Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are You Ready To Query?

Today I welcome Galen Kindley to Terry's Place. We 'met' on the blog circuit, and he's sharing some great advice based on his own experience with us today. (Please note, although Galen is discussion a resource that includes fee-based applications, I neither endorse it nor receive any compensation. Consider me a neutral party here.) Welcome, Galen.

Before I launch into the world of things Query Tracker, I’d like to thank my hostess, Terry, for graciously allowing me to post on her blog. Not everyone has such courage, and she’s to be greatly admired! Thanks, Terry.

So, you’ve written the great American novel. Congratulations. Now what? Oh, yes, you need to get it published. For that, you’re very likely gonna need an agent. This isn’t always true, of course; I’m published, but have no agent. Still, if you want to launch your writing career and get your work before larger publishers, an agent will be key.

Finding an agent, however, isn’t as easy as finding a lawyer or Dentist. Sadly, they pick you. But, before they can pick you, they have to know about you. That’s where your query plays a role--and where a very cool web tool can help.

Keep Reading...

You should consider, and I wholeheartedly recommend, joining the web site, Query Tracker. Query tracker is a 2008 and 2009 winner of the Writer’s Digest, 101 Best Web Sites for Writers award. Joining is free and opens the door to its regular features. Its premium features cost only $26 per YEAR. In my view, that’s a bargain at twice that price. For the curious, this link opens to the page that compares premium features with the regular or free features.
But, maybe you’re a skeptic. Before you join anything, free or not, you want to know what you’re gonna get. So, very reasonably you ask: “What makes Query Tracker so great?” Good question, thank you for asking. Here are a few things it can do for you…

• Provides key data (contact information, genre, web site) for 1276 agents and 127 Publishers. That’s right, no Googling for agents or buying books that are out of date before printed. That alone is worth $26 bucks.

• Allows you to search for agents by genre and other essential qualities--name, location, agency, etc.

• Allows you to save, sort, organize, and prioritize your specific list of agents. Note, please, you can construct a unique list for each book you’re working on.

• Provides a database of comments about agents from folks who have queried the agent…learn from what they encountered with their query. You can also use this feature to ask other members questions about specific agents.

• Provides a deep database of statistics for you to see exactly what your target agent has requested in terms of manuscripts, when, how long it took him or her to respond, and other interesting items to help determine if this is an agent with whom you might connect.

• Provides a spot for you to record who you queried, when, and a copy of what you wrote.

• Track (as the web site name implies) each query you send and store a copy of that query with the info for that specific agent.

• Record the results of your query.

• Join the forums for advice, counsel, and lots of crying on sympathetic shoulders.

• Post your query for advice and feedback from authors in the query forum.

• And, as they say on the Ginzu Knife commercials, much, much more.

This link opens the Query Tracker list of videos that explain in greater detail how the system works, what you can do with it, and what it can do for you. Query Tracker…at a minimum, it will help you bring order out of a chaotic process and provide a sense of structure to what can be a debilitating experience.

Galen Kindley blogs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Imagineering Fiction. Finding his book, Betrayal, a home is how he became familiar with Query Tracker.

15 comments:

Debra St. John said...

A query is oh so important to get out there, since it brings your work to the attention of editors and agents. This sounds like a helpful resource.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hi, Debra--Yep, by your query are ye known...or successful. Querying can be an overwhelming exercise. This site is helpful. Galen.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Galen and Terry. Good timing on this one for me, since I should be spending a lot of time on queries this summer. I've bookmarked the video page and will check it out.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

This sounds like it can be a really helpful resource, Galen! I'm tweeting this one...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hi, Patricia, I'm pleased this is something you might be able to use. Thanks for stopping by.

Elizabeth, Tweets from you reverberate around the world, such is your reach and Twitter power! Thanks.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I write the worse queries in all the land! I have been told this *laughing* - it is a wonder my publishers asked to see the first ms - my only saving was help from Alexandra Sokoloff, who was teaching a class at the P2P conference in New Orleans. She laughed at my query, shaking her head - I wasn't insulted- shoot, I knew how bad it was!

I think writers tend to either over-think or under-think their queries! how's that for being vague! *smiling*

Galen Kindley--Author said...

You know, Kathryn, I believe you're right about over and under-thinking a query...I've done both. Query Tracker has a forum dedicated to query improvement. You post your query. The other members review and comment. Surprisingly, the comments are civil and helpful. Best, Galen.

Terry Stonecrop said...

It looks as if it might be helpful, when I'm ready to query.

Terry Odell said...

Galen - the "best" way to deal with the query process, IMHO, is to try to avoid it altogether by hooking up with agents and/or editors at conferences. They will almost always be polite enough to request pages, and then you can send them the materials with a "Thanks for asking to see my stuff when we met at XXX." I like those kinds of queries best.

And yes to Elizabeth's Twitter Power. My tweets do very little, but hers rock.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Terry S--Yeah, what the heck. Give it a try, it can't hurt.

Terry O--I think you're right. Conferences are the best solution. However, conferences are always an option for everyone.

Jemi Fraser said...

I like the Query Tracker site, but I haven't explored it much yet. Looking forward to seeing all the goodies it contains :)

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hi, Jemi--and it does contain lots and lots of goodies! I just scratched the surface here. Galen.

Sheila Deeth said...

Great to learn more about QUerytracker. Thanks. I joined it a while ago and then kind of lost track... Thanks for inspiring me to go back.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Good for you, Shelia. I'm sure a renewed effort will earn you success. Keep at it. Galen.

Patrick said...

Thank you Galen and Terry for the very nice article about QueryTracker.