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kidcharlemagne
01-08-2012, 02:45 AM
Agent Kirstin Nelson's query stats for '011 as reported in her blog. (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2012/01/2011-year-end-stats.html)

Bron
01-08-2012, 07:45 AM
Stats like that make me want to hide under my couch.

Old Hack
01-08-2012, 03:01 PM
If you read the stats in association with Making Light's Slushkiller you'll feel a lot better.

heyjude
01-08-2012, 04:08 PM
I saw that. Crazy, isn't it? Are there really that many people writing and querying books?!

Katrina S. Forest
01-08-2012, 04:36 PM
The total number of queries doesn't bother me. Only a small percentage of those authors actually know what a query is supposed to be. Of them, not everyone can write one and of those, only some wrote books the agent would be interested in. (If the post said we got several thousand queries that did all of that, then I'd be on edge.)

I feel pretty confident about my queries, they do what they're supposed to. I'm much more concerned about making sure the manuscript my query describes is publishable quality.

After all, a no at the full request stage is still a no, regardless of how encouraging it is.

EDIT: Just checked the NaNoWriMo website, and it looks like 36,000 is just about the exact number of winners they had this year. Take into account all the novels written every year outside of NaNo... yeah, that's a lot of queries.

waylander
01-08-2012, 07:17 PM
The more telling stat is 7 clients signed from 69 full requests.
Approx 1:10 chance of getting signed if they request your full manuscript

Old Hack
01-08-2012, 07:32 PM
Except that working out the odds like that isn't useful, because the odds are different for every single book that's written. I've seen subs which had no chance at all of ever being published by a reputable house; and I've seen subs which were almost certainly going to get published.

Toothpaste
01-09-2012, 12:09 AM
I wrote a blog post inspired by Nelson's stats this time last year. It's about why the odds don't matter. I think it makes sense for me to link to it again here. While it is fascinating to see the numbers, please PLEASE remember, they don't actually mean anything for you as an individual author:

http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2010/01/its-not-about-odds.html

IceCreamEmpress
01-09-2012, 12:22 AM
The more telling stat is 7 clients signed from 69 full requests.
Approx 1:10 chance of getting signed if they request your full manuscript

Nah, that's not accurate: you're not taking into account the people who were offered representation but who went with another agency.

If they had said how many offers of representation came out of the 69 full requests, that would be a more useful figure.

MysteryRiter
01-09-2012, 01:34 AM
36k queries and only 69 full requests? Is that normal? It seems pretty low to me but then again, I'm no agent. However, it does make me feel a little happier about my full requests... :)

writerGDW
01-09-2012, 02:07 AM
to me the 69 full requests is more telling than the sheer number of queries.

waylander
01-09-2012, 02:57 AM
Nah, that's not accurate: you're not taking into account the people who were offered representation but who went with another agency.

If they had said how many offers of representation came out of the 69 full requests, that would be a more useful figure.

Good point.

And yes, the odds say nothing about the prospects for your manuscript.
If you have written an excellent book then the odds of getting an offer from a full manuscript request are 1.

Turndog-Millionaire
01-09-2012, 03:00 AM
wow, some huge numbers, but like others have said, it shouldn't really have any baring on YOU as an individual. I can imagine a huge number of them 36,000 are utter crap and from people simply not ready. Imagine how many work emails you get, mine is usually dozens and dozens, and i know many who get hundreds (if not thousands a day)

But what % of all them are actually useful and important?

In my experience not too many...

Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

Filigree
01-09-2012, 04:31 AM
Depends on the quality of writing, both query and mms.

The Nelson Agency gave me form rejections in 2009 and early 2011, on an awkward query letter that didn't do a mms justice (it's since been trunked, pending beta readers' responses.) On a completely new project and an effective query letter, they asked for a partial one day after I queried. I'm fairly confident this new project will find a home with Nelson, another agency, or publisher. It's a better book. I'm not in a vacuum about my guess, either -- I'm getting personalized rejections and sales from short fiction, now. Through hard work and learning, I've raised my chances much higher out of that initial pile of 35,000 to 40,000 queries.

