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October 15, 2018

Organization Tip: Agent Lists #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


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Submitting to agents and publishers is time-consuming. When you’re doing this process, you need to be organized. You don’t want to send to the same publisher twice in one month or send to multiple agents in the same agency. (Many say if it’s a no from one agent, it’s a no from all.) And most agents want the right to say yes or no before you give it to another agent in their house.

Something to keep you orderly during this process is a simple notebook or binder with loose leaf paper and dividers.

Create a list of agents you want to send to. Include the agent's name, the agency’s name, the submission email address, and what is required for the submission (query, # of manuscript pages, synopsis, etc.).

Whenever you submit to an agent, cross that agent off your Submit To list and move the agent’s name and agency to your Submitted list. Next to their name, write the date you sent the query letter. I do this in red.

If I receive a rejection, I write “REJECTED” in bold letters cross the agent’s info on the Submitted list.

I also have lists of small publishers to try.

That’s it. Just lists of info to remind you of where you submitted, when, and who responded.

I keep this notebook on my desk at all times. Whenever I look for more agents to send to, I add them to my Submit To list. And when I get into a submitting kick, I have this notebook opened to keep track of my efforts.

TIP: If you're tech-savvy and love spreadsheets, you can create Submit To, Submitted, and Rejected spreadsheets to stay organized on your submission journey.


QUESTION: How do you keep track of your submissions?


64 comments:

Jeff said...

I never have so many submissions out at a time that I lose track of them—thankfully most of what I write for publication ends up published and seldom have I had to shop articles around.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When I was submitting, I just kept a list in a notebook. I know there are a couple sites when one can keep track of submissions.

Carrie-Anne said...

When I was pursuing traditional publication, I had a document with a list of names and their agencies, maybe what they were looking for.

nashvillecats2 said...

The four books of poetry I wrote I only submitted the once but you gave some very useful tips Chrys,

Yvonne.

The Cynical Sailor said...

I've never gone down the submission route, but I can imagine how important it is to be organized during the process.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - it's essential to be organised ... you sound very efficient - and this is a good reminder ... cheers Hilary

Lisa said...

As I read your post I thought, an excel spreadsheet would be so easy to keep up with, then you mention it at the end! Yep, that's what I'd do, or will, if I ever start submitting again...

Juneta key said...

Great tips, bookmarked.

Cynthia said...

I haven't submitted to agents yet. But for interactions I've had with people in the children's book industry, I have kept a spreadsheet with general notes so I can track the gists of my interactions with people.

MELODY JACOB said...

Thank you for sharing

New post: https://www.melodyjacob.com/2018/10/how-to-wear-oversized-or-boyfriend.html

Pat Hatt said...

Great way to do it indeed. An excel spreadsheet works wonders.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips. I'll keep this in mind if I ever have something to query.

Botanist said...

Back in the days when I tried the query treadmill I did something similar. My list included the points you mentioned (contact info, submission requirements etc.) but also any notes about genres represented (often surprisingly hard to determine, and often not conclusive) and recommendations/warnings from sites like PredEd. That helped prioritize the submission process.

Liz A. said...

That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to keep it in mind if I ever get around to submitting.

Raimey Gallant said...

I'm a big fan of spreadsheets. This said, even Excel has its limitations given what I'd actually like to accomplish with it. Great post, Chrys!

emaginette said...

I use spreadsheets much like your notebook method and I've incorporated Query Tracker as well. So far I'm organized and need to do another round of submissions. The plan of starting something new has really help me handle the list of growing rejections. ;-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

D.E. Haggerty said...

I'm not submitting to agents, but this tip can be used for lots of things we writers need to keep track of: review requests, guest blogging, etc.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Great tips. I like to use an Excel Spreadsheet for all lists I have to keep regarding submissions (guest blogs, review requests, interviews, competitions, etc.). I think I'm getting the hand of that particular program -- it's less messy than a binder or notebook that may or may not have been torn to shreds by a mischievous puppy.

Ronel visiting on Author Toolbox blog hop day: Running Your Author Empire

Jacqui Murray said...

I keep it all in a spreadsheet--with everything I need to know. I think that's more trouble than it's worth except that since I always write in one genre, I can send my next novel to the list and it's easy to do.

Loni Townsend said...

Sounds like a good organization strategy.

Unknown said...

