Pub Rants

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Happy December! Wishing all our loyal newsletter readers a joyful holiday season. As extra holiday cheer, we are delivering our end-of-year stats early. Normally we make readers wait until January, so click now and enjoy. We’ve also been crunching some newsletter data, and those insights show that 2023 will ring in some change. 

Had I been smart, I would have saved every newsletter created. Best that I can tell, we here at NLA have been delivering a monthly newsletter since 2008. That is basically a decade and a half of delivering insider content to help aspiring writers learn about publishing and navigate the industry. I’m not going to lie. Many a month I’ve been swamped, time crunched, and struggling to carve out the time to whip up an article. Sometimes it feels like an extra homework assignment on top of an already heavy workload. I would daydream about a final newsletter. But now that the time is possibly here, I feel a little melancholy. This has long been a part of my agenting life. 

But in the end, stats tell a unique story. Although we’re proud of having over 7,000 subscribers, only about half ever open the email. Of that half, only 500-1,000 click on a link to read an article we are sharing. What’s clear is that we certainly have a loyal readership (and we heart you folks if you are reading this right now!), but in the end, that’s a lot of time, work, and content development on our part for so few eyeballs. Please do keep in mind that we crunched the data prior to our unexpected hiatus in mid-2022. 

All this is to say with a heavy heart that it might finally be time to retire the newsletter. For the beginning of 2023, the newsletter will be on hiatus as we evaluate the cost-benefit ratio. We might retire it for good, or we might decide to relaunch it in the future with a new look, feel, and focus.

As we love stats, there was no way we were leaving our loyal readers without one last annual sum-up. I know it’s a fan favorite, so we are happy to oblige. 


8,539 : Queries read and responded to. Down from 13,932 in 2022 and although this looks like a precipitous drop, NLA is leaner, more focused team now, and for personal reasons, both Joanna and I were closed to queries for long stretches of the year.

287 : Number of full manuscripts requested and read (down from 353 in 2021): 61 requests for Kristin, 227 requests for Joanna (who was an obvious reading rock star!). For me, 70% were referrals or requests made at a conference or pitch event as I was closed to queries for so much of the year. For Joanna, only 17% were referrals or conference/pitch-event requests. 

64 : Number of manuscripts we requested that received offers of representation, either from us or from other agents/agencies (down from 111 in 2021). This might be an indicator of the burn-out happening across the industry, or it might just be a momentary adjustment. 

4 : Number of new clients who signed with NLA (0 for Kristin—two years in a row, eep—and 4 for Joanna)

29 : Books released in 2022 (down from 37 in 2021 as it is now just Joanna’s and my client lists).

3 : Number of career New York Times bestsellers for Joanna (up from 2 in 2021)—extra congrats to her client Kate Baer.

54 : Number of career New York Times bestsellers for Kristin (up from 51 in 2021). So wonderful to see Jamie Ford on that list again and to celebrate Shelby Van Pelt hitting with her debut novel. 

2 : Number of Today Show #ReadwithJenna Book Club picks (2 in one year, a first for Kristin’s career).

7 : TV and major motion picture deals (up from 5 from previous year, indicating Hollywood is still buying and buying a lot).

2 : TV shows in production (coming in 2023, Wool Saga on Apple+ and Beacon 23, both based on works by Hugh Howey).

109 : Foreign-rights deals done (slightly down from 126 in 2021 which shows there is some belt tightening going on, although 3 of those deals were with Ukraine publishers, bless them). 

1 : In-person conference attended by Kristin (StokerCon in Denver, and lots of people had Covid afterwards but I was okay).

0 : Virtual conferences attended by Kristin.

0 : Physical holiday cards sent (our first year of Paperless Post for clients).

762 : Electronic holiday slideshow cards sent (up slightly from 736 in 2021).

Lots : Of wonderful days reading and appreciating creators. 

(Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels)

34 Responses

  1. Stuart said:

    Sorry to hear the newsletter is going away, but I completely understand. At the very least, I hope you continue these end of the year summaries. It’s invaluable in showing year over year trends! Happy holidays to everyone!

  2. Dina Santorelli said:

    A great read, as usual. I am always astounded by the number of queries that are read and responded to. I will miss the newsletter, but as someone who has written newsletters for few eyeballs, I totally get it. Wishing you and Joanna a happy and healthy holiday season and new year!

  3. teresa peck said:

    Thank you for all the newsletters and the invaluable information they contained. I will miss reading you but wish you the best now you have “free” time! Happy Holidays.

  4. Therese said:

    For what it’s worth, I’m one of the “always open an article” people and will miss this monthly read! That said, I totally get that it can be too much for too little results. Maybe consider moving to once a quarter or some other configuration. I always learn from what you share in these, so thanks for those memories!

  5. Liz Colter said:

    I, for one, have been reading this newsletter since its inception, and will miss it very much. I understand the reasons completely — more so, with your stats — but it’ll still be strange not to have your insights and news and links every month. Kudos for the long run and for all the other good news at the agency. Happy Holidays!

  6. A. S. Templeton said:

    So, 99.25% of 2022 queries led exactly nowhere. Good to know the cold, hard stats.
    Back to writing…

  7. Barb Ristine said:

    Such an impressive set of year-end stats. I will be sorry to see the end of the newsletter, but I completely understand your reasons. It’s amazing that you faithfully produced the newsletter while also attending to all your hard work (which is evident from those stats). I have learned so much from your articles and will miss them. Thank you.

