QueryTracker.net, a great tool for seeking out and querying agents, you may or may not have lived with it as intimately as I have recently. Working to promote my novel while an online feature is still current, QueryTracker and I have eaten together, listened to music together, and even once cuddled when I fell asleep in its glow. You can't have intimacy like that without learning a website’s strengths and its quirks. Here is what I have learned.
Tip 1: Always check the agent's website.
It's tempting to just query straight from the information in QueryTracker, but visiting their link is essential. It might seem obvious that you should check their submission guidelines, but be on the lookout also for:
• Other agents who may suit your query better, but who may not list on QueryTracker.;
• Personal preferences from your agent's bio that you use to word your letter; and,
• Whether or not your agent still really wants to represent your genre. They often change their minds after listing.Tip 2: Enable reminders.
I wish I'd learned this one much earlier. Beside each agent's name is a little "bell" symbol, like the one pictured. Once you learn how long they take to respond, and whether the agency allows you to re-query other agents after that, you can set a reminder to "ring" after the eight- or twelve- or sixteen-week mark. That will tell you when it's time to get your revised query off to another agent.
Near the bell, some agents have a yellow "word balloon" that you can click. This means that other authors have left comments about them: whether they are nice or nasty, quick or quicksand, but most importantly whether they tend to give feedback. For an author, even a few words of feedback from agents is a Holy Grail when querying, so if you can query them first, their comments might help you to improve your letter—maybe even your book—for later.
Pictured here is a drop-list of genres that will filter your lists to only the agents who represent that genre. What I didn't realize immediately is that I can copy the agent's name into the "search" box, then change the genre to my subgenre. For example, I might:
1. Put "Jane Smith" in the search, so only her name will be on the list.
2. Change the genre from "Young Adult" to "Mystery."
3. If Jane Smith's name still appears, then she is likely to represent Young Adult Mysteries.
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The Write Launch and Book Pipeline. Through short fiction, he's loved soap operas with Writer Advice; lived loudly in Gathering Storm Magazine; written in seven different voices for Women on Writing; and protected other worlds in Stringybark Stories. His novella is set to be published this June, and his YA Mystery, Too Much Information, is a semi-finalist in the Book Pipeline Competition for media development. See more scribblings on his blog, Words from K. Alan. 'Gram, Tweet or Tumble him @KAlanAuthor.
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