Many years ago, I was a summer intern for a literary agent. I got to read the slush pile entries that people spent money to print and mail. Out of her backlog of 300 queries, I think I flagged 10. Of those, she ultimately asked for only 2. That was over a two-month period in 1988. With email, agents are getting hundreds of queries a day.

The most effective thing we can do as writers is ignore the statistics and focus on our writing.

CrastersBabies
01-10-2012, 12:38 AM
Something else to consider, Kristen's agency goes above and beyond when it comes to selling the manuscript. Where most agents give up after 10-15 solicitations to publishers, they are the Energizer bunny of the literary agent world.

So, I imagine you wouldn't take on clients that you were "iffy" about.

I attended a query letter "workshop" with one of the agents (Sarah) and she said that 90% (or more) of what comes in doesn't fall within their submission guidelines: submitting genres they don't represent, writing a 5-page synopsis instead of a query letter, bad grammar, bad spelling. So, those numbers are coming from a smaller "pool" of people who knew what they were doing and could follow directions AND who cared enough about their query letters to proofread for spelling and grammar.

You look at an online community like this message board and we are such a tiny little blip on the radar. I would wager that most writers don't have the benefit of the resources here. I would also say that those who come here and take their craft seriously (and take suggestions seriously), will have a far better go of it.

You give me 10 random people who don't bother with internet forums (or websites that assist in querying) and 10 people from this board and I'd put my money on the boarders any day.

Just my take. :)

thebloodfiend
01-10-2012, 12:51 AM
That's only 100 queries a day.

It's not hard to estimate that 90% of those queries are really, really bad. I mean, people come to QLH who've never read Query Shark.

So that's 10 possibly decent queries every day. I'd say half of those are just meh. So that leaves 1800 decent queries a year that might appeal to an agent. From that, how many make it past the first five pages? A partial? And remember that most agents are getting the same queries.

stormie
01-10-2012, 12:53 AM
36k queries and only 69 full requests? Is that normal? It seems pretty low to me but then again, I'm no agent. However, it does make me feel a little happier about my full requests... :)
The bulk of those queries are really bad, like "Hey, agent, I'm the next best thing!" Or "Dear Sir" to a woman. Or they're pitching a children's PB to an agent who only reps women's fiction. Or the novel is only half-completed.

Old Hack
01-10-2012, 01:55 AM
90% (or more) of what comes in doesn't fall within their submission guidelines: submitting genres they don't represent, writing a 5-page synopsis instead of a query letter, bad grammar, bad spelling. So, those numbers are coming from a smaller "pool" of people who knew what they were doing and could follow directions AND who cared enough about their query letters to proofread for spelling and grammar.

What was that I wrote upstream? Hang on, wasn't this it?


If you read the stats in association with Making Light's Slushkiller you'll feel a lot better.

Yep, that's what I wrote.

Slushkiller. It explains it all. (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html)

Jamesaritchie
01-10-2012, 02:07 AM
Something else to consider, Kristen's agency goes above and beyond when it comes to selling the manuscript. Where most agents give up after 10-15 solicitations to publishers, they are the Energizer bunny of the literary agent world.

. :)

Every good agent keeps submitting as long as there's a place to submit that won't harm the writer's future chances.

Jamesaritchie
01-10-2012, 02:10 AM
Nah, that's not accurate: you're not taking into account the people who were offered representation but who went with another agency.

If they had said how many offers of representation came out of the 69 full requests, that would be a more useful figure.


The numbers are low, if anything. Yes, some of these will find representation with other agencies, but those others agencies are saying no to at least as many, and some agencies say no to one hell of a lot more writers.

There may be a tiny bit of trade off, but not enough to matter. And representation, of course, doesn't mean a sale.

Jamesaritchie
01-10-2012, 02:36 AM
I saw that. Crazy, isn't it? Are there really that many people writing and querying books?!

It's difficult to believe how many are writing and querying novels. This agency receives more queries than many, but fewer that some others. You can find writers on here who have queried up to 350 agents, and that's for one kind of books.

