I've been working on getting my Agent Tracker Spreadsheet updated so I'm strategically ready to send out queries for DAUGHTER OF THE MOON. I thought I'd share my process with you and ask the writers out there about your processes as well.
1) Create the spreadsheet template:
2) Find the agents to fill in the list. I've compiled my list based on information from The Agent Spotlight at Literary Rambles, checking my favorite author blogs/websites to see who represents them, using lists of agents who participate in blog and Twitter pitch contests like the ones on Miss Snark's First Victim (contests are a really great way to see what sort of material the agents are interested in), and Agent Query. Then, once I have my list, I check the Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Check Forum on Absolute Write to see what sort of information about the agents comes up. I try to fill up the list with at least 50 agents.
3) Now that I have my list, I check the official website for each agent and copy their submission guidelines, average response time, and what they are looking for into my spreadsheet. I also paste their website into the "Additional Info" column.
4) After this, I do some in depth research on each agent. I check to see if they have a blog, twitter account, or recent interviews. I use these resources to find the most up-to-date info on what the agent is looking for and what their personal tastes are. If I can find a list of their favorite books at the moment, and my manuscript is comparable in some way to one of those books, perfect! I'll mention this in the query. Any of this sort of information which will help me to personalize the query will go into the "additional info" column.
5) I send out queries in batches of 10. I have an idea of which agents are my "dream agents" and I don't include all of them in a single go. I like to stratify the batches accordingly and wait for feedback on the first batch (just in case my query is bombing out there) before I send out another. If I don't receive a single positive response, then I might tweak my query before I send out the next batch.
That's it! How does your process compare? Is there anything you would do differently?