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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.

So you want to be a children’s author?

So you want to be a children’s author?

I hope you’re in for the long haul. Buckle up tight. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

You’ve finished your first draft and you’re ready to start submitting to agents? Hang in there, Speedy Gonzales. You’re going to need to edit, then edit some more. Did I mention you should edit? And then you should probably get feedback from critique partners and perhaps an editor. Then you’ll need to, yep, you’ve guessed it, edit some more.

So, you’re finally ready to start querying. You’ve written a book, polished it till it shines, your journey is nearing its end, right? Been there, thought that, but I’m afraid you’re only just beginning. You may be one of the lucky ones who gets snapped up by an agent pretty quickly. But, more likely than not, you’ll join the rest of us in the Cycle of Doom. You will check your email more times than is healthy and then some more. And there will be rejections; I hope you have a tough hide.

But let’s think about why you’re putting yourself through this rollercoaster. Because you’re going to be rich and famous? Um, sorry to burst that bubble. If you’re lucky enough to get a coveted publishing deal, you’re not going to be a millionaire. In fact, you’re probably going to need to keep your day job. According to a tweet by children’s author Maz Evans of Who Let the Gods Out, a children’s author gets 36p per £6.99 book sold. Yep. Shock, huh?

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So you’re bruised and penniless. Why are you still here? Well, I guess you, like me, have been bitten by the writing bug. It whittles its way in and flaps iridescent wings stirring up a whirlwind of characters, worlds and plots. And it buzzes incessantly until you get those words down on paper (or screen). So make yourself comfortable (cookies and fellow writing friends are advised) and settle down for the journey. The Sat Nav may be faulty (watch out for those ditches and boulders) and who knows where you might end up. But I hope you can enjoy some of the ride. Just don’t forget that crash helmet.