Millions want to be writers, and millions of novels are making the rounds.

MysteryRiter
01-10-2012, 02:58 AM
You give me 10 random people who don't bother with internet forums (or websites that assist in querying) and 10 people from this board and I'd put my money on the boarders any day.


But then you'd be betting on me! That could get ugly and really lighten your wallet... :D

Katrina S. Forest
01-10-2012, 04:57 AM
The more telling stat is 7 clients signed from 69 full requests.
Approx 1:10 chance of getting signed if they request your full manuscript

Cool. I'm going to pretend that applies across all agents. Now my offer of representation should arrive any day now! ^_^

CrastersBabies
01-10-2012, 08:59 AM
What was that I wrote upstream? Hang on, wasn't this it?



Yep, that's what I wrote.

Slushkiller. It explains it all. (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html)

Didn't see the link. Didn't click it. Just wrote what I'd heard first hand. A thousand apologies.

CrastersBabies
01-10-2012, 09:00 AM
Every good agent keeps submitting as long as there's a place to submit that won't harm the writer's future chances.

Well, the question begs to be asked: how many "good" agents are out there?

Bron
01-10-2012, 12:10 PM
When I first replied, I didn't take into account that most of the queries would be dreck. Your responses have coaxed me out from under the couch... and ironically enough I found a full request on emerging, which those stats made me feel even better about getting. (It wasn't from NLA but still.)

heyjude
01-10-2012, 03:43 PM
Congrats, Bron! See what coming out from under the couch does for you? :tongue

LTMadison
01-10-2012, 08:55 PM
Some interesting banter here, but not all of it is particularly logical. For one thing, there seems to be a smug belief that the majority of inquiries out there are written by oddballs and incompetents. It might be pretty to think so, but I'd like to see the evidence. Even if true, to suggest that this amount of noise has no impact on serious inquiries seems just wrong. It's like saying, "I don't care how many cars or bad drivers are on the freeway, I'm a great driver and my Ferrari will make it downtown without a hitch." Clutter does have an effect.

"And yes, the odds say nothing about the prospects for your manuscript.
If you have written an excellent book then the odds of getting an offer from a full manuscript request are 1."

Well, it would be pretty to think so. But I recently attending a reading by Mike Mullin whose YA book Ashfall is selling well. He sent out stacks of queries to agents and still doesn't have representation. (He sold directly to publisher.) The lionized literary novel of 2011, The Art of Fielding, was rejected widely by agents. And thinking back, how about the amazing Confederacy of Dunces whose author committed suicide after a decade of despairing over finding an advocat for it.

Confidence is a wonderful thing, but overconfidence is hubris and dangerous to one's mental health.

heyjude
01-10-2012, 09:02 PM
:welcome: LTMadison.


I'd like to see the evidence.

I suggest you go read some agent blogs for a while. You'll start catching the drift.

Old Hack
01-10-2012, 09:19 PM
Some interesting banter here, but not all of it is particularly logical. For one thing, there seems to be a smug belief that the majority of inquiries out there are written by oddballs and incompetents. It might be pretty to think so, but I'd like to see the evidence.

The only evidence I can provide directly is anecdotal, and is based on the years I've spent working my way through various slush piles as an editor. Very little of the submissions that I received were even appropriate for the publisher I worked for: for example, when I was working for a packager which only dealt with adult esoteric non-fiction I received submissions of poetry, picture books for children, and novels. The quality of 90% of it was unpublishable; a proportion of it was unreadable; and a small percentage of it was scary, bonkers, libellous, illegal or all four.

If you don't believe me, go and read Slushkiller which I linked to in an earlier comment here.


Even if true, to suggest that this amount of noise has no impact on serious inquiries seems just wrong. It's like saying, "I don't care how many cars or bad drivers are on the freeway, I'm a great driver and my Ferrari will make it downtown without a hitch." Clutter does have an effect.

That's a poor analogy. When you're driving down a motorway you're at risk from being hit by those poor drivers: you have to pay attention to them all while you're driving your own car. When you're reading submissions you read them one at a time: you don't read one while all your colleagues read the others out loud to you.



