This is a great question and one that I’m surprised I haven’t addressed yet. In fact, just the other day I was mentally going through the list of some of my clients, processing those I sold, those I never sold, and those I sold but it wasn’t the first book I went out with. Frankly, I really thought that the numbers of those I sold but not the first book we went out with was going to be a lot higher than it was.
Here is an entirely unscientific look at my own facts and figures. And keep in mind these are just a random selection of my clients over the years and not necessarily everyone. For example, I only looked at fiction and didn’t include those clients who came to me with a book deal in hand.
- Sold first book: 9 clients (and in all cases have sold multiple books, sometimes to multiple publishers)
- Sold later works: 5 clients
- Haven’t yet sold: 5 clients that I could think of off the top of my head, but 3 of them disappeared after the first book didn’t sell and 2 of them I have all the confidence in the world we’ll be selling very soon.
One of the things I did notice was how much persistence played into it. Those clients who only gave me one chance (they never sent me a second book) had lower odds of getting published. But those who were willing to stick with me, as I was willing to stick with them, were likely to get a book deal. Remember, I take on a client for her voice, not a book. If I love your writing I will do everything in my power to find a place to get it published. In fact, I took on a new client earlier this year (February, I think) and while we weren’t able to sell that book, I just made a three-book deal for her for something new, different, and, more important, something she’s excited about writing.
Oh, but to answer your last question, yes, absolutely. I have definitely had books that I can’t stop thinking about. In fact, one of them is being reworked right now and we’re going to sell the dang thing if it kills me, because I love that book.