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Thread: Nelson Literary Agency, LLC (Kristin Nelson)

  1. #1
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    Nelson Literary Agency, LLC (Kristin Nelson)

    I met with Kristen Nelson at a writers conference, and she impressed me as a decent sort, even if she did turn down my novel. She used to work with the Jody Rein agency, and I've not heard anything against her. Kingman charges fees, as others have said. I didn't know this when I queried him. All moot since he never responded to my query, anyway.

    Shawna is top drawer, but after two months she hasn't responded to my query, either.

  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    re: Kristin Nelson

    Back up the thread a question was asked about Kristin Nelson.
    I queried Kristin Nelson by e-mail. She requested my full manuscript (again by e-mail) and replied within the time she said she would. Regretably she declined to represent my novel, but she gave me a detailed explanation of her reasons. She seems to be agent on her way up, and I would have no hesitation is recommending her to any writer whose work falls in the areas she represents

  3. #3
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    While most of this thread has little to do with the Nelson Literary Agency (Kristen Nelson), it is the only thread under her name on the Sticky list on the B&BC board. So, I thought I would mention on this thread that I noticed that Kristen Nelson has really been burning up the sales boards over on Publisher's Marketplace. Six deals in the past three months in women's fiction, romance and non-fiction memoir. She's based in Denver, CO and has just started a blog, where she's indicated she's actively seeking fantasy and science fiction novels. (Plus, it's a pretty neat blog to read.)

    Those who are interesting in submitting should look at her website for submission guidelines.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy C
    My good deed for the day!
    And such a nice one. Maybe you should start a thread just for her.
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  5. #5
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Smile Interesting Agent Stats.

    Here's some interesting numbers from the Kristin Nelson Agency. I have no idea how typical these numbers are for the broad cross-section, but you can take them for what it's worth.

    Tri
    A Year in Statistics


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    20,800
    (Estimated number of queries read and responded to in 2006)

    54
    (Number of full manuscripts requested and read)

    8
    (Number of new clients taken on this year)

    21
    (Number of books sold this yearónot counting subsidiary rights stuff)

    6
    (Number of projects currently under submission)

    2
    (Number of auctions held)

    1
    (Number of pre-empts accepted)

    16
    (Number of months for the longest submission that ended in a great sale)

    65,000+
    (Number of copies in print for my best-selling title this year)

    7
    (Number of conferences attended)

    54
    (Number of editor meetings held)

    200
    (Number of Holiday Cards sent)

    4
    (Number of Starbucks eggnog chai beverages consumed in the last week)

    Lots
    (Number of late nights reading partials etc. on the couch with Chutney)

    All
    (Number of great days loving my job)

  6. #6
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    It looks like the number of fulls read directly corresponds with the number of editorial meetings.

    I'd be curious to know how many partials were reaped from that nearly 21,000. Might 1,500 be a good guess?

    Hah, the only place where my agent has got her beat is for the number of conferences attended!

    I'm wondering if about 21,000 writers were looking for agents last year. It stands to reason that Nelson is a large, well known agency, and that anybody with any knowledge or taste might have gone after her. Anyway, it gives some perspective on what the competition is like. You would expect newer or smaller boutique agencies to have lower query numbers for the year, of course.

    21 books sold sounds like that number might be close to half her client list, although I'm not certain how many she and her associates represent.

    I think I'm most surprised by the 65,000 copies of one title sold. Is that for the year only? I would have expected a higher seller to take the number one position. I would call that a very strong mid-lister in MMPB.

    Interesting stuff. She was quite nice/relaxed to post those figures.

    Tri

  7. #7
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    A couple of observations:

    Number of fulls/number of new clients = 6.75, a bit less than my estimate of 10.

    The number of books sold vs the number of new clients indicates that her average client is selling just under three books.

  8. #8
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Ah, my goof. 54 editorial meetings is probably PUBLISHER'S editorial meetings--not agent meetings. So I assume that ultimately 21 books were bought from 54 editorial meeting, and that nearly half were declined in the review process. That's a big round-about number, too. If it's typical or accurate, it would state that roughly 50% of books fail an editorial review process. Course this is subjective.

    Tri

    6 = the number of projects currently under submission. I'm real dense tonight and can't figure out what this means.

  9. #9
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops
    6 = the number of projects currently under submission. I'm real dense tonight and can't figure out what this means.
    If this is the books with fulls at publishers, the number seems low.

