Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Category: statistics

2018 End-of-Year Stats

 

Welcome to 2019!

What am I most excited about? Our move to QueryManager! Many of you are probably already familiar with QueryManager, since lots of other agencies use it, too. Here at NLA, we’re especially excited about its ability to help us track our numbers: submissions received (and in which genres), responses sent, requests made, offers of representation, etc. QM will give us one-click access to all things query next year at this time when I’m compiling our 2019 stats!

Interested in submitting a query to us? Here’s a handy link to our brand-new submission guidelines. From there, you can learn more about what each of our agents is looking for this year as well as how to send your query. Please remember that we share queries, so choose only one agent to query. Good luck, if querying is part of your new year’s goals!

As a reminder, we do not represent screenplays, poetry, short-story collections, picture books, early-reader chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market; we also don’t represent most nonfiction (only Quressa is open to reviewing NF submissions).

Now…the moment you’ve been waiting for: NLA’s 2018 end-of-year stats!

4 : Number of agents at NLA

442 : Number of full manuscripts requested and read

110 : Number of manuscripts we requested that received offers of representation, either from us or from other agents/agencies.

14 : Number of new clients who signed with NLA (2 for Kristin, 5 for Danielle, 5 for Joanna, 2 for Quressa)

21 : Number of book deals done (6 for Kristin, 5 for Danielle, 3 for Quressa, 7 for Joanna)

44 : Number of career New York Times bestsellers for Kristin (up from 41 last year). Her latest, Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, hit the list for the first time after the release of the film on Netflix.

1 : Movie released (Bird Box of course!)

9 : TV and major motion picture deals (8 for Kristin, 1 for Quressa)

35 :  Books released in 2018

20,000+ : Queries read and responded to (estimated)

64 : Foreign-rights deals done

7 : Conferences attended by Kristin, including ALA Midwinter, RWA, Lighthouse Writers, SCBWI Rocky Mountain, Dallas Fort-Worth Conference

155 :  Physical holiday cards sent

835 : Electronic holiday cards sent (up from 788 in 2017)

Not telling it’s so embarrassing : Eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December

Lots : Late nights reading on my living-room chaise with the very senior and snuggly lady Chutney

All : Great days loving my job!

Creative commons photo credit: Jurgen Appell


2017 End-of-Year Stats

 

When I was getting ready to publish the stats from 2018, I realized I had never posted those from 2017. Well, that won’t do. So here it is–only 365+ days late.

3: Number of fantastic new agents at NLA.

1: Number of NLA Twitter Pitch Parties (and with 3,500+ pitches tweeted our way, our hashtag trended in Twitter’s top 5 that day!).

3: Number of Twitter Pitch events NLA participated in.

667: Number of full manuscripts requested and read (up from 87 last year). Wowza! The power of four agents reading!

91: Number of manuscripts we requested that received offers of representation from other agencies.

22: Number of manuscripts NLA offered representation for: Danielle = 12; Johanna = 6; Quressa = 2 (she started with us in September); Kristin = 2.

19: Number of new clients who signed with NLA.

37: Number of books released in 2017: 24 print releases, 6 reprints, and 7 digital releases.

25,000+: Estimated number of queries read and responded to.

112: Foreign-rights deals done (up from 71 last year).

9: TV and major motion picture deals: Kristin = 8; Danielle = 1.

41: Total number of Kristin’s New York Times bestsellers (up from 39 in 2017).

54: Number of print runs for Kristin’s longest-selling title, which is Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, originally published in 2009. Up from 50 just last year. The Energizer Bunny of novels with millions sold!

Millions: Number of copies sold of Marie Lu’s three bestselling series—yay Marie!

Millions: Number of copies sold of Ally Carter’s bestselling, long-running Gallagher Girls series (which celebrated its 10th anniversary with new editions in 2016)—yay Ally!

Millions: Number of copies sold of Hugh Howey’s bestselling individual title, WOOL, which just keeps finding new readers—yay, Hugh!

8: Conferences attended by Kristin: Colorado Superstars, SCBWI Tulsa, Colorado Teen Day, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Lighthouse Writers LitFest, RWA, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Tattered Cover Teen Bookcon.

166: Physical holiday cards sent.

788: Electronic holiday cards sent (up from 539 in 2015).

Not telling it’s so embarrassing: Number of eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December. (I actually tracked them this year, and that just made me less likely to share the actual number.)

Lots: of late nights reading on my living-room chaise with Chutney. (That old grand dame just keeps getting more snuggly with every year.)

All: Great days loving my job!

Welcome to the new New Year!

