QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How the QT Database is Kept Current

QueryTracker is proud to be the most up-to-date database of literary agents available anywhere. But, as anyone querying agents will know, things are always changing. Agents are constantly opening and closing to queries and changing their query preferences or genres of interest. Trying to keep up with the 1,400 agents listed on QT is a daunting task. So how do we ensure our information is current?

QT uses two highly effective methods to stay on top of the agent data:

  1. User feedback: We encourage QT members to let us know whenever they find information about an agent or agency that does not match what we show. Upon receiving a notification, we will first confirm the information and then, if necessary, update the agent's profile accordingly. This gives us an army of 100,000 authors, scouring the web looking for changes.

    To notify QT of changes found, members can use either the Contact Us page on the site, or post the information in the comment section for the particular agent.

  2. The QT Crawler: QT has created an advanced automated crawler, much like the program used by Google and other search engines to index websites. QT's crawler is a program which visits all the known agency websites, looking for any changes from the last time the crawler was there. When changes are found, the program highlights the change and then notifies us of what it found. Each site is visited twice per day, so when an agent changes anything on their website, we know about it almost instantly.
Other online databases depend on the actual agents to sign into their websites and make the changes themselves. Though we happily receive information from agents when they want a change to their profiles, we don't rely on this. We don't think this is the agent's job—they're too busy to do it and shouldn't have to. Using QT's two-pronged system, all they have to worry about is their own website; we'll take it from there.

So it is through use of advanced technology and a large and involved membership that QueryTracker maintains its role as the most trusted database of literary agents.

Patrick McDonald is the founder and creator of QueryTracker. Though maintaining QueryTracker keeps him too busy to write anymore, back when he did he tended to write in many different genres. Not because he was eclectic, but because he was still trying to find his niche. Though he never discovered his genre of choice, he did find his home at QueryTracker, a place where he could spend time in his two favorite worlds: writing and programming.

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