"And yes, the odds say nothing about the prospects for your manuscript.
If you have written an excellent book then the odds of getting an offer from a full manuscript request are 1."

Well, it would be pretty to think so. But I recently attending a reading by Mike Mullin whose YA book Ashfall is selling well. He sent out stacks of queries to agents and still doesn't have representation. (He sold directly to publisher.) The lionized literary novel of 2011, The Art of Fielding, was rejected widely by agents.

There are always going to be exceptions to the rule but we can't all be exceptions--because then those exceptions would be the norm. And I'm not quite sure what your point is here.


And thinking back, how about the amazing Confederacy of Dunces whose author committed suicide after a decade of despairing over finding an advocat for it.

I never have liked eggnog. But I wouldn't kill myself over it.


Confidence is a wonderful thing, but overconfidence is hubris and dangerous to one's mental health.

Wow. I've never thought that telling people how publishing works, based on my thirty years' or so of experience of working in the business, could be damaging to my mental health. Thanks for the warning.

quicklime
01-10-2012, 09:28 PM
Confidence is a wonderful thing, but overconfidence is hubris and dangerous to one's mental health.


overconfidence like coming and arguing in a thread where a fair slice of the posters have worked slush piles? smugness like popping by long enough to dismiss the folks here, many of whom have SOLD work and gone through the process, as smug and/or illogical? :tongue


welcome, fellow madisonian. you may want to read around a bit. Yes, you can point to dozens of books that were widely tossed by agents and later sold, but that doesn't really say anything to refute that they get tons of crap, especially since, to the best of my knowledge, none of the examples were widely trashed as crap, they were simply rejected. Maybe the agent's catalog was full, maybe they were a bad fit, maybe they simply disliked it--even if it was good. On the flip side, that doesn't mean bad writing is somehow not really bad, or that a large slice of the queries floating around must be for the next Confederacy of Dunces. What's more, like the "pretty" example of Dunces, but to be fair, I strongly suspect you haven't see the query for that book, either, which could have been the exact sort of query we're talking about in the first place. The fact some good books were passed on doesn't mean there's no slush pile, it means some good books slipped by. Often because of bad fit, or bad queries and/or manuscripts which went through several revisions before showing enough promise.

A lot of the stuff IS bad. That doesn't make anyone's odds of getting published "good", but if you said twenty people out of a thousand were gonna get laid in the next twenty minutes, it would be silly not to point out that the models in the room, those already engaged in heavy petting, etc. stood much greater odds than the overall 20:1000 odds. Bad analogy, but as mentioned, there are factors to consider, including many, many piss-poor queries. If you haven't, come to QLH and hang out a bit. Note how many people come in after subbing a query thirty, fifty times. Now figure how many never come to begin with.

I don't know what your odds are if you have a good story and know what you are doing, but I'm very confident in the 90% or greater just being wrong, for various reasons. That means a tightly-written query, thrown to the right agent, is already part of a much smaller sub-population with much higher acceptance rates. There is nothing "smug" about that at all, and there are several links in this thread, especially after my post, to prove it if you care to look.

IceCreamEmpress
01-10-2012, 09:32 PM
LT Madison, have you ever been part of a hiring process? You know how about half of the applicants are totally unqualified? Slush piles are like that, only the percentage of totally unqualified applicants is much, much higher.

(I was once on a search committee for the CFO of a small college, and I was stunned by how many people just tore the ad out of the Chronicle of Higher Education and wrote their "qualifications" in pen next to the job description and then mailed it to us. There were over ten of these.)

stormie
01-10-2012, 10:00 PM
Some interesting banter here, but not all of it is particularly logical. For one thing, there seems to be a smug belief that the majority of inquiries out there are written by oddballs and incompetents. It might be pretty to think so, but I'd like to see the evidence.
Read any agent's blog. There are many, and all stating that most of the queries they get seem to be written by people who have not a clue how to write a query, let alone a book.

