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  1. #1
    Steve
    Guest

    % Agented manuscripts sold?

    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knew what percentage of agented manuscripts actually get sold! I suppose that this of course depends on how good your agent is and his/her contacts.

    Steve



  2. #2
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: % Agented manuscripts sold?

    Last fall I asked my agent, Jeff Kleinman of Graybill and English, this question. While my book hasn't gone out to publishers yet, I'm assuming he's a pretty good agent, since he's been mentioned several times in Hot Deals. He does a little better than 50% for non-fiction, 20% for fiction.

    Wouldn't you know, he's representing my novel!

  3. #3
    Thor Lillebjørgen
    Guest

    20%?!?

    An agent only expects to sell 20% of his fiction books! Shocking! So if I do get an agent, I only have a 20% at best chance of getting my book sold?

    Wouldn't one be better off trying to place his book himself? I know I do not have the publishing contacts that a Jeff Kleinman, Ethan Ellenberg or others may have, but still I think I could give myself a better than one in five chance that I could get my book published!

    Very interested to see what others have to say about this. Karen, thanks for your insight into this one.

    -Thor

  4. #4
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: 20%?!?

    I know. Shocking isn't it? I'll be interested to find out if this figure holds true for other agents. My only comfort is knowing that mine is going to try his best to sell it, since he doesn't make a dime unless (until? *grin*) the book is sold.

  5. #5
    Eric Mettenich
    Guest

    Re: What are the real odds?

    If you want to do the correct calculation of the odds, you'd need to know what percentage of hopefuls the agent knocked back in the first place. Then you have to take into account the number of publishers who will only deal with agents as against those who will accept unsolicited submissions. And definitely you'd need to know how many submissions there were overall ...

    The best idea is not to dwell on these considerations. I think we'd all stop writing (if we could) if we focused on the odds of ever appearing in print.

    Eric

  6. #6
    Melissa
    Guest

    Re: What are the real odds?

    You mentioned "Hot Deals" in your posting - I haven't heard of it, could you tell me more?

    As a writer/researcher who is almost to the want-to-get-an-agent stage, is it somewhere I should be looking to learn more about the industry?

    Thanks for any help you can give --
    Melissa

  7. #7
    Eileen
    Guest

    Re: Realistic Expectations

    The more and more I learn about how the publishing industry "really" works the less shocked I am about these types of figures. It seems like the only things writers hear about are the huge advances or the two or three book deals awarded to "first time novelists." These are the kinds of stories that such publications as Writers Digest and Publishers Weekly publish. I think that if more realistic stories were published, writers wouldn't have unrealistic expectations about the publishing industry. Take for instance Scribblers' experience with her agent (check the archives). Or my experience with an agent that I am really hoping will take me on. He has had my manuscript for several months now and still has not come to a decision on whether or not he will decide to represent me. He has been professional in that we have communicated via email the entire time and I've more than stressed my future potential--have recently sold two short stories, one of which won an award and am furiously at work on a short story collection. Am I holding my breath for this one agent, of course not. I'm querying other agents as well as editors. I guess what I'm trying to stress is that I bet that nine times out of ten, it doesn't work in the following way--I queried him on Monday, Tuesday he asked for a partial, the following week, he wanted the whole manuscript, one week later, he agreed to represent me and two weeks later the book had sold and I was rich.

  8. #8
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: Realistic Expectations

    'Hot Deals' is a feature on Publisher's Weekly's website(www.publishersweekly.com) which reports on recent big sales. I read it every Monday to get an idea of what's currently selling. BTW - you can also use the site's search feature to check out potential agents. Just enter their name and see what comes up, keeping in mind, of course, that plenty of reputable agents won't necessarily have a mention in Hot Deals, but those who do are pretty likely to be legit.

  9. #9
    Rufus
    Guest

    Eileen...Huh!?!

    "I queried him on Monday, Tuesday he wanted a partial,the following week he wanted the entire manuscript, one week later he agreed to represent me and two weeks after that I was rich."
    I agree that publishing moves slowly, but I'd like you to name any other commercial endeavour, profession, etc. that moves as quickly as you've outlined here. Sheesh! Realistic expectations indeed!

  10. #10
    Eileen
    Guest

    Re: Eileen...Huh!?!

    Rufus,

    I didn't mean to imply that it never happens as I outlined above, I was just saying that I bet (from my experience and others on this forum) that 90% of the time it doesn't happen that fast. Unfortunately, those are often the only kind of stories we hear about. You may feel differently and you're indeed entitled to your opinion.

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