Should you get your hopes up by a full request?

A year ago, I suddenly had four full manuscript requests on my middle grade novel. Before that, I’d received 18 form rejections. This was, however, a new draft.

I was over the moon. I thought this was it.

It wasn’t. All of them were turned down.

Over the following year, after many more edits and queries, I had another nine full requests. Six of these are still out and with a new draft too. I am no longer counting any chickens though.

Yes, I can’t help but get excited when I receive an email requesting more. But as the weeks waiting turn into months, my hope dwindles. I now know that a full request is certainly not a guarantee that the agent will offer representation.

But how likely is it that an agent will take you on after reading your full? My usual answer is ‘who knows?’ There’s so little information out there about this.

Fortunately, with it being the end of the year, some agents are sharing their query statistics on Twitter so here’s what I’ve found:

  • Naomi Davis (agent at BookEnds) received 2,679 queries this year. Of these she requested 189 fulls. That’s about seven percent. Here’s her Query Manager statistics for the last few months :

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  • Kaitlyn Johnson (agent at Corvisiero Lit) received 2,483 queries and requested 115 (4.6 percent).

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  • Kelly Peterson (also at Corvisiero) received 2,432 queries and requested 72 (three percent).

 

So, if you’re getting full requests, I’d say you’re doing pretty awesomely! Those request rates are not high!

But does a full request mean you’ll probably get that golden much-hoped-for phone call offering you representation? Unfortunately not. Here are the statistics I could find:

  • Of the 189 full manuscripts Naomi David requested, she signed twelve authors. That’s just over six percent. (Of all the queries she received that’s 0.44%) Ouch.

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  • Of the 72 manuscripts, Kelly Peterson requested, she took on three authors. Double Ouch.

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So, it seems that, whilst getting a full manuscript request is a great step, actually receiving an offer of rep is a another big step. (And let’s not mention the next step (more like mammoth jump) of trying to get a publishing deal if you do manage to nab an agent.)

Definitely have some hope about full requests but be careful not too build up your expectations too much. (It hurts, believe me.)

Wherever you are on your writing journey, I hope over Christmas you are able to forget about the queries you’re waiting to hear back from (unlike the person who is writing this on 23rd December).

And fingers crossed 2019 brings the news you’ve been dreaming of.

5 thoughts on “Should you get your hopes up by a full request?

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