Here are a few:
http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/

http://pubrants.blogspot.com/

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

There are others, and many blogs by editors regarding queries.

quicklime
01-10-2012, 10:16 PM
Wow. I've never thought that telling people how publishing works, based on my thirty years' or so of experience of working in the business, could be damaging to my mental health. Thanks for the warning.


you're a cat with an AK-47. the mental health ship has sailed....

Filigree
01-10-2012, 10:33 PM
?

I'm not sure if this thread is devolving into a circus worthy of popcorn, or not. I await further developments. Or film at eleven.

Old Hack
01-10-2012, 10:34 PM
Quicklime, you might have a point. Ha!

And now, everyone, let's make sure we remain on-topic and respectful of our fellow writers. I don't want to have to start banning people (especially not myself) so help me out here, thank you.

Filigree
01-11-2012, 12:23 AM
Understood, Old Hack.

As for the original topic, yes, there is a deluge of inappropriately researched and/or bad queries hitting every agent with a PO Box or email account. In this economy, and in a culture which lionizes the 'everyman makes good' trope, millions of people want to write a book. Most of those cannot.

At the risk of sounding a bit elitist, AW is one of the institutions whose members are probably at the higher end of the query spectrum, just from reading and researching the information available here. I know my year and a half on AW has taught me more than I'd learned in the previous ten years solo.

Playing the statistics game is just a distraction to writers. We have no control over the thousands of other queries directly competing with ours. Knowing the numbers doesn't help. We can help ourselves with diligent agent and publisher research, by crafting a great manuscript, and by sending a snappy query to the right places.

Bron
01-11-2012, 12:39 AM
Congrats, Bron! See what coming out from under the couch does for you? :tongue

Lol, thanks! Yes, there's a lesson in there somewhere...




At the risk of sounding a bit elitist, AW is one of the institutions whose members are probably at the higher end of the query spectrum, just from reading and researching the information available here. I know my year and a half on AW has taught me more than I'd learned in the previous ten years solo.


Agreed. Any requests I've gotten have been after workshopping my query here. There was only the sound of crickets before then...

kidcharlemagne
01-11-2012, 01:12 AM
From the slushpile this one made me laugh out loud :D

WRITER: My dream agent is Andrew Wylie, but it seems that he only handles big name authors, so Iím querying you.

AGENT: This is eerily similar to the way my wife accepted my marriage proposal.

LTMadison
01-11-2012, 02:53 AM
Thanks for the additional insights. I defer to all those who have weathered the slush pile. My point remains: the more garbage that circulates, the less time and attention for serious inquiries. But is it a 100% surety that every deserving manuscript receives its commensurate attention? How about those fascinating examples, such as the Joyce Carol Oates novel that couldn't find a publisher under a pseudonym or the resubmission of a National Book Award winner to agents and publishers to neither recognition or acceptance (I think it was Steps)?

thebloodfiend
01-11-2012, 03:03 AM
Thanks for the additional insights. I defer to all those who have weathered the slush pile. My point remains: the more garbage that circulates, the less time and attention for serious inquiries. But is it a 100% surety that every deserving manuscript receives its commensurate attention? How about those fascinating examples, such as the Joyce Carol Oates novel that couldn't find a publisher under a pseudonym or the resubmission of a National Book Award winner to agents and publishers to neither recognition or acceptance (I think it was Steps)?

Have you read the story about the dude who submitted Pride and Prejudice to publishers and got nothing but rejections?

Editors and agents are more well read than you and me. They probably sensed the "joke" and rejected out of glee.

This is old news.

LTMadison
01-11-2012, 07:51 PM
"Editors and agents are more well read than you and me."

This is another puzzling comment. My agent is always complaining about lack of time to do any recreational reading -- between sifting though 100s of queries a week, reading submissions, and helping writers prepare manuscripts for editorial submission. I understand that you are young and probably spend a lot of time on your computer, but I'm puzzled by the "you" since I was the previous poster. So many books, and so little time, but I've been doing my best for many years. If indeed editors and agents are significantly better read than the writers sending them proposals, this could go a long way to explaining the quality of the slush piles which have been previously lamented.

quicklime
01-11-2012, 08:08 PM
they may not have time for "pleasure-reading", but they do a hell of a lot of business reading. Think how many partials and fulls they have to read as part of selecting that 16 books or whatever per year they represent...

