Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How many queries does it take to get representation?

I'll admit I'm a numbers geek. I find statistics comforting. Recently, I put up a post about Persistence versus Denial, asking how many rejections a writer should get before giving up. And I had the most visitors I've had since I started blogging. The number of hits and the comments tell me that I'm not the only one looking for some hard numbers.

Because I am also a research geek, I've done some searching. And I've got some numbers for you. QueryTracker has a page listing their success stories. And on this page, they have links to interviews with writers who have gotten representation. Many of these writers have revealed how many queries they sent before getting their agent. I went through and tabulated the numbers from the last 30 interviews (where the writer answered that question). So here it is, sorted alphabetically by genre...

118    FANTASY
46      FANTASY
4       FANTASY
60     MG
60     MG
53     MG
59     MYSTERY
30     ROMANCE
40     ROMANCE
25     ROMANCE
45     YA
47     YA
100   YA
26     YA
60     YA
102   YA
32     YA
50     YA
39     YA
106   YA
150   YA
20     YA
32     YA
75     YA
96     YA
24     YA SF

And since I admit to being a stats geek, let's break it down.

The average: 57 -- This means the average writer gets 57 rejections before getting an offer of representation
The minimum: 4 -- OK, I'm totally jealous, but really want to read that book.
The maximum: 150 -- Actually, this writer admitted it was between 150 and 200! Talk about perseverance!
The mode: 60 -- The most often recurring number.
The median: 47.5 -- The middle of the road, throwing out the highs and lows.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel SO MUCH BETTER!


  1. Thank you for tabulating these! It's definitely eye-opening.

  2. I'm such a numbers geek, too! I love these stats, thanks for putting them together!

  3. Awesome post. Thanks so much. I guess with only 11 rejections and three "no responses" that I should admit are rejections, I still have a ways to go. I'll get busy tonight and send out some more "Rejection Magnets" as I like to call them. And here I was just about to give up. You've made my day.

  4. This is a great post! I've read all those success stories at Querytracker- some make me feel better and some do the opposite. Every writer has a different path!

  5. 118 queries for a successful answer? Wow. I didn't know that there were that many agents who handled fantasy. Thanks, your post made me feel better. I think. Roland

  6. Fantastic post!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! I will remember this when it's time for me to query... then again the numbers will most likely change... meaning I'll ask you for an update, LOL! It gives you a goal to work off of, which is nice!

  7. Thanks for this... much appreciated!

  8. Those numbers are strangely comforting! Thanks for doing the hard work!

  9. I'd feel better, but it looks to me like YA and MG are the big winners. I see only one that my novel would fit into, and that's commercial fiction. If anything, I now feel more sure of my decision to upload to Kindle.

  10. Thanks for visiting everyone. Yeah, I'm taking great comfort in stats these days.