Now that the final draft of my novel is complete, it’s time to start pitching! This is no easy task as finding the right agent is a lot like trying to buy the perfect pair of jeans – there is only one that will fit perfectly.

Over the last few months, I’ve compiled a list of possible agencies and agents that might be interested in representing my work. Even with a small list, there is a lot to keep track of in terms of submission requirements and information about specific agents. To stay organized, I created a spreadsheet that lists everything I need to remember before, during, and after my query letter is out of the gate.

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The first column is pretty basic with the agency name, but I get a little more detailed in the second column. This is where I list a specific agent within the agency along with a contact e-mail. In addition, I included quoted material from his or her profile that reminds me why I think he or she might be interested in my novel. I figure I can use this information to personalize my query letter to that particular agent.

The third column includes submission data such as requirements specific to the agent/agency and any actions I have taken. Not only does this save me the time of having to constantly revisit agency websites, but it ensures I avoid making the monumental mistake of sending my query letter more than once to the same agent.

The last column is where I record my current status with a given agent/agency. I suspect I’ll be adding the word “rejected” throughout this column, but the optimist in me knows I only need one box to read “full manuscript request.”

My system might be tad over-organized, but that’s how I roll. Once things start happening, I’m sure I’ll add a color-coding component in the Status column!

Luck has a lot to do with landing an agent, but a little organization can’t hurt, either!

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How do you stay organized in your writing life?

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c.b.w. 2013

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