Monday, May 16, 2011

My Query Method

When I'm bored I like to take on a research project and pursue it all over the Internet. Sometimes I'll say I want a rose bush. So I spend all day looking at rose bushes, figuring out what is the best kind for my yard, learning all about them and how to prune them and whatnot. So in one day's time I suddenly went from knowing nothing about roses to knowing all kinds of great things and sounding like someone who knows things. Then the next day I'm on to something else. Lock picking or thai chi or dog training. I like learning, but I have a short attention span.

This is why my students think I know everything, because it's really easy to trick kids into thinking you're an expert on something you read two articles about.

Except calculus. They're well aware of my calculus deficiencies.

Anyhow, I took this energy for short-term research projects and put it toward querying. I go to IMDB pro and look up each company that interests me, scroll through each rep's client list, looking for writers who make material similar to mine. Then I go to Tracking Board and look up those reps, searching for what kind of deals they've made lately. Any who look like they might take a shine to my material I put on my list. I go to Done Deal and search for them to see what kind of reputation they have among other writers. If they pass inspection, I query.

I think it's important not to query the entire town, because why query people you wouldn't want to work with? Having the right manager is more important than having any manager at all, and having the wrong one can actually hurt you. I only query those I'd be happy to work with if they liked my material.

So once I have a rep in mind, I find their email, shoot them the query, and mark the date in my Word file. If they respond positively I highlight their entry in yellow and list the date I sent the script. If they respond negatively I highlight it in red and add a note about exactly why they weren't interested. Most places, of course, don't respond, so I just leave them as they are.

After a few weeks, I follow the process all over again with a new group.

I also add to this list people who've requested my script because they know me through this blog or some other place, along with a note about how they know me and why they were interested.

So far including both groups I have 28 entries on my list, with five yellow entries and two red.

This is the first time I've been so methodical about it. In the past I was sort of random, taking the approach that anybody with an office is good enough, and not really keeping an organized record.

This way I feel a little more proactive. I also feel a lot more confident about my script this week than I did before, and I think one of these people will like what I have to offer. Nice Girls Don't Kill is my point of view, my story the way I want to tell it. It's the perfect showcase of my work, and the draft I have now is as good as I can make it. Of that I'm sure.

So now I wait. And in a few weeks, see who else I can find.


  1. You have a very positive attitude about it. Good luck.

  2. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Do you follow up a read request after 2 weeks? I've had good luck doing this. I know a lot of people say if you don't hear back, it's a pass. I'm proof that is not true.

  3. Thanks, Young.

    Anonymous, I've never heard of this actually working. I used to follow up but it never accomplished anything. How do you do it?

  4. Anonymous5:04 PM

    It's not just me, others in my writer's group have done it and have gotten repped, notes, films in development, etc.
    Wait two weeks from when you sent your script, then send email: "wondering if you had a chance to read ZOMBIE? We're really looking forward to your thoughts" (Plus, never had a negative reply)

  5. I've done that. Never got any reply. Perhaps I'll try again.

  6. cshel7:55 PM

    Good luck, Emily! Your enthusiasm is inspiring as I am about to start querying, too.

    Your cat pic for today looks exactly like one of mine.

  7. Say Anonymous, what do you do if you've sent a follow up and still haven't gotten a response? Do you send another a few weeks later or just let it go? I've just sent out a follow up and gotten back nada. Wondering whether to bother trying again.

  8. Hey Sean, I've found it runs about 50/50. The half that responds puts you in a nice position. If I don't get a reply, I move on--you don't want to stalk--but try same co. a few months later.

    Emily, I like your ultra targeted approach. You're right, some of these folks you don't want repping you.
    (I'm the "anonymous", I just signed in)

  9. Thanks, Jim. Appreciate it.


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