View Full Version : "Success" Rate of Queries and Rejections

07-08-2016, 11:11 PM
I have a non-fiction piece I've tried to shop around to a few different literary agents, and though they all ended up with a no in the end, I did have some agents indicate interest. Out of 38 total submissions sent, I received (from different agents):

1 request for a full manuscript
3 requests for a partial
2 follow-up e-mail discussions spanning several days as they asked me about the project
The rest were all straight up nos or non-responders.

So that's more than 15% showing some kind of interest in the project, despite them all eventually passing.
That leads me to some questions: Is this a positive sign? Is that a level of interest that is higher or lower than other authors?

Those submissions were from more than a year ago. I ask now because I'm beginning another round of queries with a more polished version and better non-fiction proposal marketing materials, and I'm just trying to get a feel for how well or poorly I did last time round.

07-08-2016, 11:15 PM
You might want to check out this thread: % of queries that result in requests for fulls or partials (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?318758-of-queries-that-result-in-requests-for-fulls-or-partials)

07-08-2016, 11:29 PM
You might want to check out this thread: % of queries that result in requests for fulls or partials (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?318758-of-queries-that-result-in-requests-for-fulls-or-partials)

Thank you for linking that.
The thread was so illuminating, it made me realize my question was entirely meaningless.
Past performance is no indicator of future success.

07-11-2016, 07:02 PM
I wouldn't take such a rate as positive. Nor would I pay any attention at all to rates that are averaged. The only rate that matters is your own. Agents and editors say yes when they see great writing that fits what they're looking for. Always. They also say yes when a query makes them see dollar signs. Always.

It's difficult to control dollar signs, but a writer can control great writing within the query itself, and a writer can control fit. A writer can certainly control originality and creativity. A writer can also control seeing to it that his query is not the same thing an agent or editor has seen a hundred times that week. If you do these things, the success rate is going to skyrocket. If you can't do these things, you're relying on having an agent or editor your query from a hundred others just like it. That is not a good policy.