Gary Corby, where are you?" Her small army of fans did some detective work and discovered one of my wife's email addresses. Janet emailed that address, and her email went straight to spam. I still had no idea what was going on.

Then late one night Helen is clearing out her spam. She stops, looks at Janet's message, and says, "This email looks genuine." I took one look and blanched. Then I worked out what had happened, emailed Janet and also called, with a thousand apologies. 

That is how close I came to never being published. I got there because Janet never gave up on a story she liked.

—Gary Corby, client


Janet Reid was an insightful, sometimes cranky, but always loving friend to writers everywhere.

I had the good fortune of spending time with Janet at conferences, on car rides around new cities, and during long phone calls that were ostensibly work related, but often didn’t involve books at all. She was a student of the world and for all of her gruff exterior, her faith in the goodness of the world shone through. I cannot overstate the importance of her support in the early days of my own publishing career. Janet gave legitimacy to us before others, and I don’t know that I would have had the good fortune of staying in the publishing industry as long as I did without her. She leaves behind a lasting legacy to so many. May the memory of her remain a blessing for all the lives she touched.

Rest well, dear friend.

—Ben Leroy, editor


Janet had a wit and sense of humor that was contagious. She was truly brilliant, thoughtful, generous, caring, and one of the loveliest souls I've ever known. We kept in touch over the years until I saw her recently. She was a very supportive friend to me, and a rare bird, indeed. I miss her company, her laughter, and her energy. I always will.

—Michael Stomme, friend



Janet was a treasured friend for nearly twenty years. Having started agenting around the same time, we’d run into each other those early days at conferences and industry events, and usually ended up hanging out and laughing in some corner of some party, as did pretty much everyone else at the event. When Janet Reid went to a party, the party came to her.


Over the years she became the first person I’d call with publishing news and triumphs and travails personal and professional. She was that friend for me, and to so many others. She was the most selfless person I’ve known, all the while proclaiming to be record-breakingly selfish. Janet was my go-to road trip companion and while I was always the one who drove (so many great places!), she navigated with aplomb from the passenger seat. On the drives, she introduced me to classic movie plots, authors I hadn’t yet read, the latest CDs of her beloved (the composer Andrew Violette), old-school country songs and her truly wonderful singing voice, and most importantly (to her), Waffle House. I’d be driving along and swimming into my field of vision would come her hand, indicating a left or right turn, usually because she’d spotted a Waffle House. She was a regular guest at our home in Hudson, NY (her country house, she’d call it), and my husband, Matt, and I are lucky that so many things we can look at every day hold a memory of her. Including the Waffle House mugs she talked a waitress into selling to her for $5, somewhere in West Virginia. Her laugh was validating (Matt’s words), her side-eye legendary, and her kindness and curiosity boundless. To (mis)quote Salman Rushdie, there is a hole in the world where my friend used to be. And I’m going to miss her for the rest of my life.


—Sorche Fairbank, fellow lit agent and friend


SDK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDK said...

Thank you, Janet, for all of your sage advice and thoroughly entertaining posts/comments on this blog. You kindly answered a few of my questions here, and for this I will be eternally grateful. That such a busy, esteemed literary agent took the time to share her knowledge with aspiring authors out of the goodness of her heart really was something special.
(I'm imagining you now, in the great beyond, giving Hemmingway,Salinger etc. notes on how they could have "got to the point" sooner. 🤣)
So, thanks again, Janet. I'm so very sad that this will be the last comment I make on your blog.

Colleen Coyne said...

Reading Janet's blog has been a part of my normal morning coffee routine since 2017. I met Janet at a writer's conference. After a few minutes of conversation, she asked me to send her my manuscript. It was my first manuscript. I was a newbie who didn't yet know the craft too well. Janet passed on my book, but her encouragement kept me going. We connected again several years later when I queried her with my second book. I was so surprised that she remembered me. Her choice of genres had changed by then - but again her encouragement was wonderful. I didn't know Janet well, but I do know she was special. Rest in peace, Janet.
- Colleen Coyne

french sojourn said...

I was fortunate to discover her blog and consumed it for years. I met so many incredible people here, she cultivated an area that was drama free. The amount of time and work she devoted to her Reider was staggering. I can honestly say she honed my writing voice with her flash fictions.

She will be missed, and honestly there won't be a voice like her to fill this void. Visiting this blog was rarified air, still numb, but honored to have been part of zthis incredible journey.

Felix Buttonweezer sends his love.

