I was looking over some past tweets of one of the literary agents I follow on Twitter and she mentioned that she’s received over 20,000 queries so far this year.
20,000. And it’s only July.
So once I read that, a whole group of thoughts and emotions popped into my head.
The first was: “Holy cow! I’m in way over my head.”
The second was: “Well, if she’s getting that many queries, it shouldn’t be so shocking that I didn’t get a form letter from her.” (Way back when I was querying.)
The third was: “Does she really get that many queries?”
The forth was: “Do all agents get that many queries?”
The fifth was: “Who are all these people that are sending queries?”
The sixth was: “There are that many people writing books?”
The seventh was: “I wonder how many of the letters she reads all the way through.”
Then I stopped counting…
“How many get rejected outright because they’re not her genre?”
“How many get rejected outright because they didn’t follow the guidelines?”
“How many get rejected outright because they did something else stupid (e. g. ‘Dear Agent,’)?”
“How many got rejected because the plot was too thin?”
“Or the writing was too weak?”
“Or too generic?”
But then I realized that this isn’t all bad news…
“How many full manuscript requests did she ask for?” I bet that answer is an integer greater than 1.
“How many writers did she sign?” I bet that answer is also an integer greater than 1.
“How many book deals did she make?” We can safely assume that that, too, is an integer greater than 1.
Point is, agents get a lot of queries. And they answer ‘no’ to an overwhelming majority of them. But they don’t say ‘no’ to all of them.
And that is why you can’t give up.