I’ve already mentioned Query Tracker as one of the searchable databases available to authors seeking agents. Query Tracker is great: anyone can search for agents via genre(s) and various filter tools and find them at the click of a button.
Well, after signing up with Query Tracker (free) and exploring the site a bit last week I found even more information available. Whereas Agent Query gives you just a few bullet points about each agent, Query Tracker also makes available:
- Comments from fellow authors (many of whom have submitted to the agent in question). These often give an idea of an agent’s response time, among other things.
- Reports. This feature is AMAZING. Here, you select an item from a dropdown box—e.g., “Manuscript Word Count,” “Genre – Fiction,” or “Query Replies”—and you’re presented with a chart that breaks down the agent’s own track record into useful figures. Take me, for example, with my sci-fi thriller. I look at the “Genre – Fiction” breakdown for XYZ agent and I see that out of 45 “Thrillers/Suspense” novels submitted to her, she only showed interest in three.
- A quick note: in ANY genre, the ratio of negative responses to positive ones (books submitted to agent vs. books the agent expressed interest in) is sobering. It’s probably worth familiarizing yourself with those numbers at least once so you know, realistically, what your chances of breaking into the market are like. That said, don’t be discouraged: be in it to win it!
- Clients. Yes, a list of authors the agent has represented is typically something you can find on Google (and if you can’t, think twice about working with said agent!), but it’s nice that QT makes it readily accessible. Even better, it links the authors listed to Amazon pages so you can see specific books the agent has represented.
Of course, when you actually single out a handful of agents to submit to you’ll want to go more in-depth with your search: check out their websites, interviews they’ve done, the books and authors they’ve represented. But Query Tracker and its resources are a great place to start.