Cheers! Hank

nightsmusic said...

Oh, Janet. I sit here through tears and the many, many years, because the words won't come so I raise my own glass of Macallan to you. Thank you for everything. It was such an honor and privilege.

C. D. Monson said...

Janet, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the wonderful advice you have bestowed on all of us over the years. You will be dearly missed.


BJ Muntain said...

Janet has been a part of my life from Miss Snark to her final blog post. Like many of the Reiders, she was my dream agent, but I wrote the wrong genre. I'll always remember the one time I met her in person, at a conference where she gave a master class in query writing.

When I got to the room for the master class, on the screen was the first query she was going to talk about - mine. I was so nervous! She began reading it out loud, saying how this interested her, and that excited her until - oof! - she finally came to the detail that showed it to be science fiction. She didn't rep science fiction. She then gave us all these huge sheets of paper to rewrite the first paragraph of our queries. When she came to mine, she wrote a huge A+ on it. I still have that paper somewhere.

It's still hard to believe there won't be another blog post. One of my last interactions with her was regarding her blog. When I comment, I always choose to have follow-up comments emailed to me, so I wouldn't miss if anyone responded to me. It meant that, if a spammer posted a comment, I'd see it. She always kept her blog so pristine, so I would let her know. She always thanked me profusely.

I'm really going to miss her.

I'm sorry, Janet, I went over the 100 word rule. I just couldn't help it this time. I already miss you. (((hugs)))

E.M. Goldsmith said...

So that's it. This blog has been such a wonderful gathering place. Where we could laugh and cry together, where we learned and endured. The world is a bit darker without Janet in it. Without her, I am not sure I would have kept writing. I would never have published. I am heartbroken and will miss her forever. And the community she built for us. It won't be the same anymore, will it?

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Even though she didn't represent me, my books wouldn't exist without The Divine Ms. Reid. I met her at a conference, driving my little camper 10 hours to sleep in the hotel parking lot because I couldn't afford to check in. I made that drive to meet her and we became friends that weekend. She gave me a gift basket from the showrunners saying it was too big to carry on the plane. I think she did it so I'd have a good meal on the salami and cheese (the mini bottle of pepper vodka is still on my window sill.)

I am the proud recipient of several Shark hugs. They were as glorious as you'd expect.

She was fascinated by my thrift shopping and rarely far from my thoughts when I was out and about and spotted a gloriously odd trinket. Changing my thoughts from "The Shark would love this," to "The Shark would have loved this," breaks my heart, but she will still be my virtual shopping buddy and I'll hear her voice in my head when I'm writing.

Fair journeys Ms. R, and I'll be seeing you around the reef when the time comes.

Terri C.

Beth H. said...

I am heartbroken to read this. Janet did so much for writers, and perhaps even more for aspiring writers. I can't even begin to summarize all that I learned from reading her blogs. Even now, it is difficult to realize that there will never be another flash fiction contest here or another critique on Query Shark. Janet, thank you so much for your service to writers over these many years. You will be deeply missed.

Steve Forti said...

This is so heartbreaking to read and to write. Checking in with Janet and this community has been a part of my daily life since about 2008.
I can't even begin to recount all the ways her advice has helped my writing throughout the years. Especially the encouragement as a playfully challenging nemesis. She always brought a smile with an unexpected book or a Christmas card or simply a kind word. And the amazing community she fostered is a living testament to her legacy both personally and progressively.
You will be deeply missed. And Janet, this time, I am thwarted in properly expressing that.

Kat Waclawik said...

I decided to get serious about publishing in 2013, and quickly found the masterclasses freely available from Miss Snark, the Query Shark, and this blog. What a fierce and gentle heart must have beat in our shark’s chest, to generously offer so much wisdom and support. I rarely commented but did win a couple writing contests. The books and cards she sent (holy moly, that handwriting!) have presided over my living room ever since, reminding me that:

1. Someone wants to hear what I have to say, and
2. I need to get back to work.

Thank you, Janet.

Sandra Cormier Turnsek said...

Back when I did the twitter thing, Janet and I shared many exchanges and laughs over the years through direct messages. When I reached 20K tweets, I asked her to donate a tweet for me to post. She sent me this:

"Tweet 20K - a line from Jane Kenyon - Let it come, as it will, and don't be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come."

Colin Smith said...

