Inside a literary agent’s mailbox


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Nathan Bransford is one of the new breed of literary agents who uses the Internet to be remarkably transparent about his process. Today he posted about what stacked up in his mailbox when he was on vacation -- 327 queries. That’s in one week.

Whoa. That’s a lot of queries.

What does it mean for writers who are hoping to land an agent? Mostly that there is a tremendous amount of competition: In this one week, Bransford received 73 young adult queries. How many could he possibly say yes to?


Turns out he responded positively to four out of all the hundreds of queries -- a little more than 1%. And that’s not taking them on as clients -- that’s just saying that he’ll look at the manuscripts.

In such a scenario, it’s got to help to know your stuff. At least those aspiring young adult authors learned that Bransford represents young adult fiction.

But not all picked up a dictionary: Out of the 327 submissions he received, two misspelled the word ‘query.’

-- Carolyn Kellogg