PDA

View Full Version : How many rejections do you expect for every partial/full request?



wittyusernamehere
10-25-2009, 01:19 AM
Sorry if this is a thread somewhere - I searched but could not find what I was looking for.

My question is: When sending out queries, what percentage of rejections to requests for partials/full should one expect before assuming something is wrong with the query and/or first 5-10 pages? I have read this is a particularly difficult time to be in the slush pile, but when should a writer be tipped off that there is something that needs retooling?

This is my first time through the query spanking machine and any words of wisdom are appreciated.

ETA: Zomg, even this question is getting rejected! Please, a kind word! Beuller?

AngelaA
10-26-2009, 03:05 AM
I remember wondering the same thing...right around the time that I finally got my agent. I'm not sure how to answer this in a way that will put your mind at ease. I suppose if you get no interest...zero requests of any sort then you should maybe be worried. When I queried my first book I got a lot of interest right away...partial and full requests that ended up in rejection. My second book I queried the same agents who requested material in the past...some requested partials and fulls again. And then I got an offer on my first book. It all seemed to happen at around the same time...I was on fire which led to a lot of waiting and then bam...agent offer.

I don't think that there's a perfect method of knowing...a lot of it is persistence, luck, persistence...and timing. Make sure you're querying the right people, the ones who handle your genre. It took me a year of hard querying to get my agent...and in the end it was fluke that I found her and queried when I did.

Red-Green
10-26-2009, 04:01 AM
My general rule of thumb was if I sent 10 queries and didn't get at least one request, I took another look at my query. There were exceptions, like the last book I queried, that was just sufficiently weird that I didn't get anywhere near a 10% request rate. But then it didn't matter.

wittyusernamehere
10-26-2009, 05:03 AM
Thank you both. I very much appreciate the feedback. It has been hard not to go back and change everything with each rejection. I am kind of surprised what a wuss I am turning out to be.

kellion92
10-26-2009, 06:17 PM
I am kind of surprised what a wuss I am turning out to be.

I have spent most of my life avoiding rejection by not putting myself in a position to be rejected. But nothing ever happens unless you TRY, and if you are trying, you are tougher than you think.

Julie Worth
10-26-2009, 06:30 PM
My general rule of thumb was if I sent 10 queries and didn't get at least one request, I took another look at my query.

That's a good rule.

One way to look at this: let's say there are 100 agents you could query in your genre. Based on agents making one offer for every ten full requests, you need about ten fulls out there to have a decent chance. So you'd shoot for a ten percent rate, at a minimum.

wittyusernamehere
10-26-2009, 08:30 PM
Kellion92 - Thank you for those words of wisdom. I am right there with you. It is so much easier not to try and protect the fantasy, I've only recently really started to understand what a cheat it is to do so.

Julie Worth - I hadn't even thought about the percentage of rejection once I had a full out - thank you for this information. Knowing is so much better than being caught by surprise.

I thought I was doing OK since in my first batch, 5 rejections turned around almost immediately. I thought, "Oh, the ones that are not back must be considering." But now I'm busy convincing myself the others have already been rejected and the agent simply cannot be bothered to send out a form.

*sigh* I haven't felt this insecure since junior high.

PoppysInARow
10-26-2009, 11:32 PM
It's hard, truly. One of my techniques is I write more than one query. In one, I focus on the plot element to my story, in another I focus on my character and his voice in so on. Then, when I read the bios, if the agent has something specific they like (Good worldbuilding, a great voice, ect.) I send them the query they would like to see. Hopefully it increases my chances. :D

As for the rejection, I think I agree with Redzilla. 10% is good to shoot for. Don't change your query with every rejection, but start to rethink how you're presenting yourself after the Rs begin to pile up. And always read up on newer and better ways to sell yourself. Because really that's all querying is-- trying to intice a sale.

Julie Worth
10-27-2009, 01:31 AM
I thought I was doing OK since in my first batch, 5 rejections turned around almost immediately. I thought, "Oh, the ones that are not back must be considering." But now I'm busy convincing myself the others have already been rejected and the agent simply cannot be bothered to send out a form.

