As I mentioned in my last post, I’m back in the query trenches. And that means I’m spending way too much time thinking about querying.
So let’s talk about one of my favorite QueryTracker tools: the Data Explorer!
What is the Data Explorer?
The Data Explorer shows every time a QueryTracker user has submitted a query to a specific agent. It shows you their anonymized data: the genre of the book, its approximate length, how it was submitted, when it was submitted, what their response was, and how long it took to get it. And a whole lot of people use QueryTracker. And that means that, while the Data Explorer doesn’t show you every query an agent is getting, you can still see how that agent has responded to hundreds of other queries–in real time!
First thing’s first: this is, unfortunately, a feature you can only use if you have a paid QueryTracker membership. And while it’s not a feature I’d necessarily get a paid membership for, it’s super useful once you’ve made the jump.
So, with that in mind, you can get to the Data Explorer from your Query list. First, add some agents to your query list. Query people, and log those queries! Add agents to your to-query list! I explained how to do some of this in my last post. Once you’ve done that:
- Go to “Queries” in the top navigation.
- You can choose what agents to show here–the agents you haven’t queried yet? The ones you have? Choose whatever you want to see under “Advanced Search Filters.”
- Click this button:
The thing that looks like a stack of pancakes? That’s the Data Explorer. (The arrow beneath it goes to the Query Timeline, which uses the same data as the Explorer. The Explorer is a spreadsheet and the timeline is a graphical, er, timeline.)
Both are cool, but we’re going to click on the pancakes.
What does the Data Explorer look like?
I can see every single submission that has been logged in QueryTracker. And this is useful data! If I were about to query this particular agent, I could glean a few details:
- She responds really quickly! Most of those rejections come in in under 20 days.
- She might in a few days if she wants to request materials. (But not always! Don’t give up hope, me!)
- She’s apparently been busy, because she hasn’t responded to any queries at all since May 8. (Again! Don’t give up hope!)
But you know what? I’ve already queried her! Here I am~
See that highlighted submission? That’s me. And that’s what makes this extra fun. I can now sign in to QueryTracker, check the explorer, and watch the people who submitted to her before me log their responses. And that means:
- I can (roughly) tell when she starts responding to queries again. (I took that screenshot last week, for example, and she still hasn’t responded to anyone. So we’re still waiting!)
- If she goes through her inbox in order (which isn’t a given), I can watch the people ahead of me log their responses.
- Based on that, I can roughly guess when she might respond to my query.
And if I triangulate that with her agency’s website, that says she tries to respond to all queries, and usually does so within 4 weeks, I can say… Errrr, I probably should anticipate an answer around early June. So I’ve still got several weeks to go.
So… yes. This can make you obsess a little.
The Data Explorer does have some limitations, though.
The biggest drawback to the Explorer is that it’s self-reported data from the people using QueryTracker. It has some limitations:
- People often forget to choose their book genre, leading to book submissions listed as “Not Specified.” That makes it harder to tell what an agent is requesting.
- QueryTracker tracks Middle Grade and Young Adult books as their own genre, and you can only categorize your book as one thing. I write YA fantasy, so I have to choose: YA or fantasy? And since everyone else has to choose, I have no idea what an agent is actually requesting. They’re requesting YA! But what genre?! They’re requesting fantasy! But is that adult or YA?! I have no idea!
- And, of course, people don’t always record their submissions right. People forget to report when they got a rejection. They forget to close out responses for “no response = no” agents. So sometimes you’ll see weird and likely inaccurate results.
So the data isn’t perfect. But it still gives you a general idea of what that agent’s doing.
This isn’t the only data you can get in QueryTracker, mind you.
If you want to get really number-crunchy, the Data Explorer isn’t actually the most useful tool in QueryTracker. There’s a whole other feature in QueryTracker called “Reports” that does stuff like, telling you an agent’s average response rate, or what genres they’re requesting, or whatever. But that’s a separate feature, and something I should talk about another day.
So, yeah. You don’t have to export the Data Explorer data into Excel and do your own number crunching (unless you really want to). But it’s fun for at-a-glance and real-time information.
In conclusion, this is an awesome way to obsess constantly over your queries.
Querying is slooooooooow. But if you have something like the Data Explorer, you can at least get a rough estimate for how long you might have to wait. Watch the responses to other people trickle in! Watch your submission slowwwwwwly creep down the queue! It’s still going to be a multi-month wait, but at least you know where you are in the queue. Kind of. Maybe. Sort of.
Or you can just be obsessive. That’s fun, too.