Janet once told me that the reason for her online popularity was, as she put it, "not me, it's the job." I thought this was such a Janet thing to say: at once self-effacing and brutally honest. There is truth in her comment. Many literary agents garner large online followings because of what they do. But I can say for certain that Janet's online popularity was not simply because of her job. Anyone who had the privilege to spend any in-person time with Janet, or who was blessed to be the recipient of her generosity--whether giving of her time, her wisdom, or her resources (I can't begin to imagine how many books she gave away over her life), it was more than just her job that drew people to her.

Janet was (oh how it hurts to use the past tense) a truly fascinating person--witty, caring, genuine, and wise. There was no facade with Janet. At least I never saw one. If she loved something, she was unashamed in her praise and advocacy. If she hated something, she would be unapologetic in her criticism. But for as much as she could bite, I never sensed malice or vindictiveness. As the testimonies from her Query Shark blog demonstrate, she was brutal because sometimes that's what you need to be better. And she made so many writers better.

I could say so much more, but I'll end here. Thank you to whoever posted this tribute article, and to the clients, colleagues, and friends who contributed.

May the Reef continue even while the Shark is absent. Maybe those of us who have found a home here can meet up sometime. We'd have to have a Flash Fiction Contest, of course. There will soon be a bench in Central Park that would be the perfect venue.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

I am truly so sorry for this loss. For so many years she was my first blog post to read in the mornings with a cup of tea. Her sharkly words of affirmations or critiques for others, on the blogs and at the workshop where I did meet her in person, helped me shape my story.

I loved the sense of community she fostered here, the flash fiction, kale and the exiles to Carkoon, the Duchess of Yowl tales, her QOTKU for the Reiders. I will miss her big personality.

Craig F said...

She was, is, and will always be MY Queen. Many say they were the only one, Janet was an only one, she gave me, and countless others, so much of her knowledge.

My world will have a distinct hole in it for a very long time.

Dena Pawling said...

I entered my first flash fiction contest in June 2014. At that time I'd been reading Janet's blog for a few months. That first entry earned a mention! Over the next 10 years, I earned a few more mentions and even one win.

Janet always had the right balance of instruction and encouragement. She could be chomping on your contest entry while at the same time making you laugh. She dispensed wisdom, encouragement, friendship, and the occasional exile to Carkoon. One day she used an on-the-fly synopsis I posted in the comments as one of her blog posts. More than once, she randomly sent me a book she thought I would enjoy, along with a personal note. Every morning I looked forward to coming here and connecting with old and new friends all over the world.

She also invited all of us to share in the adventures of the snot-green couch, her entertaining escapades with the Duchess of Yowl, drama and hilarity with her neighbors, pigeon antics on her fire escape, and the endless repainting of her apartment.

Thank you Janet for sharing of yourself and your knowledge with us. I will always remember - We are not beggars at the publishing banquet.

Thank you to the other blog readers/reiders who have come on this journey with me and become my friends and critique partners. Thank you to Janet's family members, colleagues, and friends who contributed to this tribute. And most of all, thank you to the person who posted this tribute and left the comments open for us one more time.

John Davis Frain said...

This news crushed me. Some people, you think they're always going to be around. Janet was that person for me.

In my mind, I absolutely knew that one day I'd be in New York and would finally get to meet her in person. I'm not sure I would have been able to pay her back for all the kindness she showed me, but I would have tried.

What a person she was! I miss her so.

John "Manuscript" Frain

AJ Blythe said...

Janet was incredibly kind and generous to me, both professionally and personally.
My dear Queen, it was an honour.

Just Jan said...

Many Sunday mornings, over the past decade or so, have found me sitting at my computer reading flash fiction entries on this blog or, on occasion, frantically posting my own to get in before the deadline. Today, at the end of an era, words fail me.

Thank you, Janet, for your advice, critiques, wit, and wisdom. May you rest in peace.

Ash Complin said...

I was in shock all day yesterday after I read this. It still doesn't seem real to me.

There are a lot of websites I bookmark to someday read later when I have more time, and I often forget to actually go back and read them. Janet's blog is one of the few where I would stop what I was doing to read it. Each post was the highlight of my day. I never thought I would want news about someone else's couch.

Janet's advice and humor helped me progress more as a writer than any how-to-write book. Her flash fiction contests actually got me to start writing instead of just daydreaming about writing.

Thank you for everything, Janet. You've helped me and others more than you can ever know.

K.A. Claytor said...

I "knew" Janet in the same way many of us did - through this blog, and her helping with queries and first pages on books.

