It takes a certain amount of optimism to query. Each of the well-known agents receives around 100 or so queries a week. (Not an exaggeration.) Now, it's true that the bulk of those people shouldn't be querying that agent. (Not the right genre, manuscript not finished, they were never meant to be published) Whatever that factors out to--will be rejected and won't really be competition for you. Another fact is that most agents accept only 2 or 3 new clients a year. That's right. Out of 5,200 queries--they pick up 2 or 3. (I did the math for you-- it's .06%) On the other hand, I've seen a lot of the writers I know on Twitter picked up for representation lately. I've seen interns go through queries and so many of those are just not competition. I would bet that my competition for an agent's interest is closer to around 5 % of queries. Still, that's a lot.
The luck factor.
Query Tracker says there are 700 agents out there that accept fiction and are open to queries right now. That's a lot of agents. Nearly 300 say they accept Young Adult. Still a lot of agents. There is no way my ego can handle querying and being rejected or ignored by 300 agents. My goal is to query 150 before I reevaluate. I've been querying for a year now. I'm not admitting to how many queries I've sent out. (That's like a woman's weight as far as querying writers go.) However, I will say that 28% of the time I get a request for a full or a partial when I get a response.
So, what does this all mean? Am I complaining? Am I excited?
It's hard to say. People with OCD are, by nature, pessimistic. The world is a hostile place to us. You crazy nuts don't play by our rules. So, when it comes down to numbers, it's hard for me to be optimistic when my glass is always half empty.
But I write fiction--I believe in fantasy and strangely enough that factors into my optimism. So many variables, though. For me, the chief, trumping variable is God's will--or the luck factor for those that don't believe in God. It's not something that you can control either way. I really like to have control. My life is about control. Le Sigh.
Anyway, this was sort of rambling... and I'm watching Mythbusters at the same time. I'm guessing my family will still find the numbers interesting, though. So, that's the numbers that I face before the trumping variable. It's just... I'd like to know what that variable has in store for me.