Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Requested full stats 2016

I know you guys like to torment yourselves by looking at agent stats, so here's something to gnaw on while you fix the plot hole in chapter 14, and the pacing at the end.

By comparison I requested about 65 ms in 2015, and 77 in 2014.

I've signed one client from the incoming queries this year.
I signed 2 in 2015, and 2 in 2014.

I signed one client in 2015 that came to me indirectly. (In other words, too much of a weird path to ever be replicated by someone else. Sufficient unto the day to say: being nice to agents at conferences is always a good idea.)

The lines with no date in the right hand column are still pending a decision.
I'm hoping to get those done by the end of the year.

I'm sure you have questions!


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

No questions here.
Back to plot holes and pacing because I can't think of anything light-hearted and amusing to temper the significance of your spreadsheet.

CynthiaMc said...

For the first time in a while I am sending Christmas cards. That's been my writing this week. There's a story there. I'm also working on it. Joy, sorrow, tears, laughter, the whole spectrum of Christmases past and the hope of Christmases to come.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I feel like by the end (of a novel, anyway), I've the pacing nailed (this is why "I statements" are important. I feel I have the pacing nailed. I haven't queried enough or enough novels to have third party professional opinion on this). It's when I Ouroboros around back to the beginning that I see my initial issues and need to start smoothing everything down so the novel agrees with itself.

We writers do like tormenting ourselves with statistics, though. Just as inscrutable and messy as entrails for divining our publishing futures!

Donnaeve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donnaeve said...

More coffee needed. I had to delete my first comment due to one too many typos! Grrr.

First of all, putting my big fat CONGRATULATIONS here to John Dammit (MS) Frain! No telling what tickles a shark on a Monday, but, evidently it was baboons, orangutans, and the like!

Out of all these requests for fulls, the first thing I did was count what I would call the "hopefuls," those who are pending as you pointed out. BUT, b/c you've snipped part of the words in your decision column, and although I can make out what some of those are (i.e. author signed with another agent)and one is under R&R, and one the author withdrew to do revisions...I'm still curious about those I can't read. The "withdrawn: auth...." and "pass in favor o...," etc.

The way I'm thinking this morning - pass in favor of meant accepting a ms written by Dino Saur called PORNKING, instead of EAT KALE OR DIE.


E.M. Goldsmith said...

What Donna said. No coffee yet. Brain still in off position. Migraine threatening. Hoping for clarity later in day. Or a coma.

Colin Smith said...

Wow--53 requests. That's about one a week. If one extrapolates that out, by use of a complex mathematical formula, you must get... a heckuva lot of queries!

Donna: Here's my take on the abbreviated text:

Withdraw: acce-- = Withdraw: access to whiskey denied
pass in favor of-- = pass in favor of night in with Jack Reacher
Withdraw: auth-- = Withdraw: author scared off--prospect of competing with John "The Manuscript" Frain
writer signed e-- = writer signed electrically--thought it was the same as electronically; recovering in hospital.
Author had sign-- = Author had signed with Barbara Poelle also; I lost the drinking contest.

How did I do? Did I miss any? Perhaps others have better interpretations... :)

Timothy Lowe said...

Nothing like a cold hard spreadsheet to put things in perspective. Makes you really appreciate the books that are pubbed traditionally, and the journey it takes to get there.

I've been finding it really enlightening, inspiring, and daunting to look at those who got it right. I read the first 5 pages of "The Killing Lessons" by Saul Black on Amazon about a month ago. Then I reread them last week. Then I ordered the book. It is absolutely breathtaking, like careening along on a supersonic train. It's crime, kind of like CSI on crack.

Sigh - back to trying...

Kregger said...

You kill me.
What furry woodland creatures want to know whilst running on their exercise wheels is...what's written on column H?
conspir-a-pated theorists want to know.
How big does the plot hole need to be before it warrants fixing?
Semi-truck, space shuttle or Empire State building?
So many questions and so few buttons on my laptop.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Colin-haha! great interpretations.

Plot holes? My first beta reader found a previous hole filled with melodrama that needs to be excavated and refilled with appropriate plot. Rowr. Argh.

I'm looking at all the no's in the decision column.

Time for more caffeine. Or maybe a whisky. Maybe I'd better eat breakfast first and get to the day job.

Colin Smith said...

Fix plot holes?? Why would anyone want to do that? A plot hole is simply another way to encourage reader participation in the story... ;)

John Davis Frain said...

I'm not gonna be the guy who asks why 2016-21 is the only "No" written in ulc. Nope. I'm not even gonna be the one to wonder if that's the one that gotta away and ulc translates to "regret."

I got back to the reef late last night (and Tuesdays are always the worst for timing), so in case anyone missed my message ... Thanks for all the kind words yesterday. Once I realized orangutans had a gut in the middle of 'em, I knew there was a love story there somewhere.

