What are the odds of getting a literary agent? 1 in 6,000. However, writers can increase their chances of getting a book agent using these tips. This article about the chances of getting a publishing agent is part of our free 15-Part Guide About How to Get a Book Agent. It explains how hard it is to get a literary agent, and what authors can do about it.
How Hard Is It to Get a Literary Agent?
Though the odds of getting a literary agent are daunting, don’t let that stop you. Book agents reject 95-99% of all submissions, but you can increase your chances of being part of the group of successful authors who get representation.
How did we come up with the statistic saying the chances of getting a publishing agent are 1 in 6,000? The best book agents get 1,000-1,500 queries per month. Some of those author representatives only offer contracts to six new clients per year. Many publishing agents offer to represent more authors per year, but six is a common number so let’s use that as an example.
If a literary agent offers to represent no more than six new writers in a year, that’s an average of just one new author every two months. In that scenario, the chances of getting a literary agent would be 1 in 3,000. Book agents who are very successful, however, aren’t just looking for new or debut writers. They’re looking for proven writers.
Publishing agents love established authors who’ve already published books with major publishers: writers who need new book agents because their previous author representatives retired, passed away, etc. And some of those writers are bestselling or successful authors with a strong history of sales, and strong author platforms.
Don’t let the odds of getting a literary agent stop you from querying though. Understanding the odds is only half the battle. Now that you know the chances of getting a publishing agent, you can use that understanding to help you be realistic, adjust your strategy, and increase your odds.
Is It Impossible to Get a Book Agent?
To a great extent, getting a book agent isn’t luck. It’s a decision. This literary agent guide shows how and why that’s the case, and how authors of all book genres–fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books–can significantly increase their chances of getting a literary agent.
Improve Your Chances of Getting a Book Agent
The odds of getting a literary agent are discouraging and prevent some authors from seeking representation. Other authors stop trying to get representation too soon. Instead, do these four things to increase the likelihood you will get a book agent.
- Acknowledge the difficult odds of getting a book agent.
- Focus mostly on what you can do to increase your chances of getting a publishing agent.
- Improve your book, query letter, synopsis, book proposal (primarily for nonfiction authors), author profile or platform (also primarily for nonfiction authors).
- Consider getting 1-on-1 support to do all the above.
Stay focused on what you have control over and what you can do to increase your chances of getting a literary agent vs dwelling on the depressing odds of getting a book agent. It’s not about being naive about how hard it is to get a literary agent. It’s about being empowered, staying positive, and staying productive.
This article about the odds of getting a book agent–and the best way to increase your chance of getting a book agent–was written by former publishing agent turned author coach Mark Malatesta, creator of The Directory of Literary Agents, host of Ask a Book Agent, and founder of Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author.
Mark has helped hundreds of writers get offers from book agents and/or traditional publishers. Authors of all Book Genres have used our Literary Agent Advice coaching/consulting to get the Best Literary Agents at the Top Literary Agencies on our List of Literary Agents.
Odds of Getting a Literary Agent? – Next Steps
Now that you know the chances of getting a literary agent, click here to:
- See the next part of this guide to getting a book agent, How Long Does it Take to Get a Literary Agent?
- Visit our Ask a Publishing Agent page, where you’ll find a complete list of questions and answers about getting a book agent.