Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday - Tracking Queries

I had a brainwave this morning.  How many writers out there have a proficient way to track their queries?  Do you know how to use excel?  Do you pay for one of those tracking services?

I'm really curious.  For my day job I do accounting type things, so I use excel every single day.  It was a natural choice to turn to for my tracking spreadsheet.  But what do other writers use?

For today, I give you -- my spreadsheet, and the basic tools to create your own.

And here's a quick rundown of how to make this jewel:

The title -- merge the cells together using the little a symbol with arrows on either side.  Highlight the cells you want to merge and click it.  Bold and increase your font.

Column titles -- these work for me, you may want more or different ones.  I just made them bold

Body -- fill in all your vital info.  I like to have everything I need to query right there in one place.  Email address, agent name, guidelines -- you won't have to go re-hunting if you have a spreadsheet like this.  One thing I do on the submission guidelines column is wrap the text.  Highlight the cells and click "format" then "cells".  Then click "alignment" and there's a little box at the bottom that says "wrap text".  This way your spreadsheet doesn't wind up 50 pages wide.

That's basically it!  You can get fancy with the borders and colors if you want, but with this you'll never query an agent twice, and will always know what is outstanding.

Helpful?  If you have more questions about excel, don't hesitate to ask.


Pam Harris said...

Wow, this is great! Thanks for the tips. I use Excel to keep track of all of my queries, but it's nowhere near as advanced as yours. :)

Jessica Bell said...

I don't track anything like that. In gmail, I have all my submissions labelled. So I just click the label in the sidebar of my gmail and all my submission are listed in front of me, with the date I sent the email and the title of the work in the subject line. Easiest way to keep track for me. When something gets rejected. I delete it from my email :o)

Holly Dodson said...

Jessica, I track it in my email too with the gmail labels. This is more my place to compile information and an easy reference to make sure I never re-query someone that has already seen my project.

Pam, hope it helps! I <3 Excel.

Abby Stevens said...

Looks like a great way to do it to me! When I query, I plan to do something similar!

Alicia Gregoire said...

OMG. I use Excel every day during the 9-5 gig, so I hate when I have to use it after that. I've been tracking queries through querytracker.com and I also downloaded an app called Sonar.

LTM said...

I did this til I found Query Tracker... are you guys not using that? See Alicia's comment for web address--it's so awesome b/c it also has access to info on response times, etc.

Best part: It's free! :o)

Christ is Write. said...

Great idea! I've had to use excel for school before, and it was really difficult getting used to the program. Thanks for the tips. =)


Claire Dawn said...

I'm not at submission stage yet, but I think this is a fab idea.

KO said...

I totally geek out on excel. I use gmail labeling and also querytracker for info (I don't register my queries with them, I don't know why), but I LOVE having my own excel sheet.

I like how you can reorder them-- by when you submitted, by who your top choices are, by when they responded, etc.