Good luck to you 2016-21. It's a tough world out there, but the prize is worth fighting for so keep writing!

Colin Smith said...

JD"M"F: What about 2016-12? That "No" is in ulc too. Mind you, 12 is just 21 backwards... so maybe they're related...? In fact, if you add 1+2 you get 3, which is half of 6, which is one short of 7, the number of perfection. Even both these manuscripts together would not come to less than perfection, so they must have been really bad. As for the ulc "No" as a sign of regret... rather, the upper case N symbolizes hope, high expectation that comes crashing down with the lower case o. The gaping hole of despair at the bottom of the mountain of hope.

That's one way of looking at it, anyway... :)

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I'm confused about something (no real shocker, that). How are there only a few days between "Initial Query" and "Manuscript Requested" (at least I'm assuming the 3rd column means "requested"). If the typical waiting period is 3 months or longer between querying and hearing back from an agent? What am I missing?

Colin: You've made me laugh 3 times this morning. "Signed electrically"... HA!

Janet Reid said...

what the devil is "ulc"
oh wait, this is John Dammint Frain tormenting ME.

*swims off to chomp unwary querier*

Colin Smith said...

Janet: upper lower case. :)

Janet Reid said...

honest to godiva, you're now parsing out the meaning of upper/lower case on a spreadsheet?

I don't think there's enough grease in the world for all the rodent wheel spinning going on here.

Colin Smith said...

Oh, Janet--that's just the beginning! Don't forget, you're dealing with minds that thrive on creative plotting. I don't doubt John has 100 conspiracy theories based on the words "on hold" alone! He's not sharing them because, well, I think he believes we're all in on the conspiracy... ;)

Donnaeve said...

ulc means upper/lower case???

I thought it meant ultra loving care. Dispensed by her Sharkliness as she said "no."

Um. Maybe not. Anywho - COLIN! Those are great interpretations! But, my eyes zoned in on JD "M"F and do you realize you just labeled John Davis (Manuscript) Frain as a Mofo?

Colin Smith said...

Donna: At first I thought it might be upper-latitudinal Carkoonian, but then I remembered John wouldn't know u-lc since it passed out of common usage 100 years ago.

And note, that M is in quotations... so I'm not labeling John a Mofo, but a "M"ofo, which is VERY different. :)

Susan said...

"I love me some stats..."

...says all the writers.

This never fails to amuse me.

I've missed out on what's been happening around here because there's a lot going on, but I'm happily writing my way into the new year. None of it fiction--oh, no. It's still a procrastinator's paradise over here, but writing is happening.

I hope everyone continues to find their motivation and keep their own word count up. And a blanket congrats to anyone sharing good news.

Janet: as usual, thanks for all you do.

BJ Muntain said...

Ah, statistics. They seem to mean so much, but really, they never have the whole picture. Numbers are useful, but they don't have all the answers. (The only number that does have all the answers is 42, because it's the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.)

Basically, we're applying for a limited number of positions, so we'd better be damn good at our job.

Julie Weathers said...

Those statistics don't surprise me, but it is depressing especially since I'm not getting any younger.

Now, back to flipping the hourglass and playing with the amethyst glass scene.

Melanie, the average response for me was 61 days, but as I've said before I've had requests for fulls or partials within minutes. The quickest was less than five minutes. There have been a few who requested within minutes, but it doesn't happen often and the agents didn't get a response back from me in minutes because I wasn't paying attention to the inbox and I don't have notifications on.

Unfortunately, as we all know, a quick response is nice, but it doesn't mean anything one way or the other in ultimate acceptance.

Beth said...

So, one YES from fifty-three requests means, statictically, a writer just needs to get fifty-three agents to request a full, on average. So assuming one out of twenty-five queries generates a full request (a number I grabbed right out of the air) simply querying 1,325 agents should mean a fifty/fifty chance, right? Are there 1,325 agents in a given genre? I suppose one could go with the theory that writing a superior story increases one's chances, but who would believe that?

Fingers crossed for the MSs still pending. Hoping some lucky writer recieves a Christmas miracle, and feeling thankful for the miracles in my life.

Scott G said...

From what I can tell, Janet did some reading over Thanksgiving and must have had some turkey and dressing that did not agree with her.

Colin Smith said...

A thought occurs to me... Janet has posted examples of some of the query mistakes people still make, despite the plethora of query advice online. So it's very possible many of the queries Janet receives every day are instant form rejections for not-particularly-objective reasons. And STILL she averages about one ms request a week. That's pretty good, actually. Isn't it?

Cheryl said...

Every time this subject comes up I thank my lucky stars that I'm a fatalist. I do the best I can to prepare but everything else is out of my hands. Worrying is a pointless waste of mental energy.

Julie Weathers said...


"Worrying is a pointless waste of mental energy."

