Track those submissions!

April 8th, 2008 • Kate

Yes, NASA has a pretty sweet system, but all you need as a writer is a simple tracking system. And yes, I firmly believe you NEED one. This is something you should have in place before you send out your first query. I don’t want to tell you how many queries I’ve received that rightly sound familiar — a quick check of my email archives, and I can see that not only did I already receive the query within the last three months, but I already responded.

Authors, spare yourself the embarrassment of an agent responding to say, “Sorry, my decision to decline hasn’t changed in the last month since you first sent me this query.”

You may already know about QueryTracker, but you don’t need anything even this complicated, really. Use Microsoft Excel, or Google documents to create a spreadsheet. Title it the name of your manuscript, and make columns for Agent/Editor Name, Company, Email or Address, Date Sent, Material Sent, Follow-Up, and Response. Add other columns as you see fit. Before you send an email or a letter in the mail, note all the pertinent information in your log. This way, you’ll see before you send anything if you’ve already tried that agent. When you get a response, note it, and if you’d like, any helpful comments you might have received.

I do the same thing for my submissions to editors of my authors’ manuscripts. I don’t want to make a fool of myself by bugging an editor for a reaction after they’ve already declined. Note everything you get as soon as you get it, and you’ll be glad you did.

In other news, I’m closing up shop around here for a brief vacation. I’m going to try to set it up that some “Ask Daphne” posts will go up while I’m gone, so feel free to hang around, comment, and send me emails. I’ll get back to them next week.

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10 Responses to “Track those submissions!”

  1. Nadine Says:

    In a previous post, you mentioned you were trying to get to all of your queries before the 8th. If we sent you a query in the beginning of March and haven't heard back, should we assume it got lost and resend?

  2. Trish Says:

    I kept a spreadsheet when I was querying and it was incredibly helpful. In addition to making sure I didn't query the same agent twice, I used it to keep track of response times and which agents I needed to inform when I made the decision to accept representation from Daphne Unfeasible 😉

  3. beth Says:

    I have the same question as Nadine…although I think my query was late February. I'll have to check my spreadsheet 😉

  4. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    For me tracking queries is second nature. Yet what makes it challenging is if there is no response. How to know that the query didn't get stuck in the spam filter?
    I sent a query in February and a follow up early last week. Then a note to simply verify that my emails are going through. Nothing yet.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will check again in a week.
    –Chiron
    http://chironokeefe.blogspot.com/

  5. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    For me tracking queries is second nature. Yet what makes it challenging is if there is no response. How to know that the query didn't get stuck in the spam filter?
    I sent a query in February and a follow up early last week. Then a note to simply verify that my emails are going through. Nothing yet.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will check again in a week.
    –Chiron
    http://chironokeefe.blogspot.com/

  6. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    For me tracking queries is second nature. Yet what makes it challenging is if there is no response. How to know that the query didn't get stuck in the spam filter?
    I sent a query in February and a follow up early last week. Then a note to simply verify that my emails are going through. Nothing yet.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will check again in a week.
    –Chiron
    http://chironokeefe.blogspot.com/

  7. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    For me tracking queries is second nature. Yet what makes it challenging is if there is no response. How to know that the query didn't get stuck in the spam filter?
    I sent a query in February and a follow up early last week. Then a note to simply verify that my emails are going through. Nothing yet.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will check again in a week.
    –Chiron
    http://chironokeefe.blogspot.com/

  8. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    For me tracking queries is second nature. Yet what makes it challenging is if there is no response. How to know that the query didn't get stuck in the spam filter?
    I sent a query in February and a follow up early last week. Then a note to simply verify that my emails are going through. Nothing yet.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will check again in a week.
    –Chiron
    http://chironokeefe.blogspot.com/

  9. Joan L. Cannon Says:

    I've been doing this for 25+ years (not blogging, but submitting). Now that I can't afford to submit by snail mail unless there's something extra-hopeful about the particular agent and s/he won't accept e-mail. The worst problem is with those who don't have an automatic notice of receipt. Is it accepted practice to ask for a receipt on your e-mail message, or is it just another annoyance to toss you out without being read at all?

  10. Kate Says:

    JLC – I think it's more common practice to assume it is received, rather than that it isn't. Most email services only send notices when something is NOT delivered.
    As for my fellow agents who don't respond to emails, I'm sorry. I know I get a little overwhelmed here myself, but I try to respond to everything I receive. Some agents have had to give up that practice — or deliberately don't do so if the query is particularly inappropriate for their lists, unprofessional, or worse.