Pub Rants

A Year in Statistics

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STATUS: Sara and I are working like mad to finish everything up today. Tomorrow we close. By the way, I just saw fellow Backspace member Martha O’Connor comment about giving a donation to charity in the agent’s name. LOVE THAT. So add that to your agent gift-giving list.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WHITE CHRISTMAS by Bing Crosby

(Estimated number of queries read and responded to in 2006)

(Number of full manuscripts requested and read)

(Number of new clients taken on this year)

(Number of books sold this year—not counting subsidiary rights stuff)

(Number of projects currently under submission)

(Number of auctions held)

(Number of pre-empts accepted)

(Number of months for the longest submission that ended in a great sale)

(Number of copies in print for my best-selling title this year)

(Number of conferences attended)

(Number of editor meetings held)

(Number of Holiday Cards sent)

(Number of Starbucks eggnog chai beverages consumed in the last week)

(Number of late nights reading partials etc. on the couch with Chutney)

(Number of great days loving my job)

22 Responses

  1. Dave Kuzminski said:

    If possible, could you pass on to me by email how many of the new clients sold a book this year? I don’t need their names. I’m just compiling statistics for comparison purposes to show them that they have a better change even with a single agent agency than with something like the (cough, cough, gag, gag) Literary Agency Group.

  2. Miri said:

    Eight clients taken on out of fifty-four fulls…that’s a pretty good percentage! Then again, out of almost twenty-one thousand…holy.

    Merry Christmas to you and everyone, and thanks so much for the wonderful blog, Ms. Nelson!

  3. Eileen said:

    I hope you have an amazing holiday and well deserved break. Thanks for everything this year. I look forward to seeing you at another conference.

  4. Anonymous said:

    And if she took 5 minutes a query to read it and write a personal reponse, she would spend 43 work-weeks a year on queries.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Damn, that’s a helluva lot of wanna be published authors.

    I really had no idea there were so many of us.

  6. Anonymous said:

    The odds of going from a query letter to being a new client at your agency, 1 in 2600.

    With those odds, it’s no wonder self-publishing is taking off.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Anon 8:27 – The vast majority of the queries received by Kristin (or any agent) fail one or more of the basics:
    – Understand and use the fundamentals of grammar, puctuation, and spelling.
    – Clean up typos.
    – Make sure your novel has a plot.
    – Stay within word count recommendations.
    – For a novel, query only when complete.
    – Query only those agents who represent the kind of book you’ve written.
    – Use standard business letter format for the query letter and standard manuscript format for the manuscript.

    Those are within anyone’s reach. All they take is a professional attitude and a little effort. Get them right, and your odds improve by at least a factor of 10.

    After that, it’s all about how well you write. The better you write, the better your odds.

  8. Anonymous said:

    I agreed with the comments about the book Nobody’s Investment so I went to and purchased it. Thank you for the heads up.

  9. Pat Mullan said:


    Yes, Yes, I understand. I was once in banking and your statistics approximate the number who made it through our credit application process. The world is comprised of 2 percenters – and the rest.

    Best wishes for the holidays,

  10. Anonymous said:

    Wow, you’ve got a lot on your plate. I can see why agents are extremely selective.

    Happy New Year!

  11. Anonymous said:

    Wow, you’ve got a lot on your plate. I can see why agents are extremely selective.

    Happy New Year!

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