Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Interview with Patrick McDonald *AND* QueryTracker Gift Card Giveaway!!!

(click on the above image to visit site)

Today I'm honored to have Patrick McDonald, founder and moderator of, joining us for an interview. *waves to Patrick*

(click picture to read Patrick's QT bio)
Patrick, who works in Industrial Automation by day, started QT back in 2007, and since then it's grown to be one of the most extensive online data bases for aspiring authors, boasting statistical information for 1,253 literary agents and 131 publishers. To date, there are 681 success stories born of the some 47,530 QT members.

Yet the most important service QT provides is the community fellowship. There's such a supportive spirit to be found at the blog, the agent/publisher threads, and the groups/forums. When I first started hanging around the threads, I was touched and impressed by the cheerleading and encouragement taking place. In spite of the fact that these people were all vying for the same thing, no one was competing. They were there to lend a helping hand or offer a word of comfort when someone was down, or share in the celebration when someone got good news.

I'll never forget the people who reached out and helped me, Patrick included. And even though I don't get over there like I used to, I know that there will always be someone to take up the slack. Because writers rock like that. (◕‿-)

One of the best things about QT is it's completely free to join and get access to the agent/publisher info, threads, etc... BUT, a $25/yr premium membership opens a whole new world of features. Click here to check out that list.

Interested? At the end of this interview, I'll let you know how you can win a FREE premium membership gift card. So stay tuned...

In a prior post, I put out a request to my readers: What would you like to ask Patrick Mcdonald, the wizard who so humbly stands behind the curtain to keep things running smooth in QueryTracker Oz? The last several questions in this interview were born of that post, so thank you ladies for your contributions! 

And off we go...

AGH: It’s rumored that you dabble in writing yourself. What genres are you drawn to creatively?

Patrick: It's been a long time since I've dabbled in writing, and that's a good word for it. I'd be the first to admit I'm just not very good at it. Now days, when I feel the urge to write coming on, I resist with every ounce of willpower.  I've accepted the reality that my poor brain is much better suited for programming than writing. When I write, it always comes out sounding like a computer manual, and we all know how much fun those are to read. 

AGH: Are you working on any current projects you can tell us about?

If you mean writing, then no. Besides being terrible at it, QT has kept me too busy to give it much thought. There are some new QT features I've been considering lately, and I hope to have time to get to them real soon. Maybe over the Christmas Holiday when I'll have some time away from my day job.

AGH: How did you being an aspiring author influence the birth/growth of QT?

It certainly helped me to identify the need for something like QT. Way back, when I was querying, I used AgentQuery (which is a great resource, by the way) but I kept thinking it would be really nice if I could mark off agents right there on the site as I went along. I looked around, couldn't find anything that did what I wanted, and since my queries weren't going anywhere, I decided to give it a shot. And, thanks to all of you out there who gave it a try and continue to use, it has been a success.

AGH: Who comes up with all of those great premium membership feature ideas?

I'm always on the look out for new ideas, so if anyone has any thoughts on new features, please let me know.

AGH: Speaking of features, QT has a recent one for premium members where if you mark which agents have your full MS it'll tell what other agents have "similar tastes." Kind of like the “customers who liked this book also bought this one” feature on Amazon. How do you come up w/that information?

It is based on the query results recorded by users. So, if two agents request the same material then they must have similar tastes.

Angela Cook: Some of the comments left on agent profiles are brutally honest and/or emotionally charged. Have you ever been asked by an agent to remove those comments? If so, did you?

I don't recall ever being asked "nicely". There have been a few cases where an agent threatened legal action if I did not remove a comment. In those cases I just removed the agent entirely. Those kinds of people don't deserve to be listed.

Jenny Phresh: Have you ever considered letting authors choose the look of their frowning/smiling status faces from a gallery? I would be prefer my frowning face, for example, to have an insouciant, devil-may-care expression that shows that I Will Rise Again! Right now it's too durned sad and beaten-down looking.

That's actually a pretty good idea. But I don't have the artistic talent needed to draw up a bunch of different icon sets. So, if anyone out there wants to contribute, just let me know.

Mindy McGinnis: How do you keep your agent contact information updated? Do they inform you of changes or do you hunt this information down?

Some agents will inform me of changes, other changes I find myself. But the majority come from users who send me a note about something they found, or post it on the agent's profile. After confirming the change, I update the agent's profile. And I really appreciate all the help I get from users. There's just no way I could keep up with all the agents on my own.

Krista V:  How can QueryTracker users get the most out of QueryTracker? And what is QueryTracker's best little-known feature? 

There's a lot going on at QT, and it can be a little overwhelming at first. So, I think the best place to start is with the tutorial videos (which can be found at

As for best little-known feature, it's hard to think of just one. But, one of the things that I think is really simple, yet highly useful, is the agency cross-reference. When you view an agent's profile page, there is also a list of all the other agents at that agency along with your query status to any of them (if you happened to have already queried them). It helps to know, so you don't query the same agency twice. If you're a premium member you'll find the cross-reference on the right side of the page, where the advertisements would be.

**Five for fun**  

1) What’s your favorite breakfast?

Lunch. I like to sleep in.

2) Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

It depends on how they are cooked.

3) If I were at your house right now, what would I find in your refrigerator?

Absolutely nothing. Just ask my teenage son.

4) If you could morph into any food, what kind would you become and why?

Turkey. It's the holidays and I always wanted to be the guest of honor. 

5) What would be the first thing you would do if you woke up to find you were a fish?

Drown. I can't swim.


Eek on the drowning! Hee. And I get what you're saying about your teenage son. I have one of those, too. Hungry little critters.

Thank you, Patrick, for the interview, and for everything you do for us!

