It’s a new year full of new goals. These are typically made up of word counts, edits, queries, deadlines, and the dream of book deals (at least for me).
In an industry where the odds don’t seem in our favor, it might be time to admit the truth: they aren’t.
Sarah La Polla of Bradford Literary Agency wrote an end-of-year post where she shared her query stats. While this is different for every agent, it really puts numbers out there for (us) writers.
You can read her original post here, but in the end it came down to her receiving almost 4,000 queries in 2017. (And she was closed to queries for the summer!)
Let’s think about that number.
Now, I’m not a true statistics person. I wish I could pull out how many queries writers send out on average, how many rejections writers get, and so forth. But in the end, it doesn’t work that way because this business is so subjective. (That’s what I’m telling myself so I don’t have to think much past the number above emboldened… and so I don’t even have to attempt any math.) One writer might get 100 rejections while another gets an agent their first time up to bat.
But the truth is, there are a lot more writers than there are agents- and we all want to volunteer as tribute.
It can get discouraging to keep pushing on, project after project and/or query after query, in hopes of securing the agent of our dreams. And even then, if we are blessed with an agent, we have to go through the process all over again with editors/publishers. It’s never ending. And that agent might not be the one. You might have to go through the process with another agent before going through it with an editor or publisher. And the cycle continues!
So, why do we do it?
I can’t answer that question for you. I really can’t.
For me, it’s the desire I’ve had since I was about six-years-old to have my books on shelves at your nearest bookstore. To share the stories that I have embedded in my soul and are begging to get out into the world.
It’s because that no matter the ruts, no matter the breaks, no matter what life throws at me- I’m always craving words. Words, words, and more words.
I don’t show you the post from Sarah to depress you, but rather to encourage. The odds might not be in your favor, but know that if you keep working and pushing and dreaming and diving- you can be the exception to the rule.
You can be the one-in-four-thousand.
Say it out loud. Be at peace with it.
The odds are not in your favor.
That way, when that agent and/or publisher comes calling- you’ll be even more proud.