Chip MacGregor point out on his blog yesterday that only about 15 agents represent 95% of the Christian books out there.
Fifteen. Fif. Teen.
Of those 15, a number (including Mr. MacGregor) only take on clients who have been previously published or are strongly recommended by their current clients or have something else going for them (it appears that the agency Karen Kingsbury works with, for instance, represented Sarah Palin and Going Rouge. Governor Palin was not previously published, but… she’s Sarah Palin…).
So that leaves me with… ten? Maybe? Who are even willing to possibly even consider looking at my work. You hear stories about ‘I got hundreds of rejections before finally having someone take a second look!’ Well, there’s not hundreds of agents out there to reject me :p. It feels like putting all of my eggs in very few baskets, but when there aren’t that many baskets out there…
The reality is that those 10 agents are probably only going to take on 5-6 new clients a year. That means 50-60 authors all together are going to find representation without some kind of ‘in’ that I don’t have. Each agent can realistically expect to get several hundred queries a month. Rachelle Gardner gets 4-500 queries a month but can only say yes to a couple of them. In a good month. When the industry isn’t basically shut down for the holidays and such.
I know ‘if God be for it, who can be against it’ and if this is what God wants for me the numbers, the odds, don’t matter, but simply looking at the numbers makes it seem nearly impossible. I know Unbreak Her Heart is good. I know it is. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to catch the right agent on the right day when he or she isn’t already mad at second cousin Mandy for boycotting the family reunion and automatically have a sort of iffy feeling about my Mandie for reasons that have nothing to do with me, the book or my ability to write a compelling story…
But I’m still going to do it. I have a list of about 9 agents that I’m interested in. That means I may have one or two more to find. I’m planning on sending out a query or two next week but don’t want to send them all out at once. I hope to set up meetings with Les Stobbe and Mary Sue Seymour at the Heart of America Christian Writers’ Network Conference this November. I plan to query Steve Laube and a couple others in early fall. Am I likely to get rejected? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway? You betcha.