I glanced through comments, I just finished eating breakfast (I know, 1:11 is too late for breakfast.) and decided to waste time before getting back to writing and quickly glance through comments.

Then I see this and at first read I thought it said "wyoming" is a pointless waste of mental energy." My first thought was, yeah, Wyoming isn't the social capitol of the world, but it isn't that bad.

And now back to Rain Crow for real. Lorena is busy shooting a man who shot at her and ruined her hat. This totally isn't what I planned. Seriously, woman. Let it go. We have spying to do.

Janice Grinyer said...

Thank you JR for giving us a good indication of what we are up against.


Time to write... better. Have a wonderful Holiday everyone!

Casey Karp said...

I read this blog via RSS reader. For some reason, it absolutely has been refusing to download updates since 3:43 am, which was the last time it successfully checked in here. (That's PST, if you were wondering.) I don't know what Janet did at one o' clock this morning, but my tablet hates it.

Those are some scary numbers. Fortunately, as a writer I can proudly proclaim my lack of math-understandi--what? Oh, bother. I suppose I should learn to deal with numbers larger than my allocation of fingers and toes.

Colin: I think that was supposed to be writer signed eeeeeeeee! Changed mind about offering: no desire to read manuscript written on keyboard with stuck "e" key.

Beth: There are at least 1,325 agents in any genre. The question is whether there are that many agents who you would want associated with your work in any capacity whatsoever!

Ardenwolfe said...

Yep. And in the meantime, I started writing another novel in another genre. Slow and steady wins the race. Or gets drunk a lot. . . .

Karen McCoy said...

It might all be a game of chance, when it comes to it. The universe works in mysterious ways, after all. Here's hoping those writers get a Christmas miracle!

RachelErin said...

When I put "fantasy" into query tracker (a reasonable database, though no database is perfectly comprehensive), I get 237 agents put into a list.

A certain percentage of those don't do young adult, or don't do high fantasy. Another percentage is missing because they only check YA, even though YA fantasy is great.

Then are a few who do actually want fantasy, but didn't check the box on querytracker, because their tastes/lists have changed.

I imagine my final query list will have about 125 agents on it, without too much trouble.

According to #tenqueries on twitter (the least scientific survey ever), about 1/2-2/3 of queries are auto-rejects for really basic reasons. So it's not quite as bleak as the raw numbers would have you believe.

Of course, I just re-read the query shark archives for the fourth time (someone categorized winning queries by the type of opening they use!), and am deep in editing everything, so I have to tell myself something to keep my hopes up.

RachelErin said...

The thrillers category returns more than 400 agents on QT, Middle grade 350. I really should be writing MG non-fiction, the numbers would be much more in my favor. *flips through my million book ideas*

Back to my fantasy world!

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Oh, RachelErin, I feel you. I also write Fantasy, but I've got the additional restriction of wanting an agent who handles Romance as well. There are some excellent agents out there that handle both, but those who are showing strong sales in both genres tend to be agents who are really difficult to sign on because their lists are so full.

One of my favourite agents is pretty full on her lists, yet she's still open to queries because she doesn't want to miss out on The One, should it come her way.

I understand full. It's been a week since my surgery and I still feel like I've just had Thanksgiving dinner. Still, I have to force myself to gently sip this apricot smoothie, or sup at that blended chicken veggie soup. (Three bites and I'm done.) I'm not allowed to stop eating.

Certain agents aren't self-allowed to stop accepting queries because it's good for the health and well-being of their career?

Claire B. said...

Thanks so much for the stats, Janet! This is inside information at it's best -- or worst. But I'm actually kind of excited because I can tell my daughter who's waiting to find out if she got into her first- choice college that her odds are much better than mine. Love the ammo!

Lennon Faris said...

These comments kept me cracking up.

I like to obsess over statistics. But, when you think about it, you either get picked or you don't. No matter what the numbers say, for the individual it's always 0%, or 100%. So give it your best go; that's all you can do. I've had some really unpredictable things happen in my life and this is the conclusion I've come to :)

Thanks for the stats, Janet, and for the laughs, all you Reiders. I'll try not to worry about Wyoming too much, Cheryl and Julie.

Steve Stubbs said...

If you have 100 queries in a typical week and there are 52 weeks in a year (as there used to be, at least), that comes to roughly 5,000 queries a year, allowing for slow weeks. And you sign one author a year? I thought it was more competitive than that. I had no idea it was that easy to find publishble writing.

Janice Grinyer said...

I just wanted to add: but I worry about Wyoming.

They are, after all, only 16 miles away from us as the crow flies. Or as the Elk trot.

By town? 82 miles...64 of it by gravel. It's also where my dentist and eye doctor are. And feed store.

They can be good neighbors :)

stacy said...

Thanks for this. Always a great idea to keep us thinking about the long game.