I’m traditionally published in nonfiction, but not agented. I can answer with solid industry answers, though.
Querytracker.net is an excellent resource. Filter by genre. Follow their submission requirements to the letter.
- Here’s the problem with this sort of scale – or with statistics. They don’t look at the individual. An individual who is querying too soon isn’t going to find an agent for that manuscript, period. Someone who has an uber marketable story and a polished, well-crafted manuscript ready for prime time, just has to hit the right person.
It tends to be a VERY slow process. It can take a couple of YEARS to get an agent – and another couple to get published. Or it can happen in days. Seriously.
Avoid? Avoid querying too soon. Avoid blowing through your query list with a query, synopsis, and/or pages that haven’t been heavily workshopped and polished. Avoid sending frustrated replies when you receive rejections. Avoid hanging your hopes on THIS manuscript. A writing career is many manuscripts over many years, and not all will be published. Avoid thinking your words are gold – be open to learning.
Nope. I think the industry average is placement of about 75% of manuscripts. It can drop as low as 50% on debuts. If you get an agent, you’re getting there, but it still may not be with THIS manuscript.
Workshop the query and synopsis. Answer ALL questions you get asked – and don’t get frustrated if you find out that you’re not as ready as you think you are. If reviewers see holes or have problems, you can be assured that the agents will – and they don’t give feedback on queries and say “Try again.”
Be aware that it’s a competitive field. Of every manuscript that is actively queried – not just written, but actively queried – about 1-in-10K is actually published. But, like I said above, this doesn’t consider the individual. 95% of manuscripts queried really have ZERO chance. The other five percent have a really good chance. The top 1% is pretty much a sure thing, if the writer sticks with it.
Don’t take it personally. Just keep working to get better.