Unfortunately I found out yesterday morning, and so I was unable to post until the evening of the 31st (had some birthday greetings to give out today! Props to my QU people). Today is a terrible and ironic day! But yesterday when I came back from work I received an e-mail to my personal account from one of the agents I had queried saying the following:
Thank you for including me in your agent queries. After taking the opportunity to read the first ten pages of your upper-middle grade manuscript, ANA BRADAN IN THE POOKA’S LAIR (her site specifically requests the first ten pages) I am very very interested in reading more. At this time I would like to go ahead and request the full manuscript, which you must upload to our server (name and instructions deleted).
Due to the volume of queries I receive and other services I must provide my current clients, I require eight weeks of exclusivity to read your manuscript, with the first day beginning on the date you upload your manuscript. This will ensure that I will have plenty of time to carefully consider your project and give it the feedback it deserves. Should I decide that your project is right for me, I will consider asking you for the exclusive right to sell your manuscript on your behalf.”
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (yada yada).
Thank you again for sharing your work with me.”
(name not included for obvious reasons, like I don’t want her to Google/DuckDuckGo me and think I’m the type who blabs about everything)
Now here’s the kicker: Some of you who have never been published before might think I overcame the “hard” part. I don’t want to go too much in detail because I’m still new to the process, but I do know the odds are still very low of this agent, or any other, asking for exclusive representation rights.
One prominent literary agent publishes a news letter which, until recently, I was receiving. She said in 2014, she received 35,000+ queries. Of those 35,000, she asked for 46 partial or full manuscripts, and signed ONE new client.
You read that right. ONE out of over THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND. For you non-math majors, that’s a 0.00002857% success rate. Even just 1 out of 46 is 0.0217% chance of being selected, or 2% out of the 0.01% chance of having a partial or full manuscript request.
*note: This is NOT the agent who said yes. Granted, the agent with the 35k queries is one of the most popular agents (because she’s well-known), and so her getting so many requests but asking for so few books is not to be unexpected, especially since she still has to represent the clients she already has. But while some agents are more open to new clients than others, the chances are low everywehre. They were always low, and always will be low, so long as there are book publishers who aren’t Amazon.
Here’s why: There are fewer than 1,400 literary agents in America, and far fewer overseas. That’s not a typo either. Now how many people want to be published every year? Remember both the already published with new material, the aspiring published, and even the deceased who still have royalties coming in which must be collected and distributed.
Given that math, the odds are very low you or I will get a deal. But we’ll see! Hopefully the agent likes my book.
silly reader, did you really think I got a request for more material from anyone who isn’t related to me in some way? Let me get back to you in a few months/years/decades if/when I have a “bigger platform”,a few literary awards, and/or the “right” connections or the “right” book at the “right” moment. Or, if I ever self-publish a book and sell so many copies I get query letters instead of the other way around. Which probably won’t happen due to who I am, but it is what it is.
PS: For the record, I have hit well into the double digits for total rejections, including short stories. Granted, a couple of those rejections are my fault for not properly spell-checking or for not following editor’s directions, and I do acknowledge the sheer volume of authors to publishers/agents makes decision-making challenging. Right now, due to personal situations, mostly dealing with work, and future plans, I’m not able to send out any more query letters. I have, however, continued to write in my spare time.