Saturday, February 03, 2007

Query ratio results!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have finally finished going through all the snail mail queries that were currently in my office. The numbers do not necessarily include everyone's queries, as I've been keeping recent mail in a separate location, as to not confuse it with this exercise. The rejections will go out in the mail on Monday.

For your statistical pleasure:

I rejected 60 query letters.

I requested 13 partials and 1 full in this latest batch.

It's highly unusual for me to request a full manuscript right off of a query letter, but I had my reasons for doing so with this particular query. The number of partials I requested was high for me too, but is largely due to the fact that I had a number of already established writers query me in this batch, something which makes me feel very flattered.

So, let's do the math, assuming that the request for the full is an outlier that doesn't need to be counted in the percentages:

74 queries total.

(60/74) x 100=81.08% of queries were rejected

(13/74) x 100=17.57% of queries garnered a request for a partial

So, not horrible odds, right? Many established agents reject about 95% of all queries that they receive. I'm still actively looking for new clients, so I'm willing to be a bit more open-minded in what I request at this stage of the game. As I gain more clients, who are steadily earning me money, I have no doubt that I will get more selective.

There will be numbers for the number of partials that I reject coming soon. I have to read some client material first, and then I will start counting up those--once again, they will be based only on the material that is currently physically located in my office. It makes it easier for me to keep track of things that way.

11 comments:

D.L. Rankin said...

Hey, Jenny. I appreciate the level of information you include on your blog. It's way more than most agents offer. As a rule, do you request partials/manuscripts via e-mail or snail mail?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the stats, Jenny.

Out of curiosity, what are the dates for this batch of queries?

Anonymous said...

Could you post stats for full manuscripts requested? Thanks.

Jenny Rappaport said...

d. l. rankin, I answered that question in the original post about query ratios; scroll back.

anonymous #1, the query letter dates were from about mid-October to mid-January; there may have been ones that were earlier or later in there. I didn't keep track of that.

anonymous #2, I already said I'm going to track the stats for the next bunch of partials I'm reading, which includes how many full manuscripts are requested.

Jodi said...

You are endlessly patient. :-|

Demon Hunter said...

Thanks for the stats, Jenny! Very interesting...

--E said...

You said that a number of the queries came from established writers. Are they looking for new representation, or do they not have agents yet? Can you do a post at some point on what reasons writers give for switching agents?

Also, from your perspective as an agent, how do you feel about that, both being on the benefitting end (they are applying to you) and how you expect you would feel on the other end (if one of your authors wanted to go to a different agent)?

Anonymous said...

And how do you feel about about re-queries (with a much improved letter) several months later? :-)

btw, much improved/edited pages too.

Jenny Rappaport said...

E, I'll answer your question in an actual post, later this week.

anonymous #3, re-queries are ok, but usually they'll get the same reaction as the first query. Please make sure though, if you are sending a re-query, that you specify that you've already sent the agent this query originally... it saves us from thinking we've gone insane, reading the same thing over and over. =)

Tryst said...

Let's say we send you a query and it gets rejected this time, but we re-query you about six months later, and now we've won a couple of contests and revamped our letter. Would you consider our work then?

What would be included in a re-query that might make you consider the author a second time? Rachel Vater wrote in one of her blog entries that a client of hers rewrote her/his query and first few pages and kept sending them back, so many times that in the end it was too good for her to say no.

Do agents really have that kind of patience with authors? Or was that just a lucky person?

Jenny Rappaport said...

tryst, in general, contests don't mean much to me at all.

And I'm not that patient at all. If you kept sending me the same query over and over, I'll just keep rejecting you, and eventually, I'll just not even open your envelope at all, before tossing it.

Agents are here to sell your book to editors; we're not here to help you get your book into good enough shape to be looked at by an agent. I simply don't have the time for that.