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2020 Query Stats!

Now that 2020 has wrapped up, it’s time to look over query stats and see the breakdown. I made a post in August of 2020 looking at the first half of the year (Jan 15 – July 31). Using that data, I’m going to show both the remaining months of 2020 as well as an overall picture.


Let’s start at the top—from August 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, I received 1655 queries. Of those, there are still 86 that are outstanding. There are a couple of remaining requests in this 86 total, and the rest are queries I need to read. For the sake of these numbers, I’ve included those that I requested, which means my request and offer of representation numbers as they are right now could go up. Since they can’t go down, you could think of these as “minimums”, I guess.


In looking at the total queries received, it’s a slight increase from what happened between Jan 15, 2020 and July 31, 2020, which was to be expected. I started at The Tobias Agency on Jan 15; I didn’t expect to receive a flood of queries as soon as I started. But as time has gone on and I’ve focused and refocused marketing efforts, more queries have come in.


If you’ve been following me or have queried me yourself, you know that with queries, I request the first 20-25 pages. In reading this much and getting a sense for the tone and pacing of your works, I don’t need to request partials and only ask for full manuscripts from then on. It’s lots of reading, but always worthwhile!


Of those 1655 queries, I requested full manuscripts from 22 authors, which equates to a 1.33% request rate. Comparing that to what I’m calling my first half of 2020, my requests went down from 28 and a 1.86% request rate. This isn’t surprising to me, either—with more clients, there’s more work and less time for me to spend with authors. But even with that said, 6 fewer requests isn’t a massive difference either; if it dropped by 10 or more, I’d take a longer look at what changed.


Diving down even further, of those 22 requested manuscripts, I offered representation to 2 of those authors. Following the math, that’s a 9.09% representation from request rate, or looking at the total queries, a .12% representation from query rate. These are both slightly down from the first half numbers (3 offers of representation for a 10.71% representation from request rate and a .2% representation from query rate), but again, nothing that is disconcerting.


Looking at the numbers comparing the two “halves” of the year doesn’t show much difference. To me, it signifies a consistency in my own work and a general idea of my own workflow. Not to mention, I still have 86 queries remaining, which could increase some things.


Now let’s combine everything and look at 2020 as a whole from start to finish:

  • 3,155 queries received

  • 50 requests for full manuscripts

  • 5 offers of representation

That means there was a 1.58% rate of me requesting a full manuscript from an author who queried me. And the math here shows a 10% rate of an offer of representation for authors that I’ve requested full manuscripts from. The larger picture is a .158% rate of offering representation to a querying author. It’s not necessarily the brightest picture, but it’s honest!


I know that it is impossibly hard to be a querying author and having to wait for responses, good or bad. But I want to take a second here and talk about one more stat that I touched on in the first round up: the workload for me as an agent.


We’re people, too, so don’t be too hard on us when we need an extra week or three to get back to you. To try and put this in perspective a little bit, 3,155 queries means I averaged just over 8 queries a day, every single day of 2020. Including the query letter and sample pages, that’s close to 200 pages of reading every day—not including our outstanding clients’ works!

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