Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Running the Numbers

Agent Jennifer Jackson listed her 2007 query statistics on her blog. They were:

Queries this year: Approximately 8,000

Partials requested: 49 (4 of which I have not yet received)

Full manuscripts requested: 18 (2 if which were requested after reading the partials)

Number of new clients signed: 5

This means that someone querying her has a 0.8% chance of having material requested and a 0.06% chance of becoming a client. Generally, 95-99% of all queried material is sent to an agent who doesn't handle that genre or is unpublishable due to grammar, poor story mechanics, or an over-used story idea. Using a hopeful 5%-is-well-written rate, then there were 400 queries that came to Jennifer that were well written and potentially publishable. Of those 400 queries, she requested partials or fulls on 16.24% and signed 1.25% as clients.

This helps illustrate that your manuscript may be well-written, but it may still be rejected if it doesn't match the personal preferences of the agent queried. Here's another example using Kristin Nelson's query statistics:

Estimated number of queries: 30,000

Full manuscripts requested: 74

New clients: 8

This means that someone querying her has a 0.03% chance of becoming a client. Assuming that 5% of all the queried material was well-written, then there were 1,500 queries that came to Kristin that were well-written and potentially publishable. Of those 1,500 queries, she requested fulls on 4.9% and signed 0.5% as clients.

I can see why Miss Snark recommended that you query at least 100 agents before giving up. That seems like a realistic number in the face of the above statistics.

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