Why agents take on less than 1% of all queries

You’ve heard ‘agents are extremely selective’ and all the other catch-phrases we use to express why we cannot take on you as an author. We mean what we say. But, even if your work is good, great even, we have to pass and here’s why:

  • The industry is competitive so new authors have be able to break out of the pack.
  • The industry is saturated in many markets like YA and women’s fiction so new authors have to be very unique with fresh concepts and fabulous writing that can hook readers.
  • We have a client working on something similar so we can’t take on a new work in that space as it’s not fair to our first priorities: our clients.
  • We like it very much, but we don’t love it. This is a very fine line, admittedly. It’s hard for writers to hear that an agent likes it very much but cannot offer representation. But in the long run you’ll want an agent that is head over heels for it.
  • Your submission requires more work than time we can give. Agents have limited time available to work on major editorial tasks. The time we do have for that goes to our clients first.
  • We aren’t the best agent for it. Some agents are more specialized in nonfiction, YA, or commercial fiction–for three examples–and those agents can be better for you. Don’t get tied to the idea of working with an agent you follow on Twitter or an agent that you think might be the best fit. Find the best representation for your work and whose agency has a track record that can support your books. Continue reading Why agents take on less than 1% of all queries