Updated: Jun 15
Ahhh querying. So much fun. I mean, who doesn't like spending hours upon hours sending out slightly different versions of the same letter over and over again only to get mostly radio silence, and occasionally a rejection letter? Here's the secret to making it a lot less stressful, and feel like you have a bit more control of the situation: treat it like a job, specifically a sales job.
After-all, what you're trying to do is solicit help from people you don't know with a product they aren't familiar with. After 13 years in sales and marketing, I recognize a sales cycle when I see one, and querying is a classic sales cycle. So, the first thing you need to do is identify a tool that will help you organize and systematize the process of sending out query letters.
Here are 3 good software platforms that can help you manage your querying process:
When researching this blog, I found surprisingly few platforms dedicated to the process of querying. There were some for agents to manage their query submissions, but of the few query tracking sites I found, the best was QueryTracker. The free version isn't exactly pretty, and it doesn't come with a ton of bells and whistles, but it does exactly what a querying author needs: helps them find agents to query, gather info about the agents, and keep track of the letters they've sent out. The paid version has a bit more to it (like advanced search), and is only $25/year, so you might as well take a look at that as well to see if there are features you want to pay for.
While Hubspot isn't specifically a query tracking software, the free version of the Hubspot CRM is a robust sales management tool that can actually get the job done quite well with just a few tweaks. For starters, Hubspot allows you to save up to 5 email templates, which means you won't have to keep copy and pasting all those different types of query letters. You can also attach your Hubspot account to your Gmail so that you can send tracked emails right from your inbox. It[s a little creepy, but you'll be able to see if an agent has opened your email, how many times, and if they clicked on anything. You can also set up follow-up tasks so you don't have to worry about remembering your timeline.
As long as we're staying in the Sales CRM world, might as well talk about Bitrix24, a robust sales and marketing platform that has the added bonus of being a great way for indie writers to reach out to agents and publishers. Like Hubspot, Bitrix24 has email tracking and templating, but it doesn't have a direct Gmail plug in. The base package is free for up to 1000 emails per month, and has most everything you'd need to organizing your queries.
So, how do you keep track of all of your queries? A spreadsheet? Google Doc? I'd love to hear how other writers are managing their querying. If you want daily tips like this delivered right to your inbox, sign up for a paid subscription to My Book Sucks. Subscriptions are just $4/mo, and subscriptions are the only way we support ourselves. So, help the fam out, and sign up today!