Yeah, one third will not respond to queries. Some will not respond to requested material. Querytracker.net has data on the response rate and times for individual agents.

wittyusernamehere
10-27-2009, 02:55 AM
PoppysInARow- writing multiple queries sounds like a great idea. Thank you.

Julie Worth - One third? Ugh. Thank goodness for NaNiWriMo, I can distract myself with something else while I wait.

Jamesaritchie
10-27-2009, 07:44 PM
Yeah, one third will not respond to queries. Some will not respond to requested material. Querytracker.net has data on the response rate and times for individual agents.

I think one hundred percent of agents will respond positively to a query they love, and one hundred percent will either not respond, or reject, a query they hate.

Number are meaningless, averages are meaningless. It's always about how good the query is.

Julie Worth
10-27-2009, 10:40 PM
I think one hundred percent of agents will respond positively to a query they love, and one hundred percent will either not respond, or reject, a query they hate.

Number are meaningless, averages are meaningless. It's always about how good the query is.


What's the final measure of how good your query is? Obviously, it's the percent of positive responses. So the meaningless numbers are those you invented for your straw man argument.

Phaeal
10-28-2009, 09:13 PM
Factoring in the third that will simply not reply, I'm running just a tad over 10% right now. So I guess I'll go have a vanilla latte and celebrate!

Any excuse for a vanilla latte...

:D

newgreekwriter
10-29-2009, 12:45 PM
I am still waiting for a reply for my full request. Out of 140 queries, I only received one request for a partial, one for a full, and one for three chapters. That's it...starting to wonder if this is normal or my query letter just sucks.

Angkor
12-03-2009, 07:46 AM
Like PoppiesInaRow, I repeatedly tweaked my query, both improving it over time as well as customizing it a bit for individual agents. In my experience, I got a request for a full for every dozen, or so, rejections/non-responses. I haven't done the calculation on partials. The constant tweaking to improve my query letter ultimately helped me land an agent. So, keep re-reading your query letter with an eye toward making it better. Also, scrutinize the resources (Writers Digest, Agentquery, etc.) which offer guidelines and examples of solid query letters and incorporate what works for you.

blacbird
12-03-2009, 11:27 AM
Infinity, to the power of Avogadro's Number.

caw

Shadow_Ferret
12-03-2009, 08:35 PM
My general rule of thumb was if I sent 10 queries and didn't get at least one request, I took another look at my query. There were exceptions, like the last book I queried, that was just sufficiently weird that I didn't get anywhere near a 10% request rate. But then it didn't matter.

Wow. 10 to 1? I sent out 23 this year and only got one request for a full and that one doesn't really count because it was a nudge from an ignored full I had sent out the previous year (and that query was personalized specifically for that agent).

triceretops
12-07-2009, 03:27 AM
That's a good rule.

One way to look at this: let's say there are 100 agents you could query in your genre. Based on agents making one offer for every ten full requests, you need about ten fulls out there to have a decent chance. So you'd shoot for a ten percent rate, at a minimum.

That's just about what happened to me. Out my 10 full requests, I had three near misses and one offer. Don't know if that is standard or not, but my tally was 10 fulls and 12 partials for 140 agent rejects. Not real spectacular, but good enough to get over that line.

Tri

Stlight
12-07-2009, 10:11 AM
Well, I'm glad I dropped by. I'm no pretty sure my query stinks. I'm making some changes to the book, so it won't be difficult to go back to query hell with it a second time. (Oh yes, it will.) But better there than in the return mail.

Forgot to answer, after 70 rejections no requests I decided to send it to a beta. That was a good move. Of course it was in reverse success order. But now it's in order.

rosiecotton
12-07-2009, 09:11 PM
I had 20 odd rejections before I got a full request, which is fine by me--I write the kind of stuff you're either into or you aren't. If I'd not had the full request, I'd probably be reworking my query about now.

bclement412
12-13-2009, 11:30 PM
I had quite a few rejections before I got a request. I thought something was wrong with my query after getting all those R's, so I ended up adding just one sentence to my query letter, and that made all the difference.