I also use a table or spreadsheet, including the date I initially sent the submission, the date I last contacted them (if it's different), and the date when I would next contact them (or move on). I often find that different agents/publishers have different guidelines about how long it may take them to respond, and I find it very helpful to have an easy "if today is this date, time to reach out. If not, keep waiting" component to the whole process, so that I can conduct a quick check and then move on to something more productive.

Iola said...

More great tips from the Queen of Organization! I haven't submitted to agents, but I'll remember this in case someone asks me for advice.

Anne said...

This is great advice! I'll definitely be pinning a list to my wall to keep myself on track!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm too scared to submit anything to anyone but if I had that kind of courage, I'd use Excel. I love spreadsheets! My Christmas list is on a spreadsheet :) Always great advice, Chrys.

Elsie

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I wish I could say I have so many submissions, Chrys. But I don't. I write them down as you do. Thanks for sharing these tips. They are greatly appreciated. Hope all is well.

http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

I'm a spreadsheet user. I like to keep track of who, when and what I sent. I submitted a short story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. So much time went by that I forgot I had submitted. Then one day I received an email that they'd like to buy my story. I almost deleted it as spam. That was the moment I knew I had better keep track of what I was submitting. I guess I didn't expect them to buy my story, so I put it out of my mind.

Chrys Fey said...

That's good. I tend to forget where I sent a single project since there are many agents out there.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, Query Tracker is one of those sites. Some agents do use those sites, so you can log in to see the status of your submission.

Chrys Fey said...

A document on the computer would be a great idea. It's environmentally-friendly, but not as complex as a spreadsheet, which I struggle with. I may use this technique. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

Always go to know to whom you send a submission and when to keep track of how long you've been waiting for a reply. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Glad to give a gentle reminder. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I struggle with Excel, but I know many people love spreadsheets. And I do like how it's a paper-free option. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Juneta!

Chrys Fey said...

That's very smart!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for commenting, Melody.

Chrys Fey said...

I struggle with Excel. lol

Chrys Fey said...

That's great!

Chrys Fey said...

I usually put the genre as a header and list the agents/publishers under it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I wish you luck when you do. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I wish I was a fan of spreadsheets, but I can't get the hang of them. I have one and fail to update it when I should.

Chrys Fey said...

I need to do another round of submissions, too. Good luck with yours!

Chrys Fey said...

Absolutely! I make lists for all kinds of things. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Writing in the same genre and needing only one list really does make things easier.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Loni!

Chrys Fey said...

Oh, yes, all publishers/agents are different. Some work faster and all timelines vary.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm hardly the Queen of Organization. More like a Duchess. lol But this is my last organization post.

Chrys Fey said...

That's great. Good luck!

Chrys Fey said...

That's wonderful that you love spreadsheets. I've never gotten the hang of them.

Chrys Fey said...

Right now, I only have one project I am submitting. Writing all of this down helps me a lot. Especially so I don't send it to the same agent twice. lol

Chrys Fey said...

That was lucky! I've never had anything like that happen. lol

Chrys Fey said...

I can't get the hang of Excel. For my a binder or notebook is so much easier. Plus, I can get to the binder anytime, no turning on a computer in order to update something. lol

Patsy said...

"time consuming' and 'need to be organised' seems to apply to just about every aspect of writing!

Sherry Ellis said...

That's a good way to keep track of submissions. These days, I'm going more high-tech with keeping track of everything. I'm doing Excel spreadsheets.

Mark said...

Definitely time consuming, but a spreadsheet is a must just to keep track of it all. Sio long as you're moving forward and trying it's all good though:)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Some excellent tips here... Thanks Chrys! I'll have to try this when I start submitting my next novel.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have a journal I keep it all in. I have another journal where I keep track of sales. Another journal where I keep track of my blog schedule. Did I say I like journals. Oh, and another one I keep track of recipes I find on Pinterest that I want to try.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I made a list of the literary magazines I've submitted to, as well as the dates. I also made a list of the upcoming deadlines for short story contests and other literary magazines, and I put Post-Its with the deadlines above my desk in order to remind myself.

Chrys Fey said...

Indeed. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's great. I should go more high-tech to save paper, but I struggle with high-tech ways of organization like Excel. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Moving forward no matter what is important.

Chrys Fey said...

Hi, Michael! I hope it helps you. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Journals are awesome!

Chrys Fey said...

That's great. Using Post-its for reminders is smart.