Friday, 17 July 2015

How to stay organized while querying

I'm not going to pretend that I know the secret to writing that perfect query letter to land the agent of your dreams (where after you land said agent rainbows and puppies and gold coins fall from the sky). And while I don't know the million dollar secret, there are plenty of people who do and have set up shop on the Internet somewhere. Feel free to go search for them if that's what you're after. 

I do know, however, how to start and stay organized during the querying process. It's a lot easier to focus on stuff like writing the perfect query letter when you're organized, after all. 

After you've edited your query letter and synopsis to perfection (to the point where it's so shiny that it blinds people), it's time to start querying. Here's how you go about that (in a nice and neat list, because I love lists). 

1) Get yourself a notebook. If you are addicted to notebooks like I am, this shouldn't be a problem. Preferably, find one that's empty. Or, if you're more of a computer person, open up a new document. 


I have an addiction to notebooks, but
it comes in handy sometimes. From here

2) Go to your bookshelf. Grab books that are like your novel in terms of genre and target audience and flip to the acknowledgments. The author will usually mention their agent. Write down that name (leave space below it if you're writing in a notebook). Repeat until you have five or more agents. 

3) Research said agents. The Internet is a great resource. Google them and write down any information you need (this is why you left a space under their name). This information includes their website, email, how long it takes to get a reply, what to include in your email and what they represent. 

4) Submit my jabberwockies, submit! Go and submit to your first couple of agents. Near the back of your notebook/document, start a new page with the name of your manuscript at the top. Underneath, write down the name of the agent you submitted to, the date you submitted and how long it should take them to reply. Leave some space for another column for their reply. This way, you can see at a glance exactly what's going on and who you've submitted to. 

5) Find more agents. Once again, the Internet is a wonderful place. I personally use Agent Query, or you can continue to search through your books. Keep writing down their information as you go, as well as keeping track of who you submitted to when.

Why would you bother with the writing down of contact info, you ask? After all, you usually only submit to an agent once about a project, why keep track of stuff? 

Well, by the time you've submitted to a few agents, you have a database of agents and their contact info. Now, you don't have to search books and the Internet again for any future projects. You have just saved yourself a lot of time, and, hopefully, you can find yourself an agent for your manuscript.

2 comments:

  1. I don't plan on querying any time soon, but this will be a good reference for me then. Thanks for the ideas!

    ReplyDelete

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