Notes from the trenches of managing queries. #1 in an intermittent series
I’m not an organized person. That would be my wonderful husband, with his spreadsheets, lists, and reminders. Me? I’ve got piles of papers, postits, notepads from writing workshops, stacks of seed packets (yes, I garden), lit mags (a rotating bunch but always The NewYorker), and 2 cups of favorite pens. Bravely, I’m posting a picture of my desk drawer which is neater than the desk.
Given my proclivities, I was dismayed when I started querying to find good information about writing the letter and synopsis, but almost nothing about managing the search and tracking. I needed nuts-and-bolts. But now, having queried a couple of novels (with no success so far – boo, hiss), I have honed a process that works great for me…
For my first novel, someone pointed me to AgentQuery.com and I thought I’d hit gold. I could search for agents by genre, which was pretty cool. And I could see books they’d represented. There were three problems: I had to keep track of my queries on a spreadsheet, EVERYONE represented literary fiction which is what I thought I was writing, and the books listed tended to be really old.
Plus, tracking was a nightmare. Perhaps it’s because I am mostly a pantser…a messy process, ideas flying, characters refusing to go where I intended…and then when I stop writing, I don’t morph into an organized business person. My tracking spreadsheet quickly got out of hand. I’d forget to move an agent from the “active” tab to the “CNR” (closed no response, a preponderance of “replies”). Once I managed to query three agents from the same agency in the course of a single week, despite having read on their website “Don’t do that.”
Then I found QueryTracker.
What a difference! I can search for agents, leave notes for myself about what they want, link to agency websites, and track where my queries are in the process. For me, it’s been a lifesaver. I feel organized, which is obviously not my normal mode. Some one of these times I’ll publish a list of hints, but meanwhile, I’m grateful someone has created an app for people like me: http://querytracket.net