When I started querying, I realized I needed a way to track everyone I submitted to so that I wouldn’t make dumb mistakes like double-querying the same agent/publisher. I looked around for templates, but couldn’t find much. Query Tracker is an option, but it doesn’t have all the functionality I need. Specifically, it will only track agents who are registered with QT, and it doesn’t meet all of my data tracking needs. So I created my own little obsessive Excel spreadsheet. If you want to be more organized with your queries, this tool could help you. Also, since it’s a spreadsheet, you can customize it as appropriate to suit your needs.
It should be pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll take your through some of the features.
Here’s a general view of the tracker. For people who nerd out over spreadsheets, it has conditional formatting, dropdown menus, and a formula to calculate estimated agent response dates. (Note: Ugh, there’s a typo in column K, but ignore it.)
The first column has drop-downs with conditional formatting so you can easily see the status of your queries. “No” means the agent said they weren’t interested; “Pending” means you’re still waiting for a response from the agent; and “Requested” means the agent asked for additional pages (e.g., a full manuscript).
You will use the next dropdown list if an agent rejects you. You can track whether it was a form letter or something more personalized. If you use the “Query letter version” column, you can track which version of your query letter has been most successful. You can also add more details about the agent’s response or policies to the “Notes” column.
The “Expected Response Date” column is my favorite column (I know, I’m nerding out). I used a formula in column F that takes information from the “Average Query Time” column to come up with an estimated date the agent will respond. Many agencies will say on their website what their estimated turnaround time (e.g., 6-8 weeks). I take the largest number of that range and put it in column I. Then you’re left with the latest possible the agent will respond in column F. If an agent doesn’t specify what their query time is, I like to use 12 weeks as a default. If the agent doesn’t respond by that date, you can mark the query as a “No” and move on to the next agent.
The beauty of this feature is that you can “set it and forget it.” I don’t have to sit there waiting about the dreaded non-response because I have a concrete date so I know when it’s time to move on.
Finally, since it’s generally recommended that you only send out ten or so queries at a time, I’ve included an area where you can add agents you haven’t queried yet. As soon as you get a response from one, you can query the next agent from the “Next Up” area.
Everyone manages their queries differently, but maybe you’ll find this helpful. Good luck on your querying journey!