Here are one month statistics from a New York literary agency (Caren Johnson). Total: 337 queries. Requested 6. Interesting that she mentions the following (aspiring authors: make a note): “I think I requested all of those manuscripts in the first week. It was down hill from there. Otherwise of note in the pile this month is that I’m still getting just lots of queries for genres that I don’t represent.”
She doesn’t say how many of those fulls resulted in offers of representation. If any.
But it does confirm my suspicion that if an agent is interested, you find out pretty quickly. And that you really need to do some research to make sure you’re sending to an agent interested in your genre. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and winding yourself up for what’s likely be radio silence or a formulaic rejection.
Here are Janet Reid’s numbers, which date back to the summer of 2010. She says she requested 124 full manuscripts. Two got an offer; she referred nine to other agents and two additional candidates for representation found it elsewhere. Which means that once your ms has been requested in full, your odds of representation are dramatically better than they were at the query level alone.
And lastly on queries, here is a one month tally from Nathan Bransford (back in the days when he was an agent) that you may find of interest. He breaks it down into all kinds of interesting categories, like how many misspelled his name, and how many included word counts. Very close to Caren Johnson’s tally: Nathan received 327 queries and asked for only four fulls.
Finally, stats on sales of e-books after Christmas, which for the first time, outpaced the sale of print books for some publishers. As I said in an earlier post, it’s like sitting on horseback watching the first train go by….