If stressing over writing an effective query letter capable of promoting your manuscript out of the slush pile hasn't landed you on a therapy couch, submitting a query to the Query Shark just might.
When I first started reading Janet Reid's Query Shark blog, I was shocked at the bluntness of her comments to unknowing submitters. On one occasion found myself curled up on the couch in the fetal position while reading comments by her faithful followers. Imagine how the poor query author must have felt!
Well, after reading more of the Shark's blog I noticed a pattern. There's a darned good reason why she is so blunt and her followers harsh: The querys submitted and posted, for the most part, were dead awful. Yes, I said it, just dreadful. Now, I'm not one to criticize someone else's work, for all I know mine isn't much better, but there is absolutely no reason to submit a query without at least knowing proper form and etiquette. It's not rocket science, people. Read directions. Follow directions. It's that simple.
So to my faithful followers (Hi Rob!) I say this - for the love of all things pure and holy, research how to write a professional query letter before filling an e-mail full of fluff, drool and nonsense. Save Ms. Reid and those like her from hours of wasted time reading anything except for what your story is about. Read her blog, it's one of the best.