Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Percentage of Agents have you Queried?

My posts on How Many Queries Does it Take both had hundreds of hits, the highest of any of my posts. You know what that tells me? That you like numbers as much as I do.

Good, because I've got some more for you.

Maybe you've sent out a TONS of queries and you feel like you've sent it to everyone. But you haven't sent it to everyone (at least, in most cases you haven't). And here's how I know.

Once again, I went back to Query Tracker. At last count, they have 1244 literary agents on their database. This is not a definitive list, but a pretty good one. I searched on agents representing the different genres and took a tally of how many are listed. (Again, not every genre is listed here. QT has more listed but I took just the more mainstream fiction genres.)

Let's say you send out 68 queries (which is what the average number of queries it takes based on the success stories in my post. Disclaimer: this is not scientific, just an snapshot based on a self-reporting website).  What percentage of agents representing your genre have you reached?

So if you write literary fiction and send out 68 queries, you have queried only 14% of the agents who represent that genre (as per QT). Granted, if you write in areas like horror, action/adventure or inspirational, 68 queries hits them all and then some. But for the other areas? If you sent out 68 Women's Fiction queries, 24% of the agents may say no, but 76% of agents who represent that genre never see your project.
This of course does not mean you blanket every single agent with queries. You still have to do your homework and choose who might be a good fit. But it might give you some comfort when you think your options are exhausted. There are plenty of agents out there who say QUERY WIDELY!


  1. Something we should all keep in mind when querying. Thanks for the insight!

  2. This is great! Although--for YA, for example, it looks like there are so many, but each of those agents is looking for a particular type, so if you've written a YA paranormal, only a certain number of YA agents are going to want that kind of thing. So you should absolutely query widely (I was *ahem* significantly over 68 when I snagged my agent), but also target your book to what the agent is looking for (more specifically than just genre).

    I do love numbers, though, so these posts are fun to read!

  3. Oh wow. This makes rejection seem so much smaller. 14% sounds a lot better than 68.

  4. Wow, I can't believe how much research you've done. Amazing! I haven't queried anyone but when I have to, I'm going to review your posts.

  5. You rock for doing this.