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Realistic Odds Of Getting Published

In this article, literary agent Wendy Keller shares her expertise about that bane of authorship: rejection.

Rejection is always part of the sales cycle, but many people are not prepared for the numbers of rejections they will receive as they begin their publishing career. The facts below will probably help you understand the odds. Then we'll talk about how to beat them:

  1. Agencies like mine typically reject 99.5 of everything they see. Out of close to 500 queries a month (electronic and surface mail) we receive, we invite perhaps 50 proposals for review. Out of that fifty, perhaps one or sometimes two is ready to be delivered to publishers.
  2. Editors take projects from agents. There are about 1600 agents in the USA, and only about 25% of us are actually actively selling books. There are only about 20 editors tops for any particular subject in the major new york houses - all totaled! These same 20 people receive projects from hundreds of agents. Do the math and consider how many they see in a year!
  3. An average, overworked editor publishes a maximum of 24 books in a year, thanks to budget and staff cuts. When I began 14 years ago, it was an average of 12. They have little time for editorial development. That job belongs to the agents and their staff now.
  4. Good agents (in which group I humbly include myself) tend to sell about 3 out of every 5 projects they represent.
  5. According to reliable sources, we publish only about 65,000 books a year. 2/3 of that group are text books, professional books and fiction. That leaves approximately 12,000 books available for you to become one of.

Like these odds? They are not in your favor, which is why becoming an author has such panache. But it IS doable. My company does high level book development coaching, where we actually teach you how the editors think and how to write around the many pitfalls and obstacles. Knock on wood, we have a 100% success ratio so far - that is, all the authors I've coached so far have sold! (Which is pretty exciting to report!)

If you'd like a free consultation - 10-20 minutes - where you and I will talk and determine if your concept even has a good chance of ending up published, give me a call. Set up an appointment to discuss your publishing future. You'll be glad you did when you hold a pristine proposal in your hands, ready to be delivered to those precious 20+ editors. Call Julie at 310-456-5698 to set an appointment now. You are welcome to send your questions to Question@KellerMedia.com

By Wendy Keller: Keller Media, Inc. Literary Agency & Speakers Bureau. 23852 West Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 701 Malibu, CA 90265 USA Voice: 310.857.6828 Fax: 310.857.6373

 

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