Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How do I LOVE "The Shark?" Let me count the ways...

The Shark. A.k.a. agent extraordinaire, Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary. She slices through the perilous waters of publishing and, if you aren't reading her blogs--Janet Reid, Literary Agent and Query Shark--you should be. They're mandatory.

I love her on a number of fronts, beyond the query advice. She represents amazing writers like Bill Cameron, Gary Corby, Sean Ferrell, and Patrick Lee. She runs frequent "100 word story contests." (In her latest, I got the accolade of Coffee. Nose. Keyboard. Yes these guys cracked me up. If I can't win, then I shall at least strive for funny.) She drinks Scotch and stalks Jack Reacher. And she ain't short of an opinion or twenty.

Now, those of you out there querying know that increasing numbers of agents are adopting a "no response means no" policy. For writers, it's a royal pain in the arse. I'd much rather have a polite "not for me" than have to wonder if the query ever reached its intended recipient.

Well, recently Janet put the record straight. Huge all round.

(The bad karma excuse is a doozie. Because of it, I've decided that if I want to be a more successful parent I'm just going to stop saying no to my kids. I mean, no is soooo negative. And the karma it brings with it is so hellish. So there, kids. Go fer broke! I'll be seeing you in Nirvana!)


  1. LOL. Janet is a bit like Simon Cowell (or however you spell his name): brutal, cruel, but honest to a fault, and essentially bad-ass all around. The truth may hurt sometimes, but it's always a gift compared to a lie.

  2. I totally agree with the Simon metaphor.
    I really hate the no response means no policy. It's like a slap in the face. What is the point of doing that to potential clients, or at least readers?
    Good for Janet.

  3. Have you considered instead of saying 'no', which has a finality to it, that you say something like 'I'll think about it' or just 'possibly'. That way you are likely to get favours done in return as they try to worm your way into your further affections and get that little window opened more.
    Of course the window was never open, in fact it was boarded shut, but you can do this for quite a period of time I have found, with managers and marketing people especially and they usually have the mind of an eight year old so it should work with your children.
    Of course, eventually they realise at at this point I have to find a new job. In your case you will need to find more gullible children.

    p.s. Don't try this on your wife.


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