QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why is Query Tracker FREE?

Query Tracker is free because it needs to be free.

Besides tracking the status of your query letter, Query Tracker also collects data about each query and provides statistics on a per agent basis. For these statistics to be as valuable as possible there must be a lot of data, which requires a lot of users, and free means more users.

Query Tracker is also free because there are countless scammers and crooks out there trying to rip off writers, and I did not want for a second to be confused with one of them. The best way to do that was to offer Query Tracker for free and put to rest permanently the question of money.

Of course, maintaining a website like Query Tracker is not free for me, that’s why I had to place advertisements on the site and I included a donations button.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why I Created QueryTracker

As a struggling author, I knew there would be plenty of obstacles to overcome before I could achieve the dream of publication. But I quickly discovered the hardest part was not writing a book. The hardest part is to find a literary agent to represent your book.

Sure, there are websites that try to help. There are those which offer lists of literary agents, but finding the agent's name was just the beginning. Of course I had to write the query letter, but a major problem turned out to be how to keep track of all those query letters. Who did I already query? Which literary agents looked promising, and which were just not suited for my work.

I was faced with the same problems every time I sent out a new batch of query letters. Sure I kept a list of which agent I already queried, but, as that list grew, it became harder and harder to keep track. I found myself reading profiles for literary agents I had already determined were not suitable, or spending time on an agent just to realize that I had already queried her once before.

I thought how nice it would be if I could just check a box beside the agent's name and forever mark her as queried. I could even go back after receiving that all-too-common rejection and, by checking another box, record that, too.

While I’m at it, why not make the website insert the literary agent’s name and address right into my query letter for quicker and easier printing. After all, I’ve got real writing to do, I don’t need to waste my time typing in addresses. And don’t even get me started on self addressed envelopes.

And then the real power of this website hit me. With all this information, and with enough users on the site and contributing, we could take a lot of the guess work out of query writing. What if you could see samples of the last ten queries which a given literary agent had read and liked? What if every user posted his or her query letters, then linked them to the agent where they were sent and indicated what response, if any, the letter received? With this information it would be possible to see the types of queries the agent liked, and either modify your letter accordingly, or move on to a different agent who has shown interest in work like yours. Now, I felt I was on to something. I hadn’t been this excited since the first time I wrote, “The End.”

So, I took this wishlist and I created QueryTracker.net, and now, although publication still eludes me, at least the query process has become much more organized and therefore faster and easier.