I discovered the coolest writers' website, and I just had to share.
QueryTracker.net lets you research agents, track queries as you send them out, and compare your results to other people's experiences -- for free.
Here's my tracking page. I desaturated the color to make my (red) notes easier to see. The page is really in full color.
Here is a pie chart of my querying activity for one of the manuscripts.
The site owner's goal is to collect data on agents' response behavior and share that data with everyone who uses the site. So you can see how many other people who have queried that agent got positive vs. negative responses and how long it took to get that positive or negative response.
You can also sign up for a Premium subscription to see additional statistics. All funds the owner collects go toward advertising -- the idea is that the more people who use QT, the more data is collected. And that benefits everyone in the community. Since I'm part of the community, I'm telling you so you can add to the data, too!
Here is the Premium Advanced Search, which shows you not only agents who meet the criteria you've noted (here it's agents who represent Fantasy Fiction), but also what forms of queries they accept and what others' experiences have been. The envelope represents the number of queries QT members have sent, the smilie face how many requests for partial or full manuscripts were received, and the frownie face for how many rejections were received.
The owner is also careful about who he adds to the database. He researches each suggested agent and makes sure that person is legit. A forum lets users share additional info about their experiences with agents.
I've also discovered an unexpected positive. Normally I collect rejection letters with a bit of shame and tuck them away as quickly as I can, relying on as many defense mechanisms as I can to shore up my flagging self-esteem. But I enjoy adding whatever response I get to my QT, because I'm helping other writers when I do. For me, that makes a negative into something of a positive. It also feels very organized, because I can see everything in one place from any computer I'm on. In the past I've used MS Access databases, but of course I could only access those from the computer the database was stored on.
Anyhow, I've really found it to be a great resource so far. Anything that makes receiving rejections less of a negative experience is to be applauded!
New Article: International Vampire Mythology
Summary: Modern mythology surrounding the Vampire is attributed to south eastern European countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania. The general belief that Vampires are reborn from the corpse of a person bitten by a Vampire during life was contracted from the original myth, which claimed witches, evil people and suicide victims would rise from the grave in the guise of a Vampire.
New Article: Gauge or Caliber: Getting Your Research Right
Summary: Writers often need to know just what kind of weaponry their protagonists are using. Here's a useful primer as to the different terms and what they mean.
New Article: Biology of Depression
Summary: At one time, depression was seen as being solely the result of environmental factors such as upbringing, trauma, and stress. Research in the last few decades, however, has begun to reveal that depression has a strong biological basis that interacts with environmental factors to bring on the condition. Neurotransmission and brain chemicals are discussed.
New Article: The Harmful Emergence of Pro-Bulimia Attitudes
Summary: Though bulimia is classified as an eating disorder, not everyone with bulimia feels like they have a disorder. Some view bulimia and anorexia as lifestyles--chosen lifestyles.
New Article: Does Your Novel Have A Heartbeat?
Summary: Your theme is nothing more and nothing less than the heart of a novel. It is not a grade-school exercise in tedium, that single droning sentence you wrote that told your reader what you were going to tell him. In a novel, your theme is a living, vibrant, critical thing. It is your particular passion in this particular novel summed up in a handful of words. It is what you need to say.
New Article: Critiquing Fiction - Or How to Help Without Being Mean
Summary: An outline of things to consider when reading another's (or your own!) work.
New Article: Showing the Change in Characters through the Trajectory of a Story
Summary: In a good story, characters create conflict; consequently, conflict creates drama. In addition, a story shows more depth if its characters go through changes. The question is: how can a writer go about showing the changes inside his characters during the trajectory of the story?