Keeping a Writing Career On Track With Query Tracker

Written by A Guest Author

Karen McGeorge Sanders

Need an agent? Can’t remember which agents or publishers were queried for which project? Query Tracker may be the solution.

  Query Tracker (QT) is an online query tracking system that allows users to find agents and publishers in English speaking countries, list those they are querying, and track responses. It was started in 2007 by Patrick McDonald, a struggling author who operates QT. “After mistakenly querying the same agent twice, (or was it three times?), I started to search for a better way. I’m a programmer by day, so when I couldn’t find anything I liked, I decided to write one myself.”

     When a user queries an agent using QT, data is recorded including the agent’s name, manuscript genre, word count, and when it was sent. Responses are tracked by date and type. The data from the queries sent by the 180,000 QT members is used to create profiles on each of the approximately 1,660 agents listed, including number of queries received, their total and genre specific acceptance/rejection numbers and percent of total, response times, preferred book length, and other data.

      The vast majority of writers use the free service which provides a searchable database of agents and publishers, query tracking ability, and basic search filters. Some agents require that queries be submitted through the agent’s form on QT, so many authors find this as their program introduction. Due to the vast amounts of information collected and sorted by the database, QT has additional information that can be accessed by purchasing a $25 yearly premium subscription.

     A premium membership allows the writer greater access to data and advanced search filters. The user may have multiple project and query folders, filter their query lists, and keep a personal agent/publisher database. Data explorer lets members sort and filter the database query information, by genres, word count and query date. The agent query timeline shows where a submission is in the agent’s list. If the response is slow, the timeline will help show whether positive submissions are slower, the agent replies in batches, or the submission was missed. Other premium reports include agent feedback report, agent reply data, average user statistics, and submission reports. Agents with similar tastes can be used after a positive agent reply, to find other agents in the database who gave positive responses to authors of similar work. For information on premium membership benefits go here.

     Premium membership is best for those with several projects, or who work in multiple genres. Writers who query multiple agents or publishers for a project or who need more data for decisions also benefit. For example, the premium subscription’s multiple project ability allowed a query on a book project and rapid agent responses for this article.

     While the names Query Tracker and Query Manager are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not identical. Query Tracker is for writers, while Query Manager (QM), started in 2016, is for agents, and is becoming common. Agents using QM will have a form that authors complete and attach pages to, that gives the agent necessary information. These agent forms may vary, but expect to supply basic contact information, a biography, pitch, query letter, and a few pages. If the agent does not want to receive queries by QM, their listing will show how they prefer submissions. Agents that are temporarily closed to submissions are also listed.

     “In 20 years of BookEnds, I’ve never found an easier way to manage, track and receive queries,” says Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary president. “We worked with Patrick to design a form and system that works for us. I think the form helps because the author is required to fill out other information we want and that is sometimes forgotten–the title, word count, and information on previous publishing credits.”

     The agent list is long, comprehensive, and constantly updated. Conversely, the publishers list is not as complete. Many are closed to submissions and some are not listed.

     QT is always adding agents and publishers and trying to improve. McDonald says, “I’ve been considering crossover between QT and QM by having queries submitted via QM automatically logged into QT.”

     Query Tracker may be a writer’s answer to finding representation for their work, submitting it, and tracking the results.


Bio: Karen McGeorge Sanders has published over 150 articles, plus some short stories and poems. She is currently working on two STEM type picture books.

 

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