Janet was always genuinely excited for people to do well, and made them feel that. I adore Janet for everything she was and did for so many.

We'd kept up correspondence for five-too-short-years. I promised her if I ever published, I'd write "An Ode to Janet" in the acknowledgments of my book, and sent her a stack of fuchsia pens as an interim 'thank you' for all of generosity and kindness over the years. She was so dang excited when she received them. There were so many exclamation points.

But I did write an 'Ode to Janet' in the acknowledgments of my book and sent it to her, just a bit too late. I know she would have laughed about it.

Janet was as good as they come. She will be profoundly missed. I am so grateful to have known her in the limited capacity I did.

Lennon Faris said...

Janet's blog, QueryShark, and the community around this place has been a part of my life for over ten years. Still don't quite believe she is gone. She and I shared a great love of animals and we would occasionally trade stories about our four-legged friends. I had this imagination where I'd sit down to lunch with her in her beloved NYC and show her where I'd written the Reef into my acknowledgments of my published book, and it would have to be funny so that she would laugh out loud, and maybe fall out of her chair. I hope she realized how many lives she changed for the better. Thanks Janet for all you did.

Luralee said...

I will miss checking Janet's blog first thing in the morning.
I will miss the wisdom and the wit and the personality she put into every post. And the humor, boy, could she make you laugh.
And cry. Sometimes both at once.

I will miss the welcoming and supportive community of the Reef.
I found some wonderful beta readers here.
I loved hearing about other Reider's successes, and I loved that Janet encouraged her reef dwellers to mention when they had books coming out. I'd hoped to be able to do so myself someday.

This is where I discovered the joy of flash fiction.
For some reason, I haven't been able to write it without one of her contest deadlines making it feel more urgent and special. I need the prompt words, the 100 word limit, the knowledge that my entry will be up for all to scrutinize, and the possibility of a mention from the Queen Of The Known Universe. The little red cards were the true prizes. I will always treasure mine.

Thank you, Janet, You are missed.
Luralee Kiesel

Timothy Lowe said...

I will always remember the FF entry Steve Forti wrote in the comments section using only punctuation.

And Janet, picking up on it, ran an entry the next day titled "Why I Love this Blog," and ran the comment as part of the content.

What an incredible community she created. She will be deeply missed!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

It's been days since the unthinkable but I still can't shake off the grief.
Janet's kind words on my flash fiction entries and the occasional emails we exchanged gave me the courage to pursue writing seriously. I found great friends through the writing community that grew out of her blog. It is not hyperbole to say that this woman changed my life.

Thank you Janet, the mighty QOTKU - for everything.

Your Devoted Fan,

Kate Larkindale said...

Janets blogs have been such a constant in my writing life. I can't believe there's not going to be another post, another flash fiction contest, another shout-out about a book I must read. I never had the privilege of meeting her in person, but I will miss her nonetheless, and the community she created here at the reef. Thank you Janet, for everything.

julie.weathers said...

I am heartbroken. Janet always signed her emails to me, "Your number one fan" and though she probably signed that way to many, it kept me going many times when I wanted to give up.

That is one of the main things I will remember about Janet, but there are so many, many memorable things. I was at the Rocky writer's conference one year with Kari Lynn Dell (we were rooming together) and Janet was there that year. Kari was her client. Kari at the time was writing a western mystery with romantic elements. We met her for breakfast one morning. I was late because my mother had called. Janet was already discussing Kari's book with her. She told Kari she needed to make a choice, write mysteries or write romance. If she chose to write romance, Janet wasn't the agent for her, but she would recommend someone very good who would take good care of her.

Kari was gutted, but decided to go with the rodeo romances and switched agents. Janet hated to see her go because she loved, loved, loved Kari's writing, but she knew she wouldn't be able to do her justice as a romance author.

The rest is history and Kari was a huge success.

I remember the adventure with Gary Corby. That would have made a Hallmark movie. It was an amazing adventure.

So many good times with the snot green couch, the Duchess of Yowl, the paint decisions, Miss Snark, Query Shark, and just every day QOTKU presiding over the reef.

I am going to miss her so very much. She was one of a kind, but when you've had Janet Reid, you only need one.

Much love, my dear friend.

Emily said...

