11.18.2005

Runs, hits...and errors!

We've all heard about the percentage of queries to agents that end up with offers of representation (about 1%, according to many), but what about the percentage of represented books that get sold to a publisher? Do you have any idea what the rate is industry-wide among respectable agents? I mean, I assume it has to be fairly high for agents to stay in business, maintain a reputation, and keep editors interested in their projects. In that regard, do you ever worry that your tastes won't keep up with those of publishers? Do you hit slumps where you can't sell several projects in a row? Or streaks where everything sells to the first editor who sees it?

Respectable and agent in the same phrase, and applied to Miss Snark's colleagues? Well, there went the coffee on the keyboard in a laugh riot!

I've got no clue about how the percentage runs in other agencies or industry wide. I know I sell about 50-70% of the things I take on..but don't ask me how LONG it took to sell them. Some took a week, some took two years.

Do I worry that my tastes are different from publishers, or more correctly, book buyers? You bet. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Do I hit slumps? I don't have one project at a time. I have 20. There's no "row". I can go a week without selling something, absolutely. I can go a month without selling something, and then it's panic time unless it's December, or August. Then I just chalk it up to seasonals, and get ready to work 16 hours a day in September.

I've never sold anything on the first pass. Well, almost never. Very very rare. And if I do, I always wonder if I could have made a better deal if someone else had seen it. Like buying the first apartment you see..always that niggle of doubt.

So yes, to your unspoken question of "are there days when you'd give it all up to be George Clooney's bunny slippered love slave".

8 comments:

Existential Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

Miss Snark, without a doubt, has to be the only blogger ever to use "sux" and "niggle" both. Must be the gin and the literary background, duking it out.

Thanks for the honest info, by the way. We number-crunchers shall now go curl up in a dark corner with our calculators and rock back and forth while pondering whether we are in fact 200 times the average writer.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Miss Snark, I 've gotton one of those plastic shields for the keyboard....works wonders but I still have to wipe off the LCD!:-)

litagent said...

I can not only confirm what Miss Snark says, but relax a little, knowing that her experience is similar to mine. Not only do I get the self-doubts about my literary tastes and business judgments, but I also tend to believe that every other agent out there is selling every project in a preempt.

See, Miss Snark? You're providing a public service for all sectors of the publishing industry. (Thanks. I'll buy the next round.)

Existential Man said...

hmmm, speaking of the "bunny slippered love slave" department, I'm curious about something. I happen to be one of those who tuned into Her Snarkiness from the get-go. I seem to recall that your initial "profile" included something to the effect of living with a guy along with Killer Yapp there in New York...it is now nowhere to be found.

Since you are now approaching celebrity status (what with snarklings locating themselves on the map and banding together to form Snark Cells to perform acts of truth and beauty under the Snarkling banner), could you please
(1) confirm my memory of your having included said boyfriend in the original profile; and (2) give us an update of your current love-slave situation? I mean, are you available or saving yourself for your one true love, Marvin Hamlisch?

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Okay, I'll bite. What's a preempt?

AzGhostWriter said...

A preempt is when the U.S. sends all its missiles heading towards Russian in an attempt to preempt a first strike.

In publishing, it's much the same. A publisher will give an offer (sometimes generous) to preempt another publisher from acquiring the manuscript.

The publisher wants to make sure they strike first...

sex scenes at starbucks said...

A publisher will give an offer (sometimes generous) to preempt another publisher from acquiring the manuscript.

we can only dream...