changing up the stats

Well, this morning I asked for another partial, so that’s 50 for this year.

And I also signed a new client — so that’s 6. Which I think is a higher number than ususal. But I’m thrilled to say that I will now be representing Martha Wells. And I’m adding her journal to the sidebar.

Also, in comments on the last post, I was asked:

Wondering two things–one, were any of the five new clients from the
three fulls from partials? And two, would you say, based on talking with
colleagues (both your agency and elsewhere) that this is a pretty average
amount of queries to partials, partials to fulls, fulls to representation?
Thanks for the info!

Two of the partials that I upgraded to full manuscript readings became clients. Of the other four, I read three of them in full right off, and signed one on a partial. According to these stats, my query to partial percentage was .6% — the number I see batted around most often for requests is usally more like 1-2% so I was a bit on the low side this year. I expect to be more aggressive next year, particularly in mystery/suspense/thrillers, fantasy/sf, romance/women’s fiction, and YA. My partial to full percentage was also on the low side for me this year. But the number of clients signed is higher than usual. I believe in 2006 I only signed up 3. That’s probably around typical for an agent with a client list my size and with my experience. Younger, hungrier agents will sometimes sign up more — but the turnover on their lists also tends to be higher as well.

13 responses to “changing up the stats

  1. W00t!
    Welcome, Martha!

  2. Out of the six new clients how many of those were previously published?

    • 3 of them had short story credits, but nothing novel-length
      2 of them had previously published novels (1 of those was branching out into a new genre)
      1 of them had no short story credits, but novels forthcoming that I did not sell

      • Much more useful information than I requested!
        It would almost seem that conquering the short story market improves your “chances” of acquiring an agent’s services — though I’m sure it really boils down to just writing engaging fiction.Period.

        • I think those who have short story credits tend to have more seasoned writing. They’re already submitting, even though it’s not exactly the same game or format. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of writers have difficulty in the transition from short fiction to longer fiction.
          I’m definitely looking for unpublished writers. I sold debut novels this year, too. 🙂

  3. turnover
    I’m interested in the turnover comment. I know of two writers who left their first agents after less than a year because they’d signed on without doing enough research and were excited but then found out the agents weren’t what they needed/hoped/wanted. I am unfortunately in that position now. I had seven agents interested and jumped on one without even waiting for the others to finish reading…big mistake, as I’m learning the hard way. Is this sort of “turnover” common for beginning writers? My current agent hasn’t sold anything, so I’m thinking of making the break now (not because of that though, for many other reasons). Do you think agents will hold this against me as I look for a new one? I’d never say anything bad about my current agent. In fact, I think the agent is a very fine agent, just not the right match for me.

    • Re: turnover
      Turnover is an unfortunate occurrence, but it does happen. It once took me two and a half years to place a novel (now into several printings!), though, so before you jump be sure it’s the right decision. I’ve also seen writers change agents due to anxiety and impatience.
      I don’t think agents would hold it against you unless it begins to look systemic. And, naturally, you shouldn’t bad-mouth anyone (agent, editor, or other writers) because this business relies on strong networking and it’s always smaller than one thinks.
      I cannot stress enough that an author should do as much research as possible before signing up with someone.

      • Re: turnover
        Thanks. The agent has pretty much said that she doesn’t have time for me, which has been the feeling I’ve gotten from the very beginning when it took over a month to get an agency agreement.
        Funny…I did all the things correctly up until the last and final step and then I freaked out and said yes right away. Nothing can prepare you for that moment, I guess.
        Thanks again.

      • Re: turnover
        P.S. What I meant by “My current agent hasn’t sold anything, so I’m thinking of making the break now.” was that it would be cleaner, not that it was her fault or anything. It comes down to the writing, doesn’t it?

  4. Congratulations, Ms. Wells. You have an impressive track record! Best to you and Jennifer! :*)

  5. So I’m guessing you signed one from a partial who had already been published?

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