Sunday, August 21, 2011

100 sites for fiction writers: #44 - Query Shark

This is an ongoing series looking at websites that can be of help to fiction writers with their craft and career.

Query Shark

To those who might not know, a query is a letter or e-mail from a writer to an editor, publisher or literary agent in which the writer is asking if the other might be interested in a particular piece of work the writer either has completed or is considering writing. That's the basics. Sometimes query letters are sent to other people than editors, publishers and agents, and sometimes such letters have a slightly different intent behind them.

Writers seeking professional publication often face having to write a query letter, and most writers hate it.

Why? Well, each writer is different, but many do not feel comfortable begging for another to consider their work, which is kind of what a query letter does.

Still, to be a writer, query letters will have to be written and sent off from time to time. Sometimes a lot of query letters.

To that end, the website Query Shark can be a writer's best friend.

Query Shark is a blog that focuses on how to write query letters. The main way it does this is by receiving query letters for fiction writing from the site's readers, then critiquing those query letters publicly on the site. This can be embarrassing, of course, for the writers of the query letters, but names are not used, and besides, the education provided is important. The critiques of the queries can become quite extensive, so there is a lot here for writers to learn.

Not all letters sent to the site are published and critiqued, so don't feel bad if you send something at it doesn't appear online. The author of the site writes that she specifically looks for query letters that bring up problems or situations which have not already been covered on the blog.

And speaking of the site's author, who does it happen to be? None other than literary agent Janet Reid, someone to whom it wouldn't hurt to listen.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't done a query in some time. I definitely need to refresh my mind on the topic.