A Final “Best Of” Look Back

April 10th, 2009 • Kate

bestofOne last post for this week of looking back into the archives, and this is a GOOD one. An important one, actually. Something I could repost almost every other month, practically. The gist of it? TRACK YOUR QUERIES!

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.

Thanks for hanging out with me on this stroll through the kt literary archives, and for sticking around for the past year or so! As of next week, we’ll leave the reruns in the archives where they belong, but I invite you to use the search function above, or browse by date over there to the right to see what other gems you can uncover in the forgotten mists of time.

And if you have a question for Daphne, send me an email or message me on Facebook!

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2 Responses to “A Final “Best Of” Look Back”

  1. Amy Says:

    I used a spreadsheet on Google Docs to track my querying (so no matter where I was, if I got a response/request I could log it). It was crazy color-coded with a billion columns, but I always knew where everything was.

    This is, honestly, perhaps the most organized I have ever been in my entire life.

  2. stina Says:

    I love Query Tracker. I abandoned my old spread sheet because of it. And the blog is fantastic.

    I have a question, Daphne, that someone else brought up on Absolute Writer but I had been wondering as well. If an agent rejects a partial or a full and gives you a reason why, and then you not only fix that problem (with the intent of moving on), but also several other issues the agent didn't mention but their existence seriously weakened the writing. Is it okay to send a note to the agent explaining the changes you made to the ms to see if they would still be interested?

    BTW. Love the new site.