Esmeralda
01-11-2012, 08:28 PM
I have only the greatest respect for agents and their staff. The sheer amount of stuff they have to sift through is enormous. Finding a needle in a haystack would be beyond my level of patience.

I am willing to take my time in this business. Had some fulls out and in talking to agents about the writing have come to understand the business to a better degree. It is so much more than your writing. It's the market at the time, the agent's current list, their ability to find the proper publisher for your work, ect.

Some bad apples in the mix, of course, but finding the right "fit", for both you and the agent is all about luck and timing, as well as the writing. It will come, in time, if you keep at it.

Just the thoughts of a writer not yet published, but still at it! Es

Old Hack
01-11-2012, 09:04 PM
But is it a 100% surety that every deserving manuscript receives its commensurate attention? How about those fascinating examples, such as the Joyce Carol Oates novel that couldn't find a publisher under a pseudonym or the resubmission of a National Book Award winner to agents and publishers to neither recognition or acceptance (I think it was Steps)?

Not this old chestnut again. I refer you to a comment I made here just last week (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6883216&postcount=31) about this very thing.


they may not have time for "pleasure-reading", but they do a hell of a lot of business reading. Think how many partials and fulls they have to read as part of selecting that 16 books or whatever per year they represent...

Very few agents will offer to represent as many as 16 new writers in a year. I'd guess that the average is more like two or three. An agent I know has only taken on one new client in the last three years.

quicklime
01-11-2012, 09:45 PM
Not this old chestnut again. I refer you to a comment I made here just last week (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6883216&postcount=31) about this very thing.



Very few agents will offer to represent as many as 16 new writers in a year. I'd guess that the average is more like two or three. An agent I know has only taken on one new client in the last three years.

but I said books; I believe they handle a somewhat similar number of new SALES in a year, correct?

Any agent taking 16 new clients, I would assume they were brand new and had nobody in their stable yet

Old Hack
01-11-2012, 11:13 PM
but I said books;

Agents represent authors, not books.


I believe they handle a somewhat similar number of new SALES in a year, correct?

Are you suggesting agents make an average of just 16 sales a year? I think either I've misunderstood you or you're very wrong, because good agents make far more sales than that every year. They might work on, say, 15-40 books a year, depending on how many author-clients they have: but each one of those books will probably be sold in several different formats and languages. Agents will make a handful of sales per title; I have an agent-friend who aims to make 20-30 sales for every title her author-clients write.


Any agent taking 16 new clients, I would assume they were brand new and had nobody in their stable yet

Yep. Or a dodgy agent, or one who didn't know what they were doing.

quicklime
01-11-2012, 11:38 PM
Agents represent authors, not books.
granted, but I did not say "take on 16 authors"; they represent authors but continue to sell subsequent works as well, barring a separation, correct? I think, as below, careless wording on my part :-(




Are you suggesting agents make an average of just 16 sales a year? I think either I've misunderstood you or you're very wrong, because good agents make far more sales than that every year. They might work on, say, 15-40 books a year, depending on how many author-clients they have: but each one of those books will probably be sold in several different formats and languages. Agents will make a handful of sales per title; I have an agent-friend who aims to make 20-30 sales for every title her author-clients write.
I admit I took a stab at how many sales they had, just guessing, but I was also referring to how many titles they were selling in a year, not if that included hard and paper, here and in france, plus an australian small press, and then calling that 5 sales....poor wording on my part, the point originally was that even if you say an agent has little time for "pleasure reading" (LT's comment) they're still reading an awful lot of partials and fulls even to hit the say 16 titles
they agree to take on. You're far closer to the industry than I am--is this off?


Yep. Or a dodgy agent, or one who didn't know what they were doing.


.

Old Hack
01-12-2012, 12:46 AM
I'm sorry to be so picky but if you ask me a question, could you try to do it using the standard AW colours? I have poor vision and reading different colours is difficult. Also, it's much easier to answer you if you use the quote function properly. I know. Picky, picky, picky. I just can't help myself.

