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.