Traditional Publishing — What if there is no call?

Time for some painful straight talk. You can do everything I suggest in this blog and still not land an agent.

Let’s consider some numbers

Agent Janet Reid has said publicly that she receives about 100 queries per week. She has said that some of her peers receive as many as 200 per week.

Let’s keep it simple: 100 queries per week. That’s 5200 queries per year. From that query pile, agents seem to take on 1-3 clients per year.

Looking at it statistically, that means only .038% of queriers land an agent.

Now, in fairness, for that math to work, it would assume that everyone who queried had an equal chance of getting picked — like a lottery.

And that isn’t true

Agents say that fully 90% of the queries they receive either have grammatical mistakes, weak writing, and poor presentation or don’t follow the submission rules. Those queries are quickly rejected.

Only 10% stand out as properly-formatted, properly-targeted, well-written queries. If you do what I tell you to do in this book, you are already in the top 10% of queriers. If you are getting requests for partials and fulls, you are in the top 3-5%.

But even that is competitive

Even if you do everything right, this manuscript may not get picked up. So you write another. And another. And push to make each one better than the one before.

Persist. Traditional publishing is a game of persistence. Push through the frustration by remembering that you’re competing for a very few slots against professionals with years of experience. They haven’t given up, so neither should you.

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