I have been a lurker here and on Query Shark for the better part of a year, all the while soaking up Janet's wisdom and advice. I read all her posts on Query Shark, and all the comments. I drafted over 50 versions of a query letter that I hoped I would one day send, learning, along the way, how to craft a good story, improving my fiction writing skills, growing so I could be worthy of a myriad rejection letters.
I never met Janet in person, she didn't know me from Adam, but she took the time to leave comments on my tweets on the couple of occasions I shared the pearls of wisdom and wonderful poems I found on her blog.
Now I will never get to bask in the glory of being rejected by the Query Shark, but I was privileged enough to have been touched by the tail of the comet that was Janet Reid.

CynthiaMc said...

Dang it!
I had a feeling something was wrong.
I hate being right sometimes.
I always hoped Janet would be my agent. She kept telling me I needed to be writing full time. I still hope to (hate those pesky bills).
I loved the flash fiction contests. I have many story ideas that came from them in progress. If they find a home it'll be because Janet made me think of them in the first place.
I miss you, my fellow devout Catholic, fellow Republican, fellow ethics nerd.

I really hope we Reefers all keep up with each other.
These were special times, this was a special place, and I'd hate if we lose each other, too.

Every email Janet sent me had "your fan" at the end. That meant a lot coming from her.

My condolences to her family. I'll remember her at Mass.

julie.weathers said...

I expressed this elsewhere, but to her family, her friends, her clients, her literary comrades, my sincere condolences. I am sorry for your loss. There are no words that can truly comfort you, but know you are loved and thought of in these difficult days.

Mister Furkles said...

We will miss you Janet. You too Miss Snark.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

And just like that. She's gone. I'm still taking it in, the enormous loss. She was such a beacon of encouragement and hope. She loved her work, she loved her city, and it shone through every word. I'm going to raise a glass in her memory every April 14th, forever.

And now I'm angry with Covid for yet one more reason. It stole precious years of New York's rhythm and riches from her, and even more precious hours gathering with friends. I remember her four-o'clock-in-the-morning tweets from that period, when we couldn't see where it would all end. (We still can't. Not really.) Who knew time would be so short?

Not long ago, a fragment of an old song popped into my mind. I hadn't heard it in years, so on a whim I grabbed the words from the net, thinking that someday I would lightheartedly sign off with them in a blog comment.

Never, never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine that when I did, it would be on a memorial page. Rest in peace, dear one.

The road was long but you ran it, Janet
There's fire in my heart and you fan it, Janet
If there's one fool for you, I am it, Janet

You're the coolest shark on the planet, Janet
Dammit Janet, I love you

Bonnie Shaljean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nbc said...

I met Janet briefly but memorably (for me, at least) at Bouchercon in 2009, not as an attendee but as a Janet Reid fan. Via e-mail, she was kind enough to agree to meet me on what probably was the first night of the event, which took place where I lived. I put on my best bib and tucker, and took a cab downtown with a gift for her: A tiara, along with the black velvet pillow on which to present it. (After all, she was the QUOTKU, and a queen can't have too many tiaras!)

Yes, a tiara. The event took place right around Halloween, and the tiara was meant for a Halloween costume. But I was confident that she would appreciate the humor.

She spent what feels in retrospect like half an hour talking to me, although it might have been less than that. She was funny, gracious, and as wonderful a conversationalist as I expected. I could not have felt better about my life at that moment if she had offered me representation on the spot.

All three of Janet's blogs have been part of my morningly reading since 2005. The gaps between posts were getting longer of late, but I still loaded the blog every day to look for a new post. When I saw the words "In Memoriam" yesterday morning, it was like a steel-tipped kick in the kiester.

It's easy to think you know someone who lays out as much of their expertise, spirit, wit, and personality as Janet did in every post. I realize that she was an intensely private person, but I grieve this loss as if she were a friend who secretly turned out to be a relative.

Farewell, Sharkly One! You mean more to more people than you ever could realize.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Janet was an amazing woman. Her blog was the first publishing-relating thing I ever read, and she was the first publishing professional I ever interacted with.

As the Query Shark, she gave me hope that I wasn't writing in vain, and when I had questions, she was always onboard with answers, even thought I wasn't her client. Her emails came with threats of lupine minions and heartwarming affirmations. She encouraged me in ways I doubt she ever realized, and pointed me to my first agent.

I never got to meet her in person, never heard her voice once, but it felt otherwise. She could fill a room by virtue of her written words alone.

I'll miss every Snookums, herpat-American associate, and octopus-adjacent sea creature in her arsenal.

Rest in Peace, dear lady, and thank you.

EasternRose said...