Creative Commons photo credit: morebyless


2016 End of Year Stats!

 

Wowza, did last year fly by! I was just getting used to writing 2016 on documents, and now I have to switch to 2017. In any case, it’s time for our end-of-year stats:

2 new agents at NLA (Joanna MacKenzie and Danielle Burby come on board!)

39 career New York Times bestsellers (up from 37 in 2015. So close to being able to say “more than 40.”)

59 books released in 2016 (25 print releases, 9 reprints, and 21 digital releases)

new clients (lots of exciting news to share soon)

30,000+ queries read and responded to (estimated)

92 full manuscripts requested and read (up from 87 last year)

project currently on submission (just happened!)

86 foreign-rights deals done (down from 99 last year, mainly because I only took on one client in 2014): 17 in Asia, 3 in Brazil, 10 in Mexico/Latin America, and 56 in Europe

TV and major motion picture deals (one not announced and yet and the other, sadly, was cancelled half way through the negotiation, much to our dismay)

50 print runs for my longest-selling title, Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET—which originally published in 2009. Up from 46 just last year. The Energizer Bunny of novels with millions sold!

conferences attended (which includes Y’ALL West, RWA, Frankfurt Book Fair, and Honolulu Writers Conference)

Millions of units sold of bestselling series, which had a 10th-anniversary edition in 2016—yay Gallagher Girls!

Millions of units sold of bestselling individual title. WOOL just keeps finding new readers.

Millions of units sold of two bestselling series—yay Marie Lu!

140 physical holiday cards sent

713 electronic holiday cards sent (up from 539 in 2015)

Not telling it’s so embarrassing eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December (I actually tracked them this year, and that just made me less likely to share the actual number.)

Lots of late nights reading on my living-room chaise with Chutney (that old dame just keeps getting more snuggly with every year)

All great days loving my job!

Welcome to the new New Year!

Photo Credit: Richard Grandmorin


What Is Your Magic Number?

All aspiring writers want their magic number to be one.

The first novel a writer ever wrote is perfect from conception.

The first novel lands a literary agent.

The first novel is so awesome, it immediately sells at auction.

The first novel is published to great fanfare and much commercial success.

The dream-come-true of overnight success. Well, I’d like to tell you something about that. Overnight success is a fabrication created by media outlets because it makes for a good story.

Ninety-nine-percent of the time, overnight-success stories are fiction. Most of these stories don’t divulge that the author ghostwrote ten novels for other people, or wrote three of their own novels that are tucked away because the author was working on craft.

In real life, what is the magic number—the number of novels written before a writer gets picked up by an agent, sold, and published?

I’ll tell you right now, it’s not one. If you poll a large number of authors and ask them how many novels they wrote before their first one sold, and then if you average the numbers they give you, my sense is that you will land right around four.

One of the truths I highlight at writers conferences is that for more than half of my clients, I passed on the first project they sent me. It wasn’t until they sent me a later, more mature work that our agent-author love match bloomed.

Why do I tell you all this? If you’ve just completed your first novel, awesome. Celebrate this huge achievement. But it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t sell, or if you independently publish it and it doesn’t get much traction.

Keep on writing. Your magic number might be two or six or ten. My guess is that if you are passionately writing with ten novels under your belt, success is just around the corner.

Photo Credit: Andy Maguire


#1 Reason We Requested Only 216 Sample Materials In 2015

At the beginning of 2015, I implemented new submissions guidelines. Instead of reading queries and then requesting sample pages, I now request that authors include the first ten pages of their manuscript along with their query letters.

What a difference! Instead of reading only 45 full manuscripts (like I did in 2014), I read 87 full manuscripts in 2015, plus 129 sample pages, and although many of these projects weren’t right for me, they did end up being right for another agent.

Now, having tried this new submissions process for a year, I can definitely identify some pros and cons.

PRO: I’m guessing writers probably love it. It gives them a chance to wow me with some opening pages, whereas before, if they didn’t perfectly nail the query letter, they might have been out of luck.

CON: Sometimes it takes me weeks longer to respond to queries than I would like. If I know I have to read some pages with it, I can’t just breeze in and get it done in 30 minutes. I need at least an hour to read the sample pages attached.

PRO: I’ve learned that some writers can nail the query letter, but their actual pages are not quite ready for an agent to read. And I can decipher this pretty quickly. This allows me to ask for full manuscripts of novels that are ready.

CON: It’s more pressure for the writer to really nail those opening pages.

PRO: The number of novels I read all the way to the end went up in 2015. It’s pretty rare for an agent to read an entire manuscript if they know early on that the project isn’t for them. I actually read many more novels to the conclusion before making a decision about offering representation.

