How Did My Clients Come To Be?

September 14th, 2011 • Kate

My clients are a rock supergroupNo, I’m not talking about the birds and the bees, but I was out for lunch with Kristin Nelson and Sara Megibow on Monday, and part of our conversation revolved around queries, and how many clients we have, and how those clients came to us — what percentage from the slush pile, and how many from other methods. I didn’t have the exact figures on hand, but I thought it was worth a closer look, and I’m delighted to share my findings with you!

So, right now, I have 20 clients. Of those, 14 are published, or have contracts with traditional publishing houses for forthcoming publication. Of the six as yet unsold, two have MG novels under submission, three have YA novels being pitched, and one writes for the adult pop culture market.

Fully half of my clients became such through the regular query process. That is, they sent a letter with a short sample, I liked it, asked for more, then asked for the full manuscript, and eventually offered representation. Six of my clients were referrals either from other clients, publishing colleagues, or other authors I know and like. Two more of my clients were friends even before I became an agent, and I had the chance to snag them before anyone else could. One author is someone I met at a conference, and also sort of a referral. And the last is someone I reached out to after reading their stuff online, and liking what I saw.

Is that interesting? Is that hopeful? It should be. Of the last four clients I signed, three of them came to be through the query pile. So, yeah, it works!

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9 Responses to “How Did My Clients Come To Be?”

  1. Rebecca Enzor Says:

    I wouldn't have guessed that one is from you reading their work online – that sounds like a singer who happened to be doing karaoke the night a big music agent happened to be at the same bar! Good for them – I'm sure that's a dream we all share!

  2. @MeredithJWrites Says:

    Great information! Thanks for sharing. I've always wondered how many clients agents sign from the slushpile. Your blog gives me hope. I'm surprised to find that more clients didn't come from a conference.

  3. Michael G-G Says:

    I too am surprised more clients don't come from conference meetings and pitching…

  4. Emily Battaglia Says:

    Thanks so much for the insight! I love that your clients came to through multiple avenues. Very hopeful!

  5. kaistrandauthor Says:

    I love stats! If you can make a bar graph out of it, you're talking my language. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. It is encouraging to hear you've gotten half your current (and successful) clients from the pile. It makes me sad when I hear of agents who've closed down to it. Many of us don't have the opportunity to attend the conferences our preferred agents are speaking at.

  6. Deserae McG Says:

    This was a really cool post, Kate! Thanks for dissecting it for us! I love this.

  7. Jill Elizabeth Says:

    I haven't seen this kind of post done on any of the other blogs I follow–very enlightening!

    Re: some of the comments made regarding conferences: I think Ms. Testerman recently did a post about pitch sessions that would speak to this?

  8. Meredith Johnson Says:

    Yup, I found it in case anyone is interested. http://ktliterary.com/2011/08/lets-talk-about-pit… Thanks for mentioning this. Love that so many clients came from a query. I've never actually given a personal pitch, too nervous I think I might ruin it!

  9. Marilee Haynes Says:

    So hopeful and so helpful! Thank you for sharing.
    I'm heading to the SCBWI-Carolinas conference tomorrow and used your pitch post as part of my prep. So thanks for that as well.