Right. Onto your questions.


I admit I took a stab at how many sales they had, just guessing, but I was also referring to how many titles they were selling in a year, not if that included hard and paper, here and in france, plus an australian small press, and then calling that 5 sales....poor wording on my part,

Ah, right. I see now. I don't think it was necessarily poor wording from you, just a lack of precision and perhaps a lack of knowledge of how this side of things work. Which is why I'm such a stickler for trying to use the right terminology all the time, and being pedantic and so forth. Yep, it makes me a pain to deal with sometimes: but I hope that it also means that things are clearer, in the long run, and that we all develop a clearer understanding of how it works.


the point originally was that even if you say an agent has little time for "pleasure reading" (LT's comment) they're still reading an awful lot of partials and fulls even to hit the say 16 titles
they agree to take on. You're far closer to the industry than I am--is this off?

I'm not quite sure what you're asking here but I'll hazard a guess.

Suppose an agent has 40 clients, and they each send in one new manuscript every year. That's only 40 books an agent is obliged to read every year--plus, of course, those 40 books will have to be reread once they've been edited in English, so we're up to 80 books. It sounds a lot but it's not even two each week, and I usually read two novels a week on top of everything else I do. As do several of my friends.

As for partials and fulls: relatively few are read. I think the blogpost which inspired this thread said that the agent concerned requested just 69 fulls. So now we're up to about three mss a week which isn't too much, is it? Especially as that reading is part of the agent's job and so there might just be time for it during office hours (yes, I know that's going to be difficult but it does happen). It does leave time for reading for pleasure.

Is that what you were asking?

quicklime
01-12-2012, 12:54 AM
Is that what you were asking?


no, i was suggesting (and my numbers were off anyway) that if an agent took on sixteen new pieces a year (ok, off there on the low side) they probably read several times as many fulls along the way before deciding they weren't right, so say 16 x 4 = 64, meaning they read over a book a week as "business reading". You had 80 books by now, more than me despite my over-inflated guess at fulls they read and rejected.

The point was to the person who said agents were too busy for "pleasure reading"--ignoring the whole "you make time for things you want to make time for" argument (an agent with no time to pleasure read is like a writer with no time to write...you either find time, or don't) I was just pointing out they probably were quite well-read if nothing else because they are in the business of evaluating and selling new works. Because I find the argument they may not be all that well-read somewhat difficult to swallow.


as for the red, sorry....i forget you're, like, really old and stuff :tongue
I like the red because it is easy to see when i insert text, but unfortunately you aren't the only person who mentioned it is a problem....I need a new go-to color maybe

thebloodfiend
01-12-2012, 01:00 AM
as for the red, sorry....i forget you're, like, really old and stuff :tongue
I like the red because it is easy to see when i insert text, but unfortunately you aren't the only person who mentioned it is a problem....I need a new go-to color maybe

Dark blue is easy on the eyes. Just don't go for white or grey.

kidcharlemagne
01-12-2012, 03:54 AM
Because I find the argument they may not be all that well-read somewhat difficult to swallow.

I always assumed that 'well-read' referred to having read an eclectic mix of published works in the realm of contemporary/classical literature, philosophy, history, essays, various non-fiction etc rather than partials and fulls by unrepresented or unpublished writers.

Old Hack
01-12-2012, 10:59 AM
Oh, I did get that completely wrong, didn't I? Sorry! But yes, you have a point.

About the quoting thing: instead of using a different colour, why don't you use the quote boxes to split your text up? Just press "quote" to quote the comment like you're doing at the moment, but then split the quote up into paragraphs and make sure you surround each piece you want to discuss with this:

<quote>the text you want to quote</quote>

Only instead of using pointy brackets <> use square ones [] instead.

An alternative way would be to highlight the text you want to quote, once it's in the box where we type our replies, and click on the "quote" button in the top of that reply box--it looks like a little yellowish speech-bubble. That will put those tags around the highlighted text automatically.

I'm sure there's an FAQ about this somewhere.