  10. #10
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Yeah, I can dig it. I was thinking that too. I had seven fulls sent out by my agent at once. We have 45 in our stable. That's not counting authors with multiple books repped, so that number should be waaaaay higher.

    I'd be interested to know who of the 8 new clients got picked up. Of course it can take a year or more to land a spot, so maybe none of the new clients landed a deal.

    Tri

  11. #11
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    So, if we understand the 90% rule is crap analogy, then about 18,500 manuscripts (queries, actually) bit the dust because of the obvious reasons: inappropriet, wrong genre, sub-standard writing, etc. So maybe 2,300 or so had good/great potential, and out of that 54 made the "I love this" grade.

    An easier formula that somebody gave me simplified things. He believed that the average agency sells 1/3 of the stable per year. I don't know how accurate that is, but it sure seems close. My agency is hitting around 28%. Richard Curtis, my old agent, might be one of the powerhouse exceptions--selling 50-60% of his stable numbers. This does not include all the juicy sub-rights sales--foreign, TV, movie options and other things.

    Tri

  12. #12
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    Numbers

    From my experience, these numbers look about right. They fall right in line with my current agent, and with my last agent.

    The funny thing is I know a couple of agents who received more than twice as many submissions, but had slightly lower request rates, and who took on half as many new clients. I also know one agent who received just over 30,000 queries, requested about 100 partials, about ten fulls from the partials, and took on no new clients because she couldn't find anything she tought a commercial publisher would want.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops
    So, if we understand the 90% rule is crap analogy, then about 18,500 manuscripts (queries, actually) bit the dust because of the obvious reasons: inappropriet, wrong genre, sub-standard writing, etc. So maybe 2,300 or so had good/great potential, and out of that 54 made the "I love this" grade.

    An easier formula that somebody gave me simplified things. He believed that the average agency sells 1/3 of the stable per year. I don't know how accurate that is, but it sure seems close. My agency is hitting around 28%. Richard Curtis, my old agent, might be one of the powerhouse exceptions--selling 50-60% of his stable numbers. This does not include all the juicy sub-rights sales--foreign, TV, movie options and other things.

    Tri
    The agencies I've had or worked with only sold one third or more of their stable each year if you included all the previously published writers they have in tow. They acocount for welol over 90% of all sales. My current agency sells a novel from most of the previously published writers each year, but only about 5% of the unpublished writers in the stable will have a sale.

    When you look at the percentage of a stable with sales, you have to divide the stable into previously published and unpublished writers, or the percentage is meaningless.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops
    It looks like the number of fulls read directly corresponds with the number of editorial meetings.

    I'd be curious to know how many partials were reaped from that nearly 21,000. Might 1,500 be a good guess?

    Hah, the only place where my agent has got her beat is for the number of conferences attended!

    I'm wondering if about 21,000 writers were looking for agents last year. It stands to reason that Nelson is a large, well known agency, and that anybody with any knowledge or taste might have gone after her. Anyway, it gives some perspective on what the competition is like. You would expect newer or smaller boutique agencies to have lower query numbers for the year, of course.

    21 books sold sounds like that number might be close to half her client list, although I'm not certain how many she and her associates represent.

    I think I'm most surprised by the 65,000 copies of one title sold. Is that for the year only? I would have expected a higher seller to take the number one position. I would call that a very strong mid-lister in MMPB.

    Interesting stuff. She was quite nice/relaxed to post those figures.

    Tri
    I doubt it.. A partial takes some time and committment to read. 1,500 is a huge number. No agent I've had could possibly read so many. Many agents have only one or two days per weeks to read queries, partials, and manuscripts. No agent I've had has ever requested more than a couple of hundred partials over the course of a year, tops.

    I assume a new agent with no real stable, or a small agent with a small stable, would be able to request a large number of partials, but partials really do take a lot of time, and when you consider all else an agent has to do with her time, well.

    The one thing I know for certain is that there were one heck of a lot more than 21,000 writers looking for agents last year. I mean, I wish the number was so small.

    At any given time there are six million unpublished novels floating around out there. I doubt anyone knows how many of tehse writers are looking for an agent at any given time, but it's a sizeable percentage. Certianly in the high hundreds of thousands. There are some 1,500 agents out there, and most of them are swamped, many much more so than ths agency.

