The Study: Issue #27 - Make Querying Your Novel Simpler with TextExpander + 20% Off

Learn to simplify the querying process using TextExpander, plus the week’s Headlines and a new section devoted to Submissions

TextExpander: A Querying Author’s Dream

When I first started querying a decade ago, this is how the process would typically go:

  1. Write (and rewrite…and rewrite…and rewrite again) a query letter.

  2. Research 5–6 agents to whom I want to send it.

  3. Send out my queries.

  4. Research more agents as I wait for rejections.

  5. After each rejection, go back into a previous email, copy/paste my query letter into a new email and send it to the next agent on the list.

This got very tedious. Having to sift through my email to find the appropriate query, especially if I’d made updates to it or needed a different version, made the whole thing a nightmare of disorganization.

Then I found TextExpander.

TextExpander is a utility that allows a user to type a few keystrokes and generate pre-saved text. For example, when I type “;email” into a text field, it populates my personal email address. I use TextExpander all the time to handle text I type repeatedly.

Including my query letters.

Here’s a look at how I set up my most recent query letter email in TextExpander:

  1. These are all snippets of contact info that sit at the top of the query email. I feasibly could have made that static text since I didn’t plan on moving during the process, nor changing my email or phone number, but I wanted to embed snippets within a snippet.

  2. The “Name” field was a single-line fill-in text field for me to type in the agent’s name. This was to make sure I didn’t accidentally copy/paste the last agent’s name into an email for the new agent.

  3. The abbreviation I would type to initiate the new query in an email compose window: “;query”.

At the bottom of the letter, I added another fill-in field for the number of pages or chapters appended, followed by a dropdown menu to select either “pages” or “chapters” depending on what the agent was asking for.

For example:

The first 10 pages are pasted below.

TextExpander is a godsend for my productivity and if you’re a querying author, it can save you HOURS of hunting/copying/pasting as you try to land your own agent.

Here are some other uses for TextExpander, too:

  • Create a snippet for your sample pages. TextExpander supports rich text.

  • Make snippets for different email subject lines.

  • Keep several #pitmad tweets at the ready in TextExpander for when the next Twitter pitch contest rolls around.

  • Create a snippet for the title of your book so don’t have to hold the shift key down or fiddle with your caps lock key every time.

If you want to check out TextExpander for yourself:


And for more uses on how to make the most of TextExpander:

9 Work-From-Home Snippets That’ll Make You a PRO Remote Employee

Ultimate Guide to the Editing Bar: Power Up Your Snippets

Name and Organize Your Files with TextExpander

TextExpander Reddit Community

PS: If the synopsis in my query letter piqued your interest, there’s a link at the bottom of this newsletter where you can buy my book 😉.


Book Worker Power - “A pro-worker, pro-union, diverse organizing space for workers in the book industry.” | Twitter

Are We Seeing a New Movement to Organize Publishing?by Corinne Segal | Literary Hub

Amazon VP quits over whistleblower firings in scathing blog post” by Kim Lyons| The Verge

Stephenie Meyer announces new Twilight book Midnight Sun” by Alison Flood” | The Guardian

Missing Sounds of New York playlist on Spotify | New York Public Library

Book Towns Are Made for Book Lovers” by Sarah Laskow | Atlas Obscura

10 Things to do Before you Query Literary Agents” | BookEnds Literary Agency on YouTube

We Never Know in Whose Words Our Healing Will Be Found: A Conversation on Publishing during a Pandemic" by Ben Tanzer

What It’s Really Like to Be a Literary Agent” | iWriterly on YouTube


A new section devoted to current submission opportunities without submission fees.

matchbook — short/flash fiction | Deadline: May 11, 2020

FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction — poetry and prose | Deadline: Unclear

PAID opportunity — video game site aimed at teens

COVID Lit — poetry and prose | Deadline: Rolling

Club Plum — flash fiction, prose poetry, art | Deadline: Rolling

Underground Writers Association — micro fiction, poetry, images “inspired by one or more of the themes: isolation, disruption, abandon, and what is essential.” |
Deadline: June 2020

The Revolution (Relaunch) — literary/historical criticism, literary journalism, creative nonfiction, and poetry | Deadline: Rolling (publishes the 1st of each month)

CRAFT. — short fiction, flash fiction, essays, book reviews | Deadline: Rolling

2020-2021 Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop — applications now being accepted | Deadline: May 31, 2020


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