To all Janet's family, friends, colleagues and clients I say I am so sorry for your loss. To whomever put together this tribute, I thank you. It would have hurt more than you can know to have her blog go silent without explanation.

I wish I could have known, known her. I found her blog when I thought I could be a writer. I found her words encouraging and her personality came through loud and clear; this was a real person.

I lurked for awhile, then timidly jumped into submitting to the flash fiction contests. Her critiques and comments were spot on. She could say more in one sentence than most.

She created a community--the Reiders. I know all of you hold her in your hearts as do I.

Farewell, Janet.

(forgot gmail password and could never reset as google had me connected to an old landline.)

Dimitrius Harmata said...

I wept silently on the day I found out.
I felt robbed.

Why now? Why now, when I just got to know her blog and giddily posted a few awkward flash fiction entries that I kept obsessing over, long after they were judged?
Then I felt jealous of all those who were there from the start.
Then I felt guilty for thinking of myself as a victim. She was gone, not I.
But who was she to me?

A brief window into another world, a strong voice without a face, a guide in the minatory world of writing, an instant authority I so desperately wanted to hear from...
The world once again proves that it is unfair.
"Sadness lives after we die."

We are all orphaned now. Janet-less and on our own. I will grow out of my childish petulance someday and view my time with her as treasure, not just a brief conversation with the goddess cut unfairly short.

Thank you, Janet - wherever you are.

Diana said...

Janet's blog taught me so much about the publishing industry over the years, and her flash fiction contests gave me the confidence to pull out of a funk and really enjoy writing again. If I ever do succeed in putting out a novel, it will have been with her words of wisdom guiding my every step.

Rest in peace, Janet. Thank you so much for all you've given to nurturing writers over the years.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Janet, we love you. You're leaving such a big hole in our lives. I can't tell you how sorry I am I never finished making the rosary I meant to send you, in gratitude for the advice--both public and personal--you gave me in regards to an author's career.

But yes, I am a better, more professional author, thanks to your generous advice. You've touched someone who lives, literally, on the other side of the planet. That's impressive reach.

I'll endeavour to pass it on with as much generosity as you've shown the rest of us Chum.

See you on the other side (though not for quite some time).

NLiu said...

It still seems impossible that Janet has gone. I was hoping to meet her one day, or at worst send her a copy of my first published book and surprise her with a glowing acknowledgement (and maybe whiskey). Saying we shared seven or so years of blog interactions and emails doesn't do justice to what she was to me. Without her honesty and the amazing, kind (kindness! on the internet!) camaraderie she fostered with such vigour on her blog, I'd be a much worse writer and person than I am today. Her comments on flash pieces made me think maybe I could write after all. Her rejection letter was the most encouraging thing I've ever received in this industry. I don't know how she had time for everything she did. I don't know how she managed to do it all with such heart and compassion.

I will painfully miss her contests, her advice, and the community she presided over as our sharkly QOTKU. I'll miss her emails, about nothing in particular but somehow enthusiastically about everything. I'll miss the snot green sofa, the Duchess of Yowl, being sent to Karkoon (repeatedly) and the horror of endless kale. But most of all I will miss Janet's irrepressible personality. I can still hear her voice (snarking with gleeful honesty) every time I read a manuscript, and hope I always will.

See you in Heaven, Janet. Until then, I hope I can aspire to a hundredth of your generosity.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

This is such a lovely and well-deserved tribute. She will truly be missed.

RonC said...

What a huge loss. Janet was so helpful to so many and me personally. A wonderful soul and unflinchingly genuine personality. She will be sorely missed.

Vijaya said...

A great loss. We communicated briefly after I submitted a query but our interests didn't quite align. I loved her wit and wisdom. Requiescat in pace, Janet.

Amy Johnson said...

I am so sorry for our loss, everyone. When I did my morning Janet’s-blog-check-in on Saturday, I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. I offer my condolences especially to Janet’s family and friends. Thank you to the person who posted the news here and to all who contributed to it.

Now, what to make of this? Well, for a person’s absence to be noticed, her presence must have been noticed. Each of us is blessed that Janet’s presence mingled with our presence. I am thankful.

Janet was real. Janet was a superhero – a sharkly shark who was oh-so unsharkly. To some of us, Janet was fairytale and legend – I, too, had ideas of one day going to New York and getting to speak with her in person. Janet had the gift of encouraging, and she applied that gift. She encouraged me. (Yes, thinking and writing in past tense is tough here, but I suspect past tense may not be real.)

