1. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some Sobering Agent Stats

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by TWErvin2, Jan 12, 2010.

    About a week ago I posted blog post discussing how I believed a writer needed to be an optimist.

    I came across some statistics of a prominent literary agent:

    Estimated number of queries read and responded to: 38,000
    Full manuscripts requested: 55
    Number of new clients: 6

    I suspect this may be an eye-opener for some folks out there. Others may have suspected but were unsure. Others already knew.

    Here is the link for reference and the full details if you're interested: Pub Rants: A Year in Statistics

    Hang in there. You cannot succeed unless you complete projects and submit.

    Terry
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, the biggest step is to get a request for a full manuscript...
     
  3. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    If you submit to 6334 agents, you’re bound to get one:D
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Take one more thing from this. Out of 38,000 query letters, only 55 full manuscripts were requested.

    This tells me that about 1/10 of 1% (0.14%) of all query letters resulted in manuscript requests.

    I suspect most writers look upon the query letter as a mere formality. They invest all their effort into their manuscript, then throw together little more than a form letter for sending out queries.

    38,000 letters over 250 days (a year, excluding weekends and about a dozen holidays and vacation days) is about 152 letters per day. About one letter a week is good enough to warrant requesting a manuscript.

    Now at this point I am merely guessing, but I suspect that about half or more of these query letters are full of typos and grammatical errors. Actually, I'm inclined to say 80-90%, but that may be the cynicism of a moderator who has seen far too much sloppiness in posted drafts.

    So a large percentage of query letters get the most generic of form letters. It probably takes more time to stuff and address the reply envelope than what was spent reading the query.

    The next group is query letters written with clear sentences, good grammar and no spelling faults, but they aren't properly organized. Judging by some of the questions asked on this site, a lot of writers have no real idea of what needs to be in a query letter, and what does not. Another group gets a "don't call us, we'll call you" form letter.

    I won't go all the way through the whittling-down process, but I doubt that more than a handful of queries per day warrant a close reading of the plot synopsis.

    My take-away on this is to make sure you practice your query letter skills with as much dedication as you invest in your fiction skills. If you can make it into the twenty or so query letters that the agent sits down with each week to give serious consideration to, then you have perhaps a 5% chance of getting a manuscript request. And about one in ten of the manuscripts requested lead to the writer being taken on as a new client.

    That sounds like pretty decent odds to me.
     
  5. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito gives us hope. :)
     
  6. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol he sure does :p
     
  7. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    remember that I posted I had a literary agent.
    well 2years and 3 emails later after spending $200.
    I heard from them again.
    now they want me to pay for publishing Alberts solution and then when I sell enough they can do a better job of selling my stories to publishers.
    I told them in no uncertain terms what they could do with that suggestion.
    I don't want money so I started a blog of my stories so parents and kids can read them for free.
    I get the fun of writing them and the kids and parents get the stories for free with no storage of book problems.
    I think it is a win win situation.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If they want you to pay, I doubt they are legit.
     
  9. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    we discussed it here at the time and decided it was. Children's literary agency.
    I came and told what they did then because I know a lot of the writers here are in school with little money to throw around and I didn't want them ripped off.
    just the mother in me I guess.
    well the last email convinced me for certain people should be warned away from them at least.
     

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