    Simultaneous submissions make up a good percentage of what they see, but most of the slush doesn't overlap, and even what does overlaps with only a few other agencies.

    If no more than 21,000 writers were looking for agents, then gettign an agent would be easy.

  15. #15
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops
    It stands to reason that Nelson is a large, well known agency
    Kristin definitely has a good name, but it's my impression that it's not a large agency--I don't think she has more than 20-25 clients, which is on the small side. For a not-large agency, that's a very good number of sales to make in a year, even if you assume that some are part of multi-book contracts.

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  16. #16
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    Twenty-one books sold last year.

    This sounds great but . . . What is the average advance on selling the average novel? Even if an advance is paid it isn't very high from what I've read. With a staff of four, plus overheads and rent, 15% won't go very far. Makes me wonder how this agency and many others can survive.

  17. #17
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    agents

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmy
    Twenty-one books sold last year.

    This sounds great but . . . What is the average advance on selling the average novel? Even if an advance is paid it isn't very high from what I've read. With a staff of four, plus overheads and rent, 15% won't go very far. Makes me wonder how this agency and many others can survive.
    Many new agents find they can't survive. But average advance doesn't really mean much. It's who your writers are that natter. If they all happened to be first time writers, you'd starve on 15% of the advances. But if most of them are previously published novelists, and two or three or four sell well enough to draw large advances, you should be fine.

    And one Big Name writer can make you rich in your own right.

    All the novels should draw a decent advance. Most agents won't even submit to publishers that offer no advance, or small advances. There's just no money to be made by selling to small publishers.

  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Nelson Literary Agency, LLC (Kristin Nelson)

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  19. #19
    Still alive. Kind of. caromora's Avatar
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    I sent an email query on Jan. 28th and got a request for the first 30 pages today. I was surprised to find that she doesn't want a synopsis with the 30 pages--surprised and pleased.

    I've never heard anything but praise for Kristin Nelson, and so far my experience has been great--a quick turnaround on my query, and a personalized request for a partial. I also like how their paperless submission database works. I wish more agencies just let you upload your manuscript instead of mailing it!

  20. #20
    Everything is what it seems. Will Lavender's Avatar
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    Love her blog. One of the best on the web, IMO.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by caromora View Post
    I sent an email query on Jan. 28th and got a request for the first 30 pages today. I was surprised to find that she doesn't want a synopsis with the 30 pages--surprised and pleased.



    I've never heard anything but praise for Kristin Nelson, and so far my experience has been great--a quick turnaround on my query, and a personalized request for a partial. I also like how their paperless submission database works. I wish more agencies just let you upload your manuscript instead of mailing it!

    I was also pleased and surprised when she specifically said she didn't want a synopsis. She rejected the novel, but I felt not using a synopsis made a lot of sense. She seems very effecient and I do like paperless submissions.

  22. #22
    Hates Marketing. Loves Writing. The Grump's Avatar
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    She's almost as informative as Mz Snark was. ... Or, is it I prefer snide to nice?

    At one point in her blog, Nelson made a big point about e-queries and electronically efficient offices. Has anyone done any real time/management studies on this?

    Must say, I think that e-queries for the first contact with maybe 3-4 pages makes more sense that paper 3 chapters and synopsis. After reading through the Brandsford opening submissions, it's really obvious who has polished their craft and who hasn't. Though I wish the agencies who only reply WHEN they are INTERESTED would have an automatic rejection button to hit just before they delete the rejections. I wonder how "paper" agents would answer.

  23. #23
    What a desolation. Alexandra Little's Avatar
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    If I ever got Kristin for an agent I think I would have an orgasm and die from the pleasure.

    ...is that appropriate to say on the board?

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  24. #24
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    One thing I love about e-queries and ezine submissions is the auto-reply that lets you know they received it. You don't have to worry that a spam filter gobbled it up. With some of my snail mail submissions, I never know if they were ever received.

    I do wonder though why some will take the time to stuff a form in an envelope and mail it, but can't be bothered to hit an auto-reply reject.




    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra Little View Post
    If I ever got Kristin for an agent I think I would have an orgasm and die from the pleasure.

    ...is that appropriate to say on the board?

    Oh yeah. Cause it's true.

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  25. #25
    Still alive. Kind of. caromora's Avatar
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    Thanks, Soccer Mom!

    For anybody else who has submitted a partial to Kristin--did you get a confirmation after you uploaded your MS on the website?

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