After asking you all for ideas on what you'd like to see in this blog, one of the ideas that stood out to me was to look at query statistics. Since I'm a giant nerd, this is right up my alley.
So I've combed through my inbox and done some fun math to see what my own statistics are. I'm not saying this is going to be the most uplifting thing I've ever written, but it's honest and real.
What these numbers capture are roughly the last 6 months of queries that have come in to my attention. So with that, let's get into the numbers!
Over the last 6 months, I've received approximately 1600 queries. Breaking that down, that means I get more than 260 queries a month, or more than 8 queries a day, seven days a week. If you've taken a look at my submissions page, then you know I'm also asking for 25 pages in your submission. That means I'm being asked to read 200 pages every day. Oh, right, and that's not including my clients sending me their manuscripts, emails with editors, or reading published books so I have an active awareness of the market. This job is a lot of reading!
Of those 1600 queries, at least 100 were in genres that I do not represent or am not looking to expand in. Those are pretty easy to identify, pass on, and move forward, but they're still there, and I still respond. So now we're down to 1500 queries.
So far, through these last 6 months, I have requested 28 full manuscripts from authors. There are still a few in my inbox that I need to read, and there are still a number of queries I have to go through as well, but this is the active picture. Using the 1500 queries number (of appropriate genres), that's a 1.86% request rate. I can't speak for other agents, but this seems right to me, and is in line with how I view myself as an agent in my tastes and time to commit to projects.
When I request a full manuscript, I also take on an additional responsibility that I put on myself to give editorial feedback, whether or not I offer representation. I don't want to go through each of those 28 and examine why I did or did not offer representation, but I want to make a point here to say that for many of those projects, they did not resonate with me for whatever reason.
I have offered representation to 3 potential clients from queries I've received, of which, 2 have accepted and are working with me on their projects. The 3/28 equates to a 10.7% rate of offer of representation, but comparing it to the overall figures, that's .2% of all of the people who have queried me.
I don't want whoever is reading this to be disheartened by these numbers, particularly that
.2% rate. That's 2 out of a thousand, or one out of five hundred. I want you to see that and feel empowered and emboldened. Go back to your manuscript one more time before you submit it and make sure the pacing is right and that you have accurate descriptions. Work harder on those characterizations and make me laugh and cry with them. Make yourself and your work better so you are that one out of five hundred. Show me how great of a writer you are that you can outshine those other 499.