Rachel Kent from Books & Such Literary Agency wrote a great blog post on keeping track of queries, which gives a literary agency perspective. Check out the post here.
Rachel makes a couple of particularly good points:
- If you’re consistently receiving the same feedback on a query, proposal or manuscript, and you’ve kept track of it, you’ll easily notice the pattern of rejections and make a change.
- Keeping track of query submission dates is becoming increasingly important because more and more houses and agencies are not sending rejection replies.
- If you don’t hear from the agency or publishing house within 8 weeks or so, you should write to check on your proposal. Only do this for requested proposals and manuscripts and not for unsolicited query letters.
Never count on being able to find an email again. Emails are known to get lost–computers crash, things are accidentally deleted or can be forgotten. Keep files with important emails and information.
I'll also add this:
The general view seems to be that you should only query an agent once per manuscript where a partial or a full manuscript was requested, unless a period of time (eg 6 months) has gone by and the manuscript has been significantly revised. I'll be writing a post on this issue at a later date. The thing is, you don't want to embarrass yourself by querying an agent if you've already queried and then re-queried. Also, some agencies have a "no from one agent is a no from the agency as a whole" policy. So it's really important to keep track of when the query was sent, which agent you queried, whether you can query other agents at a particular agency, and whether you've re-queried a particular agent (and the date of that re-query).
Also consider keeping a record of the particular draft of your manuscript that you submitted, so you can track this at a later date.
Definitely something to think about...
Do you have a query database? How do you keep track of your queries? Do you rely on your email history for your data?