Oh, my Reef Family. What are we to do now? I got the sense Janet was pleased this community had developed. Others here have indicated wanting to keep in touch. I sure would like to. Of course, it wouldn’t be the same without Janet, but I wonder if keeping the group together might be a way to honor her. If anyone has ideas of how this could be done, I’ll be glad to help out if you’d like. I’d join FB for it, and I could try serving in a bridge capacity between a FB group and those here who prefer not to join FB – wouldn’t want anyone to miss out. Whichever way it turns out, I’m thankful I got to hang out here on the Reef with all of you. We had it really good here under the leadership of our Queen. Love to all.

Dimitrius Harmata said...

I am with you @Amy Johnson.
My time here was short, but I instantly felt as if among a family - and that doesn't happen often with me at all.
We need some time to process, for sure. Ideas on how to carry her light may not occur for awhile. But let's have this thought at the back of our minds, and try to stay in touch in the interim. If it is meant to be - and I sure wish it was - we will find a way.

KDJames said...

Condolences and sympathy to all the family, friends, colleagues, clients who surely feel this loss most deeply. I’m so grateful to hear she wasn’t alone and didn’t linger indefinitely in pain.

I’ve been struggling to find words adequate to express myself.

I first encountered Janet shortly after I joined twitter in 2009. She was working late at the office one night, listening to Lady GaGa and chair dancing. Then claimed to have fallen out of her chair. She was hilarious. And genuine. Never mind that she was a formidable agent and I a foal of a writer who most likely shouldn’t presume to speak to her, we shared a similar sense of humour and exchanged several texts/DMs/emails over the years. Not a lot [ALOT!], but enough to know she was indeed keeping an eye on me, as threatened. Er, promised.

I once wrote a review of one of her client’s books. Bill Cameron’s COUNTY LINE. I loved it. Janet decided to link to it. She could have said, “Hey, go read this glowing review of my client’s new book.” And maybe a dozen people would have clicked. That’s not what she did. Oh no, not Janet. She wrote possibly one of the shortest posts I’d ever seen from her that said something like [paraphrasing], “When people ask me about voice, this is what I mean.” Avid curiosity: evoked. Hundreds of people visited my blog. Just under a thousand (which was slightly terrifying). It took me a couple beats to realize what an absolutely brilliant PR move that was. While issuing a compliment at the same time. She earned my respect for her savvy that day. Not an easy feat.

She always found a way to insert a compliment or words of encouragement. She had a way of making you want to work to be worthy of it.

I read her blog for a very long time before I ever read the comments, let alone ventured into them. Then kicked myself when I discovered what a smart, funny, and talented group of writers she had gathered. Yet another skill of hers, bringing people together, fostering community. I made friendships here that I treasure and hope will endure.

Her Flash Fiction contests were a personal challenge. A story in 100 words? That’s just clearing my throat. I worked so hard on those entries. Back when, she’d comment on ALL the entries. I invariably got: Good writing; not a story. Lovely prose; not a story. Made me laugh; not a story. She did this for every entry, giving an opinion on what was lacking but always adding words of praise. I lived for the day when I finally managed to write a beginning/middle/end story. It took years. The day she casually referred to my entry as “a story” was one of my biggest writing accomplishments, ever. And then the day came that I won. Over. The. Moon.

I could go on, but I already have. Last chance to do that over here, to break the rules. And now I’m crying again, dammit.

We never met in person, never spoke on the phone. I would love to have heard her laugh. But I feel like we all knew her, as much as she’d allow. Little bits of her life that were amusing and interesting. And sometimes heartbreaking.

Janet was funny and smart and true. Generous with her time and work, her knowledge of the industry. Constantly supportive and encouraging. And kind. Not particularly nice, mind you. I think she once said nice was overrated. I agree. But she was always, unfailingly kind. Someone to admire and emulate.

One of my big regrets is that I didn’t finish a ms to the point I could query her with it. I don’t have any illusions that she would have offered representation. But I think we would have had a conversation. I think she would have insisted. I regret, will always regret, that didn’t happen.

Thank you to whoever posted this and left the comments open for us. I’m sure Janet would send the lot of us to Carkoon for so flagrantly abusing the comment word limit. Totally worth it, when you need to say a proper goodbye.

Fair winds and following seas, Janet. Until we meet again, dear friend, Rest in Power.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

I am fully in favour of Amy Johnson's suggestion that we find some way to stay a community. And I believe Janet would not want us to disintegrate from one another. (Also we could then transfer all the messages on this memorial page. We need to keep updated copies of it - PDFs might be the best method?)

