Jan
22

Things I Learned AFTER I Hit "Send"
(Part Two: QueryTracker.net!!!!)

This is me being optimistic.

When I'm depressed about something, the "production" side of my personality goes into a coma and my "consumption" side takes over.  And by consumption and I don't just mean all the binge-eating of Tostitos chips and cheese dip (...did I mention the large bag of Sour Cream and Onion Rings?) I'm also talking about the binge-watching of Jessica Jones on Netflix and the lengthy bouts of lying in bed scrolling aimlessly through Google search results instead of actually sleeping.  

Thankfully for me, this state generally starts to wear off after a day or two.  However, during one of those late-night Google scroll sessions, I came across something that peaked my interest and pulled me instantly out of my query-fail induced funk: QueryTracker.net.

In a nutshell, QueryTracker is a tool used by authors to research agents and publishers and track the submissions they send out. The site maintains a database of over 1,400 agents and it actively crawls the websites of these agents twice a day to make sure that it has the most current information available in terms of who is open to queries, how to reach them, and what they're looking for.  

You can search by the name of a particular agency or the name of an individual agent. Or you can run a custom search for all agents in New York city, accepting Sci-Fi manuscripts via email or online forms. In fact, that particular set of parameters returned 79 agents.  [Note: the location-based filter is only available if you purchase a membership for $25/year.  Trust me: WORTH IT!]

QueryTracker Agent List

You can use the tool for free, but if you opt to purchase a membership (as I did) you gain access to richer search filters and (la pièce de résistence) the Timeline Tool - which sounds like something from Doctor Who so I love it even more.  

Here's a video that showcases the tool's usefulness (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he_X9shWwr4). Essentially the Timeline Tool tracks the queries that have been sent to a given agent (as self-reported by the users of this site), orders them chronologically and categorizes them by the types of replies that were received (if any) and when. If you've submitted to this agent then your particular submission will be highlighted in yellow. You use the tool to see how/when the agent replies to submissions (in batches or randomly, and what the normal turnaround is, etc).

QueryTracker Timeline Tool

In some cases, you might notice that the rejections are often quite quick but the replies that take longer often result in a request for a partial or full manuscript. Colored icons show how the initial submission was sent in (snail mail, email or online form), what type of response was received (closed no response, rejection, partial request, full request, or an offer of representation if you're lucky), and how long the author had to wait. Clicking on a particular submission's row gives you a pop-up with additional details (the dates related to each action, and the genre and length of the manuscript involved).  

The site also boasts other reports like the agent's average response time and the ratios of overall submission count vs the types of responses given in the end. Of note: Agent #1 that seemed so unbelievably open to working with new authors? (See my New Year's post here.) Well, over the course of the past year, he received 421 submissions (that were recorded in this site) and he only followed up with 2 of those authors. That's a response ratio of less than a half of a percent. That same ratio holds up when you run the same report for all of the 3186 submissions ever recorded in this system against this agent... 15 responses total (0.47%).

Suddenly, I didn't feel as bad about my poorly spaced submission and I set to work at researching all of the other 78 other potentially-fantastic NY agents that are open to sci-fi queries. Based on the stats on the site, some reply in about a month while others are closer to a 2-3 month turnaround time. So it looks like it will be more of the waiting game for me... but any game is more fun when there are a few more players on the field.

There are plenty of fish in the sea.[original image taken from http://bro0017.deviantart.com/art/There-are-plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea-375422143]

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three Responses to "Things I Learned AFTER I Hit "Send"
(Part Two: QueryTracker.net!!!!)"

  1. Eric Thomson
    Eric Thomson on 24-01-’16 11:51

    Interesting discussion you might want to peruse in your copious spare time

    http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,2..

  2. A. Lee Ripley
    A. Lee Ripley on 24-01-’16 18:27

    Thanks, Eric. :) That’s a really great discussion board… and following your lead in self-publishing on Amazon.ca is something I’m still strongly considering. Several valid points on that board on a loss of control and poor royalties. Lots to think about for sure.

  3. Eric Thomson
    Eric Thomson on 24-01-’16 19:22

    Anything I can do to help, let me know.

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