Alrighty then, here we go.
Let’s talk tools. Like any self respecting hunter, you need the right tools for the job. You need to know the preferences of your query quary. And you need to know the hunting ‘etiquette’. (Yes, that really is a thing.)
Querying generates a ton of information.
Last round, my efforts to control the information surrounding my queries were haphazard, at best.
– Who was I querying?
– What group or agency were they with, if any?
– When did I send that query out?
– What did my query letter say?
– When did I hear back? Did I?
– Did they mention that a nudge was ok?
And many, many more questions.
This time around I’m trying to be more organized. I’m hoping that will reap the result of fewer OMG moments. I have settled on two tools. One is a fee for service. The other tool is free.
The first tool I decided to invest in was Query Tracker. I did use it last time around, but I did not use it exclusively, nor did I use it consistently. Oops and oops.
This time I know the value of having one repository for all your notes and all your records. The number of times I went scrambling for a note last time around, oi. Query Tracker is free, but if you possibly can afford the 25$ per year you will be doing yourself a favor. A huge favor, IMO.
For 25$ what do you get beyond the free version?
– You can have more than one set of queries going. Useful little feature if you find yourself querying fiction and non-fiction at the same time. Or any two diverse projects.
– The reports. Last time around, I had no appreciation for the reports provided by Query Tracker. This time, I’m devouring them.
– Query Tracker is tied to the popular Query Manager, which many agents use. This allows you to follow where your query is in their queue. That’s handy. It keeps me from worry, and from hitting refresh every 3 minutes.
I will undoubtedly have more to say as I delve deeper into Query Tracker.
The other thing I did was I organized my research. Query Tracker is great for research, but there are other sources out there as well. And as I stated in the update for Oct. 15, 2022 –
There is no such thing as ‘too much research’ on agents.
Where to research?
– Publishers Marketplace (https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/)
– Manuscript Wish List (https://manuscriptwishlist.com/)
– Their website
– Agency websites
– And of course, Query Tracker
Other tools you COULD use –
– Airtable (free) – If, like me, you like the overkill of a database, go for it.
– A spreadsheet (pick your flavor) – Some folks like to divide their prospects up by turn-around time, or agency, or flavor of icecream. A spreadsheet can help you slice and dice your collected data. So far, I’m finding Query Tracker a great place to store notes and I copy the highlights into the Papaly notes. Easy.
The most important note I can leave you on is this.
Make it easy for yourself.
Overly complicated systems become a load of work in themselves. And, while we are down here in the trenches, you want to focus on finding that agent, or publisher. Don’t diffuse your efforts by creating a system that requires an investment of time to maintain.
Best of luck. And Happy Hunting.