I've been looking over my submissions list this week to see what I did (or didn't do!) in 2015.
Here's a rundown:
My general sense is I get about 100 queries a week.
That's 5200 queries a year.
In 2014 I requested 75 projects (both fiction and non-fiction)
In 2015 I requested 63 projects (both fiction and non-fiction)
I've still got six pending, so those will carry over into 2016, although they'll retain their 2015 number so I know to read them before starting on 2016-01.
From 2013-2015 I still have four people working on requested revisions.
In 2014 5 projects were withdrawn before I'd read them.
In 2015 3 projects were withdrawn before I'd read them.
In 2015 I signed four new clients:
2 were for fiction projects
2 were for non-fiction projects
3 came to me from incoming queries.
1 came from a referral from a friend of mine and fellow writer of his.
One of those four was familiar because he'd won one of the writing contests on the blog. Yes, I keep track of those writers.
I sold about 25 projects in 2015, although looking at Publisher's
Marketplace you would not know that. A lot of the deals won't be
announced until closer to publication date. And I sold one book three
times so only one deal actually got announced.
doesn't count the deals we were offered and turned down. For a while
this year I was laughing that I'd turned down more deals than I'd taken,
but that stopped being funny right about March!
So what does this mean for you: This is a numbers game. Don't query one agent at a time, no matter what. Don't take rejection as anything other than your cue to send out another query to a new agent. You have NO idea why I didn't take on your project. Don't try to parse it out; don't think it's cause you're not a good writer.
Notice that one of the two fiction projects was from a writing contest winner? Yea, me too. And the other was a referral from a friend who knew the writer. Yes, it helps if I know you. Or at least it did this year.
I've signed and sold people from my query inbox that didn't have the advantage of a referral or a contest win. It's still the most common way all agents find new clients. BUT it doesn't hurt to have a leg up. So if you're nervous about entering a contest, think of it as a good way to get ahead of the other query writers. It sure can't hurt.