At the Writer’s Digest conference, you referenced creating a Query tracker. Would you have any suggestions for improving the spreadsheet?
– For example, my nudge dates are set to 4 weeks from submission – Is that too soon?
Not all agents have the same follow up timeline. I generally ask for 30 days on queries; others among my slacker colleagues have 'no response means no.' You want to keep track of that. It irks me to get a ping before 30 days cause I think I've made it pretty clear that's my time frame.
Also, from a structural point of view you generally read left to right if you're a native English speaker, so you want to organize your spread sheet with the most-needed information, or the most-often updated information in the far left column (Column A)
That will generally be the info on pinging/follow up or results.
Date sent is another key piece of info.
Unless you're querying more than one manuscript, your title is probably less crucial and can go farther to the right.
And oddly, you have 10 chapters (line six) listed for one submission. Is that a typo?
And you have ONE data box for the agent. I'd suggest at least two, if not three. One for first name, one for last name, one for agency. Agents change agencies and sometimes that means you can query them again OR you can query someone new at the agency. That's critical info to keep track of.
I'm a devotee of spread sheets for tracking information. I know some people aren't as devoted.
Whatever form you use should be easy enough that you WILL use it. Something too difficult or too cumbersome is just asking to be relegated to "I'll update when I get some time" and nothing is more useless than an outdated data base.