Now for the GIVEAWAY: Patrick has offered to donate a premium membership gift card to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment* on this post, from today through Sunday at midnight (central time). I will close the comments then, and will draw the lucky winner's name TBA on Monday.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a fabulous weekend and see you next week!

*Please note: this pertains to legitimate comments ... I reserve the right to use the delete function if there are any naughties out there ... 'nuff said. ;)


  1. Thanks for the interview, Anita and Patrick! I have been looking forward to this. QT really is amazing--people are so helpful and supportive that it's unreal.

  2. QT has been such a big help in the whole submission process. I seriously cannot imagine having to query agents/keep track of submissions without it. Thank you for developing it, Patrick, and thank you to Anita for this interesting interview! :)

  3. Number one, don't enter me for the giveaway, because I've already gotten my use out of Patrick, LOL! Patrick, you're an absolute gem to us writers! Thank you so much for all you do!

    Number two, LOL lunch for breakfast!

    Number three, you guys WANT this gift card. Really, really want!!! :)

    Thanks for this awesome interview. Patrick, your answers were great, informative, and much appreciated!

    P.S. You might want to put some ex-lax in random items in the fridge. It would discourage teenage boys from excess consumption of the contents...

  4. Love QT! And so nice to see Patrick's face! A real live "man behind the curtain!"

  5. I'd heard of query tracker, but haven't used it yet. It sounds like an incredibly useful tool. Thanks very much for creating it :).

  6. Great interview, Anita, and thanks so much for participating, Patrick. QT is my favorite resource for sure, and I will be forever grateful for it!

  7. LOVED this interview! I'm a huge QT fan! I'm thinking that cross-reference thing would come in handy--especially since I just recently accidently queried two agents at the same agency within weeks of each other (yes, both queries are still open--EEK!).

    Oh, and my favorite QT feature is the "notes" option. I used this to keep track of query requirements and response times--it keeps me from having to go back and forth to agency's website :o)

    Great interview, Anita!

  8. I love QT. Glad I found it. And it's nice to put a person to a name. Thanks Patrick!

  9. What a great interview! I always wondered if the infamous Patrick was a writer, too. I love, love, love QT. It seemed complicated at first, but now I don't know how I could get by without it.

    Thank you Patrick for all you do!

  10. I am forever beholden to QT for hooking me up with my dearest pal, who happens to be the owner of this blog!

    Patrick, you're a delight as is QT. What an amazing resource it has been to all of us!! Thank you!

  11. Thank you so much for this post! I found QT soon after I started querying and man, I would have gone completely insane without it. I must have shown it to everyone and their dog when I first started using it. And since none of them were writers, they would just sort of nod while I gushed away: "Isn't it magical? I mean, look at those stats. I can that see that I shouldn't even bother worrying about that agent because she clearly hasn't looked at her inbox in 3 weeks, so I can spend my worry on something else..." Well, you all know what I mean.

    Thank you so much Patrick for all that you do!

  12. I have an account, but haven't been able to use it for the practical purpose of querying yet. I hope I get to that sometime during 2012. Thanks for the interview!

  13. So that's Patrick...Great to finally know you! Thanks Anita for this interview, and thanks Patrick for the giveaway. Count me in.
    (As usual, Blogger is hating me right now and I can't log in. This is Kaylie Austen, so please count me in for that giveaway.)

  14. I know the comments are SUPPOSED to be for entering the contest (I'm already a QT'er) BUT...I HAD to pop in and say this was such a fun interview!

    All of the questions were really thoughtful and playful. Jenny Phresh -- I'm looking at you and I'm STILL LOL'ing!

    Also, I wanted to thank Patrick -- had it not been for the QT trenches, I would not have met Anita AKA my super-cool twink squad sister!!!!

    (((((((HUGE INTERWEBS HUGS)))))))

  15. The interview was really fun. Thank you, Anita, for the opportunity. And thanks to everyone else for your kind words about QT. Everyone was so nice.

  16. Patrick, thanks so much for QT. It is such a great resource that my jaw dropped a little when you said you didn't write...and a lot of what you do is STILL free. I'm already a proud premium member so skip my name in the drawing, but I can't recommend the site enough. Like everyone else, I'm still meeting great people and keeping up with the industry.
    Anita - super job on soliciting all those questions. Best interview of month!

  17. Hi, Anita! And you are not terrible at writing, Patrick. You are a very good writer. I KNOW this because I've read your stuff. So there!

    Thanks Pat for not only being a true friend, but for being the clever fellow who made my query process less of a nightmare. I would never have made it out sane without you.

    I am and will always be your biggest fan.


  18. I always love your interviews Anita (esp the five for fun). This one was helpful as I'm VERY new at using QT! I can't wait to really get into it. Awesome giveaway too! (crosses fingers)

  19. Thank you everyone for stopping by and for your awesome comments! Unless you specified otherwise, you are all now in the drawing.

    Patrick, thank you for being such a gentleman and for your generosity and helpfulness to the up-and-coming writers of the world! :) If not for your site, I wouldn't have met some of the most wonderful and brilliant people I've ever had the pleasure to know.

    Mandie, you're so sweet to say that!

    Rookstar, right back at ya, punkin cheeks. <3

    And Kerri, preach it, twinkie sistah. ((((hugs back))))

  20. Oops, I should have said above not to enter me in the contest because I'm already a premium member.

    Thank you for doing this!

  21. Thanks Ann! You're off my hit list. HEE ;)

  22. Great interview. Reminds me how long it's been since I was on QT. I really hope to get my life back in 2012. this career-interrupted stuff is making me crazy!

    Very thankful to know that all the work I did in the previous year is recorded on QT so I can just pick up where I left off.

  23. Thanks Jane! And you're now in the drawing. :)