QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, May 30, 2016

A New Frontier For Queries

As you probably know, QueryTracker is dedicated to improving the query process for authors, but that isn't always easy. A lot of the problems authors face are outside of our control, but maybe we can fix that.

Some of the biggest complaints I hear are about the long waits for queries, and the increasingly common reply of, "No reply means no." How many times have you sent a query and never received a reply? Did you wonder if the agent ever saw it? Maybe it got lost in the web? Or, worse yet, the agent did reply (requesting a full even) but you never got it.

But let's look at it from the agent's point of view. They're receiving hundreds of queries every week, and they've got plenty of other work to do besides read queries all day long. So, of course, they're seeking a faster way. Not answering is fast, but not ideal for either party. Of course, the authors don't like it, but it's a problem for the agents, too. As word gets around that they're non-responders, people are choosing to not query them, or maybe put off querying them. This means the agents might be missing out on the next big book. How many great queries went to a different agent because the author chose not to query a non-responder? We'll never know.

So what's the solution? Can both sides be made happy?

I think so.

We at QueryTracker have been busy developing a new tool for agents and publishers that we hope can solve some of these problems. It's a system for receiving and quickly processing and responding to queries. We call it Query Manager.

Here's a short video introduction:


There have been services in the past that attempt to ease the query pain for one side or the other. The problem with these are they tend to relieve the pain for only one side, and they always charge either the agents, the authors, or both for the service. Query Manager is totally free to all parties, and focuses on lessening the pain for both sides of the query.

Other sites have tried things like "Display" or "Discovery" services. These are sites where authors upload their manuscripts and hope an agent will stumble upon it. These sites don't work because agents get plenty of queries and don't need to go looking for more. They also charge the authors for the service. If you run across a site like this, don't waste your money.

Another type of query site is the "gate-keeper" site. These sites say they'll pre-screen queries for agents, and only pass on the good ones. But how do they know what an agent will or won't like? And of course, someone has to pay them to do this.

Both these types of sites pop up all the time. Rarely do they last more than a few months.

QueryManager is neither of these.

Any and all feedback on this new site is appreciated, so please post your comments below.

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.


Robyn Campbell said...

Hey, Patrick, long time no see. Fabulous post. I'll tweet and FB it. I only trust QueryTracker (and agentquery for some things). The new tool looks great. Thanks for having our backs.

Patrick said...

Thank you, Robyn. I hope it get used.

Dee said...

What a great idea. Something that isn't clear from the tour - does it have the capacity for authors to update their query status? For instance, if an author gets an offer of rep from one agent, protocol is to let other agents know. (In my experience with plain email, the update often bumped my query back to the bottom of the pile - counter-productive!)

Patrick said...

Hi Dee,
Great question. Yes, that capability is included, as well as the ability to withdraw a query or a submission.

Catria Denise Petrey-Flynn said...

Excellent tool and fabulous contribution to the literary community. Kudos.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Querytracker as always been my favorite site for querying agents. It's a brilliant tool that just gets better and better!