Last week, I shared the chart I used to track what I had submitted and to whom. This week, I thought I'd share the chart I used to research the people I submitted to. And, yes, I realize that I'm doing this backwards, but oh well. :)
Very early on, I decided to try to sell my first book without an agent. So, I went about learning everything I possibly could about the submission process and how to choose a publishing house. These are the things I kept track of:
Editor and house, type of publisher (trade, education, etc), what genres and age groups they publish, how many books they published the previous year, how many of those books were debut vs. known authors, submission guidelines, my reason for submitting to this house, and any other notes I had about them.
When researching agents, you need some of the same info, but not all. When I decided to try for an agent, these are the things I kept track of:
Agency and agent, what they represent, their recent deals, how many of those deals were new vs. old clients, submission guidelines, my reason for submitting to this agency, and any other notes I had on them.
I put all of this into a spreadsheet and started to collect information several months before I was ready to submit. When I was ready, I had no less than 50 agents in my list to submit to. Having so many kept me from freaking out each time I got a rejection and wailing about how I'd get my book published. Rejection is a part of this business, but it's also really difficult to deal with at times. For me, having several backups kept me from losing it. :)
If you don't already have a way to research agents or editors, you're welcome to use the spreadsheet I created. You can download a copy here.