Don’t hate me because I’m
behind in answering your query. It’s not personal; I have thousands of unread
queries in my in-box. Not because I’m lazy or I’m inept or I hate writers—just because
I got 1000 queries my first week as an agent and they’ve kept on flooding my
in-box ever since.
And I am not alone. In
my unofficial survey of agents who actually consider unsolicited queries (not
everyone does), I gathered enough data (in an admittedly non-scientific manner)
to offer up the following statistics regarding queries. These are the odds you
are up against when you send a query:
The average agent gets 5,000 to 10,000
queries a year
The typical agent represents 30 to 50
Which makes the best case scenario in
terms of your query resulting in representation: .01% chance
And the worst case scenario: .003%
What’s the takeaway here? Don’t rely on queries
alone. Network with agents, editors, and your fellow writers at conferences and
genre association meetings; press your published pals for referrals. Find other
means of pitching your work; relying on queries alone is a risky proposition.
And whatever you do, don’t get peeved at publishing professionals
who 1) don’t respond; or 2) don’t respond in the way in which you would prefer.
Give us a break. We are drowning in inquiries, and we don’t get paid to read
queries. We get paid if and when we
sell our clients’ work.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some queries to
Labels: agent, literary agent, publisher, publishing, query, query letter, writing, writing tips