two links and a statistic of my own

Jay Lake has an entry on the mysterious art of agent-hunting: http://jaylake.livejournal.com/852677.html

Yesterday, my pal Agent Kristen posted the following stats: http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2006/12/year-in-statistics.html I don’t know how she kept track of some of those numbers and I’m not sure how many queries I read this year — a dizzying number, but I don’t think it was quite 20,000!

Per Jay’s entry, I looked at my client list to see if I could find out what percentage of them started with a query and who took different routes. I’m counting currently active clients only. And contrary to Jay’s experience of virtually every writer I’ve spoken to about this has some half-cocked story about how they got hooked up with their agent with respect to those who didn’t go via query, the percentage of my current list who started their professional relationship with me via query is around 70%. The rest include those who I was introduced to at a conference, someone who had a deal on the table, and the mysterious “other” category (AKA those with half-cocked stories).

9 responses to “two links and a statistic of my own

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me if we mentally boosted the number of “non-traditional” agent-finding tales, simply because those tend to be a bit more interesting, and thus more memorable.
    Which would you remember?
    “I queried, sent a partial, sent a full, and got an offer of representation.”
    or
    “Oh man, I was at this convention and there were these penguins, and one of them was on fire, so I leapt to put the poor guy out, and in the process, I accidentally knocked Jennifer Jackson into the Emperor Penguin. Old E.P. landed right in the salad dressing, and he wasn’t happy. So after we fought off a mob of angry ranch-flavored penguins, we got to talking, and I mentioned I had written this great SF novel…”

    • Well, sure. I’m not people bother to tell stories that begin “I wrote this letter…” Either that or I don’t hang around with normal writers. Whoever they are…

      • “Either that or I don’t hang around with normal writers. Whoever they are…”
        Let me know if you find any.
        Personally, my agent story was a panicked set of phone calls saying, “I just got an offer on a book that was published only this publisher doesn’t realize it and HELP ME!!!” No penguins, though.

  2. I’ve met a couple of agents at conferences, but none that really ‘fit’ with my writing style (although I got along quite well with a couple of them)…sometimes I wonder if there are writers who are just not going to ‘click’ with an agent and have to find their own way with editors.

  3. queries
    It is encouraging that so many of your clients found you by querying!
    Hope springs eternal 🙂

  4. I think I called you up and said “help!”
    Does that count as a query?

  5. (AKA those with half-cocked stories).
    Or maybe quarter-cocked.
    Well, my editor knew you first, and gave you CODE to read, I think in manuscript. We met at cons a few times–at a long ago Wiscon, you bought the first mussels I ever ate.
    Call it the meandering route…

  6. Oh, I’m definitely in the “half-cocked” percentage!
    I was with a new agent at Don Maass, and when she left to join another agency, I had two choices: follow her, or take Don’s suggestion to work with an even newer agent (who also left the agency about a month later).
    I sugested to Don that I’d much rather approach Jenn, and he agreed this was a great idea. And here we are. 🙂

  7. Writer / Agent partnership
    I find the writer / agent partnership much like playing Blind Man’s Bluff in the Grand Canyon. I’m still very naïve to the process but I’m learning. I believe the query letter process is part sales pitch, part resume. I should have listened to my Sociology professor’s advice. My resume would be stronger.
    It’s good to know that the query process is the primary means to finding an agent. With all the queries an agent receives I would be curious to know how much of an advantage having any experience or publications helps the writer to get noticed.
    With the numbers of queries that are received I’m amazed how an agent can go through them all.

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