Encouraging Stats for the Querying Writer

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Fun fact: I love reading How I Got My Agent stories. They’re exciting and often full of smile-worthy GIFs and squeeing and it’s kind of the whole reason I like watching the blind auditions of The Voice; there’s something really special about seeing someone taking a real-life step into their dream.

Oftentimes, at the end of these How I Got My Agent stories, writers will include their query statistics, which include numbers like how many queries they sent out, how many rejections they received vs. how many partial/full requests they received, etc.

What I found really interesting was the sheer number of writers who reported sending well over fifty queries before finding representation. And so out of curiosity I collected data from thirty How I Got My Agent stories scoured across the web.

The results, to me at least, were both surprising and somewhat encouraging.

Out of thirty now-agented writers, the average number of queries sent before finding representation was 59. The most was 154 (although four writers sent over 100 queries), and the least was ten. The majority of those writers only received one offer of representation—and that’s all it takes. You only need one yes.

Think about that: most of these writers, all who now have agents, received a lot of rejections. When we say rejection is just part of the process, that all writers face their fair share and then some, we really mean it.

Everyone gets rejected. Everyone gets disappointed or discouraged, and I’m willing to bet that just about every writer who has entered the query trenches has at one point or another seen a form rejection.

It’s an unavoidable part of the process, and it’s not fun, but it’s ok.

So whether you’re querying now or will be in the future, remember that rejection is expected.

And above all, remember this: in the end, it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get. Because all you need is one yes.

Have you entered the query trenches? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Entering the query trenches soon? Here are some encouraging statistics to keep you going. (Click to tweet)  
"In the end, it doesn't matter how many rejections you get. Because all you need is one yes." (Click to tweet


Amy Jarecki said...

Yep. I sent out about 60 queries, got 14 requests for materials and two offers for representation. Now waiting through the arduous process of my agent's submissions.

Ava Jae said...

Hey, congratulations! That's wonderful (and fits into that average very nicely). :)

Good luck with your submissions!

SJ Mitchell said...

These numbers are therapeutic. Thank you for this info. I had one agent tell me that my MS doesn't fit what they're looking for but not to give up because she was sure, of all the agents out there, someone will be interested. I just have to find the right one.

Shay Dee said...

As well, you always forget that after getting accepted by an agent you have to wait again to be accepted by a publisher! The anticipation is never ending.

I'm so used to the idea of getting a rejection, I'm proud to say I don't obsess over my e-mails when I query. I don't know if that's me being realistic or having low expectations, either way, let's just hope it doesn't slyly turn to disheartened numbness...

Ava Jae said...

That's so true about dealing with the same sort of submission stress when submitting to publishers! As I understand it, it's pretty near the same thing (except if you have an agent, there's a little extra support, which is nice).

Also, kudos to you for not stressing over queries! :)

Jen Donohue said...

It's nice to keep this in perspective, and also so very hard. Any "no" at all feels soul crushing (and I haven't started querying ANYTHING yet, this is just from sort story rejections). There are the stages, of course. Disappointment, anger, "what do they know anyway?", "Oh wait, maybe they do.", rewrite....

Ava Jae said...

It can definitely be difficult to keep things in perspective, which is why I brought the stats out. We all face rejection and it's ok. :)

Cheryl Carvajal said...

That gives me hope. Several writing friends have opted out and gone the indy e-book way. I just don't want to do that. I'll be patient, keep honing my books, and it will happen eventually.

Ava Jae said...

No one form of publishing is right for everyone. If you know traditional is the right choice for you, then keep trekking! And good luck! :)

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