CON: Man, I was a bit slow in getting back to some writers. I had several manuscripts for an embarrassingly long period of time.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: When I do ask for a full, I almost always make my decision on whether it’s right for me within the first 60 pages.


2015 End-Of-Year Stats!

It’s that magic time of year when I tally up the numbers and share Kristin’s Yearly Stats! Apologies for being so slow to get this posted.

37  :  total number of New York Times bestsellers (up from 33 total in 2014)

51  :  books released in 2015 (22 print releases, 9 reprints, and 21 digital releases)

3  :  new clients, two of whom sold at auction for six figures. One deal is public, the other is not yet announced. The third client is going on submission next month!

29,000+  :  estimated number of queries read and responded to

87  :  full manuscripts requested and read (up from 45 last year)

129  :  number of sample pages requested and read (down from 856 last year. See my January Newsletter column Think Like An Agent below to learn why we requested far fewer sample pages this year than we have in years past.)

2  :  number of projects currently on submission

71  :  foreign-rights deals done (down from 99 last year, mainly because I only took on one client in 2014), 14 in Asia, 3 in Brazil, 3 in Mexico/Latin America, and 51 in Europe

4  :  TV and major motion picture deals

46  :  number of print runs for my longest-selling title, which is Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET—which originally published in 2009. Twelve for the hardcover version, 34 for the paperback—four of which occurred in 2015! Crazy for a title to still be getting reprints after six years.

8  :  conferences attended (which includes Bologna Book Fair, London, BEA, and Frankfurt Book Fair)

3 million+  :  copies in print/sold for my bestselling long-running series this year

2.5 million+  :  copies in print/sold for my bestselling individual title

3.5 million+  :  copies sold for my bestselling hybrid author

Millions and Millions  :  ebooks sold for four of my bestselling indie-publishing-only authors. I can’t even track anymore.

100  :  physical holiday cards sent

539  :  electronic holiday cards sent

Not telling it’s so embarrassing  :  number of eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December

Lots  :  of late nights reading on my living-room chaise with Chutney

All  :  great days loving my job!

Happy New Year!


2014 End-of-Year Stats!

It’s that magic time of year when I tally up the numbers and share with everyone Kristin’s Yearly Stats! Last year we reported numbers on the whole agency, but I figured it would be fun to just take a look at my own year in review. Please note that sales figures are approximations rather than exact calculations.

Enjoy!

9

books sold

99

foreign-rights deals done (down from 128 last year). Twenty-nine were deals made in Asian territories, and the other 70 were for the rest of the world. All 99 foreign-rights deals were done on behalf of 12 of my clients.

1

new client (I actually wasn’t reading much during 2014 but I’m actively reading in 2015!)

35,000+

estimated number of queries read and responded to

45

full manuscripts requested and read (down from 67 last year)

856

number of sample pages requested and read (down from 972 last year)

4

number of projects currently on submission

6

TV and major motion picture deals (I actually did all 6 in November and December!)

3 million+

copies in print/sold for my bestselling long-running series this year

2 million+

copies in print/sold for my bestselling individual title

2.5 million+

copies sold for my bestselling hybrid author

3 million+

ebooks sold for two of my bestselling indie-publishing-only authors.

31

number of print runs for the longest-selling title

9

conferences attended (which includes Bologna Book Fair, BEA, and Frankfurt Book Fair)

33 

New York Times bestsellers (up from 31 just last year)

175

physical holiday cards sent

450

electronic holiday cards sent

Not telling it’s so embarrassing

number of eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December

Lots

of late nights reading on my living-room chaise with Chutney

All

great days loving my job!


2013 Year End Stats!

 

I’d like to cordially welcome you to the new year! Out with the old and in with the new but before we move on, I know readers love to get the tally of our end-of-year statistics. This went out to our eNewsletter readers first but for the archives, here’s the list.

Enjoy!

40
books sold (up from 33 last year).

128
foreign rights deals done (way up from 83 last year—holy cow!).

7
number of new clients (down from 16 total last year: 3 for Kristin and 4 for Sara).

35,000+ or some big number…
estimated number of queries read and responded to. Down from last year as we closed queries in the month of December.

67
full manuscripts requested and read (down from 81 last year).

972
number of sample pages requested and read (down from 1029 last year).

2
number of projects currently on submission

3
tv and major motion picture deals – Kristin

2.8+ million
number of copies in print/sold for my bestselling long-running series this year

1.5+ million
number of copies in print/sold for my bestselling indvidual title

1.6+ million
number of copies sold for my bestselling hybrid author

3+ million
number of ebooks sold for my bestselling Indie-only publishing author

300,000+
number of of copies in print/sold for my bestselling debut series

800,000+
number of of copies in print/sold for Sara’s bestselling author

13
number of conferences attended — 6 for Kristin (which includes Digital Book World, BEA and Frankfurt Book Fair), 5 for Sara, 2 for Anita.