  8. Carrie Butler said:

    This is one of the most helpful newsletters I’ve engaged with over the past decade. I’m sorry to see it go, but I completely understand. Take care of yourselves. <3

  9. Megan said:

    I have been a newsletter subscriber since March 2009 and have learned so much and enjoyed every email (and I probably have copies of most newsletters if you ever want them). You have a great way of filtering and presenting the industry that is a balance of hard facts and gut instinct, which speaks directly to how I operate. So I’ll miss that insight, but completely understand the toll a commitment like this can have, and the need to have balance in life. Enjoy the hiatus, no matter what you decide moving forward!

  10. Tracey Devlyn said:

    I’m sorry to see the newsletter go, but completely understand. Thanks for the many years of advice, encouragement, and heads up on breaking issues. Happy holidays!

  11. LaDonna Ockinga said:

    Based on the statistics, I totally understand the revamping. Your insight on the industry has been invaluable and I love the introduction of the books all of you represent. Whatever you do will be great. Annual or quarterly statistics would be valuable. Thanks for the years you have done this.

  12. Angela said:

    I will miss your newsletter. I look for it in my inbox and always read it. It’s been a great source of insight and information for me. That said, I do understand. I have no idea how you manage to get so much done. Enjoy your hiatus and whatever comes after it, and know that the contribution you’ve made via the newsletter has been very much appreciated.

  13. Don Neeper said:

    Since meeting you at the 2014 Pike’s Peak conference, and maybe also in 2013, I wanted to bring my novel to the quality that might merit your attention. Now I’ve turned to nonfiction. But I would still read your newsletter if it came!

  14. Joy said:

    The years of sharing and insight have been invaluable. I am a bit heart broken at the thought of not having that monthly connection with the team. Please consider quarterly or semi annual updates before coming to a full stop, but I understand the time burden, and you have been so gracious that I can’t do more than thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  15. Elissa said:

    I am saddened to hear the newsletter may be going away. I understand, but I hope you will consider cutting back, rather than eliminating it altogether. As others have suggested, quarterly, or semi-annual newsletters would be wonderful. Even just an annual update would be welcome. Of course, this is me being selfish because I love these publishing insights. I feel like they’re almost personal letters to me. Thank you for all the outreach you have done to educate aspiring authors. You have more than earned your break.

  16. AP Lee said:

    Thanks for many years of newsletters, insight, and advice. I will miss “hearing” from you every month, but I am grateful for what I have learned. Be well, and happy holidays!

  17. BethS said:

    I’ve learned so much about agenting and publishing from the newsletters. I understand the reasons for discontinuing them, but I’m sorry to see them go.

  18. Sher Valentine said:

    While I understand, I am sad to learn this news. I have been one of those loyal readers. Every edition you have taught me something. So, thank you for all the advice and for caring enough to help us be better writers.

  19. AJ Benson said:

    Thank you so much for all of your effort and time in sharing your knowledge over the years. It’s greatly appreciated. I’m sorry to see you go, but I completely understand the cost benefit ratio. Where should we look to find more information from you?

  20. Elizabeth said:

    I too have greatly enjoyed your very informative and educational and entertaining newsletter. I read most of them and those I miss are not for lack of desire or interest but a glut in my inbox. I will miss your wise and witty words but will plan to visit the website regularly to keep up with NLA. All best to you all!

  21. Doug Engstrom said:

    I’m very sorry to see the newsletter go (I’m one of the people who routinely clicks through) but, “all good things…”

    Thanks for doing it all these years.

  22. Tiffany Yates Martin said:

    As one of the regular readers, I’ll miss this newsletter a lot. A frequently link to articles from it in my own newsletter. Thanks for so many years of invaluable information for authors and industry folks alike.

  23. Sally said:

    I am also sad to see this newsletter go! I wonder if a quarterly reach-out would work???

    I’ve bumped into Kristin a few times over the years and so appreciate her many contributions to book publishing.


    I will miss your letters and tips for writers. It has been something I watch for every month, and I’ve loved all your insights on the publishing world. I wouldn’t have had a clue how hard agents have to work to get their clients books into the public eye without reading your monthly newsletter. Thanks for everything you’ve done for writers over the years, and have a wonderful holiday.

  25. Don Hinkle said:

    Golly, this issue was first for me and now looks like the last! Don’t make me the bad guy, hope springs eternally! I saw a suggestion for less frequent releases but if that helps, please keep it up!

  26. Renita Bradley said:

    I always looked forward to reading your newsletter and will miss it. Thank you for the years of lessons, insights, and laughs. Please continue the year-end summary.

  27. Rob Campbell said:

    Like everyone here, I’ll miss the newsletter, but totally get the reason. The cheery chats could be real spirit-lifters.
    My connection goes back to 2008 and the Denvention Worldcon – when I met Kristin. (So she’s at least 14, if you wondered.)
    I’ll keep a watchful eye on the Agency!

  28. Patricia A Copeland said:

    I was a late joiner, but have enjoyed your newsletter. I believe I opened everyone for their insight and information. I join others in asking you to consider a quarterly or bi-annual newsletter.