I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Top Tip - Keeping Track of Queries

I recently wrote a Top Tip post about Creating a Query Database. As I discussed in that post, there are so many things to take into account when you're going through the query process, and I've found it helps to be organized right from the start.

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.
Here's one piece of advice that I hadn't even thought of, and you may not have either:

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?


Tessa Quin said...

I don't like the "No from one means no from all." I think it was Kristin Nelson who said query them all anyway (not all at the same time). I think the Gatekeeper said so, too, which is why I'm not going to let that stop me.

But, not until I get my heavily rewritten manuscript written, revised, and critted ;)

Bast said...

I'll definitely be checking your post on creating a querying database. When I queried last year, I made a chart in my notebook, but it wasn't that detailed ... or even complete. I was new to all this. I'll be starting to query soon for my new book and I want to keep better track this time around.

Alison Pearce Stevens said...

Thanks, Rachael, this is great. I do have a database, albeit a very small one. And I'll be sure to start saving my emails!!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I plan to use QueryTracker when I'm at this point. You can find more info here:


Rachael Harrie said...

@Tessa, amen to that! I'll definitely check out those posts when I write that post, great to get another side of the coin...

@Quinn, best of luck with your querying. I'm about to start the process soon myself (rather exciting really!) :)

@Alison, you go girl!

@Sandra, thanks for the link. I did mention QueryTracker in my original post, but I forgot to mention it again here :( I use QueryTracker for research purposes, but decided a while ago I would keep my own database. Glutton for punishment I guess... ;)

Unknown said...

Good advice. Thanks for the reminder about e-mails disappearing! I often delete mine without even thinking about it, and then get myself into a huff when I can't find something later! (only to remember that it's actually my fault...)

Rachael Harrie said...

No worries Rachel. I should delete some of mine, but that's seriously at the bottom of my to do list at the moment... ;)

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