Monday, March 02, 2015

What Is The Convenience Worth To You

You could create your own spreadsheet to track your queries. That's how it was done ten years ago, before tech-savvy types created websites designed to track queries. Back then, the sites were free and all you had to do was tolerate the pop-up ads.

So you signed up and took advantage of the convenience. You did not have to set up the columns and insert the different boxes to have all the functions you wanted in your spreadsheet. It was there for you. Click on a link to the agent's name and there was everything you needed, from e-mail address to genre preference.

In time, the tech-savvy thought aspiring authors would want statistics to tell them that they were not alone in their quest, that others were doing the same thing, and here are their results. How long to wait for a response? Which agents respond and which go the "no response means no" route?

Hooked you, didn't they?

Now that you cannot live without instant access to your query list and the data you so love, Querytracker has invested in their agent-centric website and you will have to pay for things that were once free.

Only $25 for a full year of statistics, genres, and the ability to organize your queries in just about any way you like.

Is the convenience worth it to you?

You could find agents and their genres on AgentQuery and it won't cost you anything more than the time it takes to cut and paste the info into your personal spreadsheet. 

What you'll miss is the statistical data that doesn't really serve a critical function. You know you're not alone. All you have to do is follow any writer's forum and see that you're in plenty of frustrated company.

You could come up with a couple of dollars each month. It's pennies a day, and you could easily meet the expense by dialing back your thermostat a degree or two, or opening the windows instead of opting for air conditioning. You could eat less and forage more. Dumpster diving is always an option if you want to lower your food bills and have money left over to buy the comradeship you get from a website dedicated to would-be authors in search of representation.

How much is the convenience worth to you?

I haven't decided yet, myself. Maybe it's a bargain. Maybe it's a waste of money that will make the website developer rich on the backs of those who want to break into the publishing world. Like most other things, I could live without it. But will I happy without my regular dose of statistical analysis and comments from fellow seekers of literary representation?

What do others in this same situation think about paying someone else to do the grunt work? Will we end up with more time to write if we pay for a small convenience? And will that up our odds of getting a foot in the door?

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