Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What is the likelihood of obtaining representation?

If you cannot get a referral from another author and haven't met an agent at a convention, how likely is it to actually get representation through the query-synopsis-sample route?

Also, how many agents should one plug away at before becoming discouraged with reasonable cause? Assume all agents queried have been researched and represent the category of fiction in question. In this case: Literary Fiction.

Regarding your first question, I unfortunately don't know and I'm unaware of any survey conducted about this type of thing. However, in my opinion I do believe that if you write a book that has publishing viability and you query properly and thoroughly that you will eventually secure representation.

Regarding your second question, I saw somewhere that there are probably about 400-450 reputable literary agents in the United States. While it may not make sense or be cost effective to query all of them, I certainly think that you should be as thorough as possible in your submissions without actually driving yourself crazy. What that specific number is will depend on you.

3 comments:

December/Stacia said...

I got my agent without a referral and without having met him at a convention, simply by sending a query with the first five pages.

Most of the writers I know found their agents that way--honestly, the only person I know who got representation because of a referral was already contracted with a NY house but left her current agent and needed a new one.

So I have to agree with Mr. Lyons. If you've written something the agent likes and thinks they can sell, it doesn't matter how they came to read your work.

Jill C. said...

Like december/stacia, I found my agent by a conventional query. In fact, I had a number of agents offer. No referrals. No conference contact.
Write your best work AND your best query. Good luck!

Kristin Laughtin said...

I seem to hear about lots of authors finding an agent through the query route, enough that I think it is very possible and they're not just a bunch of exceptions.

Wow, 400 agents? I wasn't aware the number was that high (thought it was more in the 300 range). Well, the more the better!