31 
number of Kristin’s career New York Times Bestsellers (up from 20 just last year). I did 11 more in 2013 alone. Wowza!

32
total number of New York Times Bestsellers for NLA as an agency (Sara had her very first with Jason Hough’s THE DARWIN ELEVATOR this summer. Woot!)

130
number of  consecutive weeks on the NYT bestseller list for a Kristin author

170
number of physical holiday cards sent

468
number of electronic holiday cards sent

Not telling it’s so embarrassing
number of eggnog chai consumed in the months of November and December.

Lots
number of late nights reading on my living room chaise with Chutney

All
number of great days loving my job


2012 Year End Stats!

STATUS: Off and running. Need to play catch up on everything that wasn’t completed by Dec. 19 when I headed out for winter break. And I’m so close to finishing up the text for the new website so we can finally launch!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BITTERSWEET by Hoodoo Gurus

Happy New Year! I hope your 2013 is off to a raucous start!

I’ve got contract work aplenty. Sara has an offer on the table and signed somebody new literally as we were closing. The query inbox is crammed with 341 queries from folks who wanted to send in December but couldn’t because we were closed to queries that month. 

33
books sold (slightly down from last year).

83
foreign rights deals done (up from 65 deals last year).

16
number of new clients (5 for Kristin and 9 for Sara). Updated to 11 for Sara –she signed two authors right as we were closing for the year!

32,000+ or some big number…
estimated number of queries read and responded to. Down from last year as we closed queries in the month of December.

81
full manuscripts requested and read (up from 69 last year).

1029
number of sample pages requested and read (up from 618 last year).

3
number of projects currently on submission

4
tv and major motion picture deals

2.5 million

number of copies in print for my bestselling series this year

1.2 million

number of copies in print for my bestselling title this year

300,000+

number of copies sold for my bestselling eBook-only title this year

23
number of conferences attended (8 for Kristin (including BEA and Bologna Book Fair), 1 for Angie, 8 for Anita, and 6 for Sara)

20  Forgot Manga edition of SOULLESS that hit #1! Smacks forehead. so it’s not 19 but 20
number of career NLA New York Times Bestsellers (I actually sat down to count them up. I was surprised it was that many.)

1
number of books named to Publisher’s Weekly list of top books of the year (that would be Sara’s THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachman this year).

135
number of physical holiday cards sent

450
number of electronic holiday cards sent

Uh, 30?

number of eggnog chai consumed in the months of November and December. I’m embarrassed to say.

Lots
number of late nights reading on my living room chaise with Chutney

All
number of great days loving my job


2011 Year End Stats!

STATUS: I’m baaaaacccckkk!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
(oh the nostalgia….)

Happy New Year! I hope your 2012 is off to a rip-roaring start. Mine is. I’ve got exciting news on the film front for two of my authors and an auction unfolding next week.

I even signed a new author when we were closing for the holidays. Talk about cramming stuff in as the year closed.

My New Year’s resolution is to be a better blogger in 2012 so I better get started.

41
books sold (up from 28 last year). Why the big jump? Two agents on fire during the year.

65
foreign rights deals done (pretty much on par with last year).

7
number of new clients (Kristin and Sara combined)

36,000+ or some big number…
estimated number of queries read and responded to. We get so much spam these days, despite good filters, it’s hard to tell. We estimate anywhere from 80 to 100 a day. Times that by 365 and you get approximately 36,000.

69
full manuscripts requested and read (down from 98 from 2010)

618
number of sample pages requested and read (this is down from last year–mostly because I took a several month hiatus from reading submissions actually. I’m back to reading lots in 2012 though so bring it on).

5
number of projects currently on submission

2
tv and major motion picture deals

2.2 million
number of copies in print for my bestselling series this year

1.1 million
number of copies in print for my bestselling title this year

8 for Kristin (including BEA, RWA and Frankfurt), 4 for Anita, and 9 for Sara
number of conferences attended

13
number of career NLA New York Times Bestsellers (who says that’s an unlucky number!)

1
number of books named to Publisher’s Weekly list of top books of the year (that would be LEGEND by Marie Lu this year)

105
number of physical holiday cards sent

451
number of electronic holiday cards sent

20
number of eggnog chai consumed in the month of December. It was probably 31 but that makes me look like a glutton!

Lots
number of late nights reading on my new chaise with Chutney

All
number of great days loving my job

2012 is going to be a GREAT year!


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