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".