If we find a way to do this, maybe whoever is handling the QueryShark blog could post a notice there too. I'm not sure that people would see anything buried way down in these Comments, or how long they'll stay online.

I'd have no objection to a Facebook group, but I know that not everyone likes or is a member of it. And I don't have (nor wish to join) Instagram. Twitter... fergeddit (short tweets and threads are not the right format anyway).

Reddit? Because each sub-Reddit can be independently moderated? Message lengths there don't seem to be limited. I suppose there's no social media site that will please everyone.

But guys, we gotta do SOMEthing. The pain of this loss is. not. going. away.

Bonnie Shaljean said...


About ten days or so

After we saw you dead

You came back in a dream.

I’m all right now you said.

And it was you, although

You were fleshed out again:

You hugged us all round then,

And gave your welcoming beam.

How like you to be kind,

Seeking to reassure.

And, yes, how like my mind

To make itself secure.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I do hope there is a way to keep this community together. Seeing all the names I had grown so accustomed to spending my mornings with over the years, gathering here one last time to honor our Queen. I can't stand the idea of us never gathering again. I did put Janet in the acknowledgements of my debut novel as well as all the Reef dwellers. Without whom, I would never have finished. Too late for Janet to see. Like quite a lot of us it seems.

I feel like Janet would want us to carry on. Perhaps, after the grief is less raw, we can come up with something. I know Colin has a list of most of us. Let's figure something out.

And I must once more offer my condolences to Janet's family and friends. She was a light in a great dark world for so many. She made the world better for having been here. I really do hope this is not the last gathering of her Reiders.

Kregger said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

There's nothing more to say that hasn't been said.

Rest in peace, my queen.


Bunny said...

Janet and I first connected when I timidly pointed out a typo in her blog. She was grateful, and our email relationship expanded into a personal friendship. We met in person 3 years later when she held a workshop in my city.
Not only was she generous with her limitless expertise on all things writing, but she was as supportive a friend as one could wish for. We helped each other through personal losses of people and pets. She sent me books. I sent her shark items I'd hand-sewn just for her. We communicated frequently.
I have a NYC trip coming up, and we had plans to spend an afternoon together visiting books stores and fabric shops. She was excited to show me her city. That trip will be difficult for me now. If you spot someone crying in the aisles, that's me.
I'm hugely grateful for having her in my life for a decade. The hole she's left is immense. But we'll be reunited on the other side. And we'll laugh together once more.

KDJames said...

For those interested, we do already have a private group on FB, called The Writers' Room. I just checked and it was started in 2015 and currently has 50 members. Not as active as it used to be, although it was never all that active. I pretty much stopped looking at FB as it doesn't show me posts from people I follow anyway, just random nonsense. I don't know how to add people to the group, but someone does. All are welcome.

The only other suggestion I have is a messaging app like Signal. Some online friends and I have a group, about 12 of us. Oddly, we also started as friends in a comment section of a blog that went away. No idea how unwieldy it might be with a larger group. Maybe, for now, try to join the FB group and we can discuss other options from there?

[Oh, and when I said in my comment above that we exchanged texts, etc-- that's a typo. Should say tweets. Sorry.]

Emily said...

Do you have a link? When I do a search several come up, some private and some public. Same spelling and capitalization. :-(

KDJames said...

@Emily It's been so long since I joined, I had to go ask how it works.

Here's the link:
Apparently there's an option to click, asking to join the group. There are a couple questions designed to make sure you're a Reider, but nothing difficult for anyone who really is.

Hope to see more of you over there.

KDJames said...

Just got a message from Susan Pogorzelski (one of our admins on FB):

"Can you let Janet's blog readers know that if they're having trouble finding the group, they can reach out to me and I'll add them manually? I'll also change the title of our group so it's easier to distinguish. I didn't want to step on Janet's fins when we created the group."

She changed the name to The Writers' Reef, so I hope that doesn't cause too much confusion for those trying to find it. The link I gave above still works, despite the new name. :) If you're on FB, Susan's last name is pretty distinctive and you should be able to find/message her there if you have trouble.

Emily said...

@KDJames, I found the group through the link. Thank you!
P.S.: My name is actually Karla. I don't know why Blogger is calling me "Emily". I even logged out and logged back in again through my gmail account, and Blogger still insists on calling me "Emily".