Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The State of the Query
Okay, today I'm going to give you all the specifics on my querying status. Some of you might be interested because you like me and want to know the details of how I'm doing out there in agent-land, and some of you might be interested because knowing someone else's statistics make the querying process seem just a little bit more accessible and less mysterious. I know I was very hungry for numbers when I first started sending these letters out the door...
Plus, I got a call yesterday that is driving me crazy, and this summary will help me regroup. Yes, you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out about the call.
Between April 15, 2009 and June 24, 2009, I sent out a total of 76 queries. One agent wrote back saying that she wasn't taking new clients after all, and therefore did not review or consider my query, so let's take that number down to 75 valid queries.
Of those 75 queries, I've had 29 form rejections (38%).
I've also had 2 rejections based on genre... they don't think they can sell chick lit right now (3%).
I've also had 17 "no responses" that must be assumed to be rejections, because the agents have a "no response means no" policy, and it's been long enough by now (22%).
Also in the "no response" category are 11 outstanding queries where I do still, eventually, expect an answer of some sort, even though in some cases it's been as long as 18 weeks (15%).
Now, onto the good news. Those of you who have done your homework know that there is more than one kind of rejection. There's the form rejection, and there's the "personal rejection": this does not mean that they reject your manuscript and also say that you have a big nose, it means that the agents have taken some precious time out of their already packed days to say something positive about your manuscript. It's a rejection, but it also means that you're doing something right. At the very least, it means that your query letter doesn't suck, because the agent went on to read some of your pages. (See my "thanks for the rejection" post for more thoughts on this.)
I have received 6 personal rejections (8%).
I have also gotten 10 requests for additional materials, either a partial or full manuscript (14%).
Of those 10 requests, 5 have since been rejected (but usually in a very nice way). That means that out of 75 original queries, I am now hanging my hopes on 5 agents who have asked to see more (7%).
I guess there's also hope to be had in that 15% that hasn't gotten back to me at all yet, but naturally I tend to think I have better odds with an agent who read three chapters, then asked to see the whole thing, rather than with an agent who only has the one-page query letter on her desk.
And what about that phone call? Yesterday, according to my home telephone's caller I.D., I got a call from an agent. S/he did not leave a message. S/he did not call back, or email.
GAHHHH! What does that mean?
I'm going to give it until the end of the week, then do a polite status check-in with that agency. In the meantime, I'll be pretending to focus on a million other things, but failing.