A New Writer Focused Literary Agency
Recently I was chatting with a literary friend who had some ‘insider’ knowledge passed from a friend of a friend…
We were talking about the difficulty of getting published and the frustration of the process.
For at least the last ten years, sending unsolicited query letters or manuscripts to literary agencies had been a losing game. The odds were wildly stacked against the writer, with the average agent receiving between 200 and 300 query letters a day.
She said as one experienced New York agent put it, ‘your chances of getting representation and a publisher that way are in reality not so far from those of the lucky sperm out of millions which reaches the egg.’
Most agents no longer take unsolicited submissions seriously or have blocked them entirely. Others typically take one or two clients from the 20,000 plus approaches they receive each year. However you cut it, these are terrible odds to be facing. No savvy writer would play them as their route to market.
I want to make it clear to readers at this point, that I have no association of any sort with the future planned literary agency revealed by my friend, nor with anyone involved in this project. It interests me because it is the first time I have been made aware of an upcoming agency making a serious effort to give the writer some decent odds at being published and build beyond the current broken system.
How The System Got So Broken…
In the old days, before the late 90s, there were far fewer writers about and many publishing editors were still directly approachable. Agents were important in cutting deals. But by around 2000, as publishers could no longer cope with processing direct submissions, they came to rely on agents as their gatekeepers and feeders.