Young Adult #pitchwars 2019 stats

This is the 2nd in my Pitch Wars stats series. I’m releasing them as I have the time to do categories. See the Middle Grade stats here.

Please don’t reproduce this information anywhere else. This work takes a long time so I would appreciate if you would instead link to my post. If you’d like to show your appreciation for this work you can buy me a coffeepaypal me, or donate to Pitch Wars but it’s definitely not necessary or expected!

We have 1484 Young Adult submissions. With YA having 45 slots for mentees and ignoring the fact that some YA mentors took NA submissions (there were only 120 of those),  3.03% of YA applicants were able to obtain a mentor.

The average word count was 83,466 and the median word count was 82,000. Word counts of submissions ranged from 1000 to 423,000. (!!)

Applicants can submit to up to 4 mentors. Sometimes they choose to submit to fewer than that (I’m not sure why — it doesn’t hurt you to submit to someone who may be a stretch, but people have their reasons).

1.1% of MG applicants submitted to 3 mentors, 0.2% to 2 mentors, and 0.5% to 1 mentor. 98.2% of MG applicants maxed out their 4 mentor selections. 0 applicants who selected fewer than 4 mentors were chosen as a mentee, but since the percentages are so low, that’s not necessarily statistically significant.

Just 2 submissions or 0.13% were graphic novels.

Applicants can indicate if they want to allow “swapping” on their work. What that means is a mentor who is submitted to is allowed to send the submission package to a mentor who was not submitted to if they think it is a good fit for the mentor. 99.7% of YA applicants gave permission for mentors to “swap” their submission, whereas 0.3% declined.

Swapping is very restricted internally, and mentors have to submit a short application to request each and every swap. For example, there were only nine swap requests approved in YA. This is 0.15% of received submissions.

Submissions were open from September 25 to September 27, but we opened up two hours early on September 24th.

YA submissions by date

8.2% of YA applicants submitted in those two hours on the 24th (my birthday!). 42.6% of applicants submitted on the 25th, 21.8% submitted on the 26th, and 27.4% submitted on the 27th.

8% of YA applicants submitted in the last two hours of the submission period. I’m always amazed by the number of people who wait until the last minute to submit. (Don’t do this, if you can at all help it. If you have a computer or internet issue, we do NOT allow late submissions under any circumstances.)

I’m aware that most people care about genre breakdown, so that’s why I saved it for last. 🙂

I insisted this year that we have a drop down list for genre in order to make these stats easier. Otherwise, people put in genres like “Middle Grade Science Fiction Fantasy with romantic and mystery elements in a setting reminiscent of the 1920s,” so we end up having literally hundreds of “genres” which makes stats unwieldy. Thank you so much to everyone who complied and went along with this without complaint. Otherwise, these stats would simply not happen.

Below is a breakdown of applicant genres and mentee genres. A pie chart of this info is unwieldy, so forgive the plain text chart.

Genre Applicants Mentees
Science Fiction 14.2% 6.7%
Fantasy 56.6% 40.0%
Horror 1.8% 8.9%
Contemporary 18.5% 35.6%
Historical/Alt History 2.8% 2.2%
Mystery/Thriller 5.0% 4.4%
Adventure 0.5% 0.0%
Gothic 0.3% 2.2%
Literary 0.1% 0.0%
Memoir 0.1% 0.0%

The Fantasy category includes urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy in addition to high fantasy and others, so it’s broad.

In the Agent Showcase, YA entries received an average of 17.68 requests, with a median of 17. The five most-requested manuscripts in the Showcase were (in order) submitted with the following genres:

  • Romance – Contemporary
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Fantasy – Paranormal
  • Fantasy – High/Epic
  • Horror – either fantastical or science fiction

I would like to say this: I know how easy it is to drown in stats like these and analyze and over-analyze. Please try to avoid going down that spiral. These are just statistics – they don’t paint the full picture of the market, mentor thought processes, or your personal chances in this industry. Do not let these numbers consume you because they mean practically nothing for your own personal situation.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t include xyz statistics, there is almost definitely a reason, whether it’s we don’t want to release that info because it will make people feel bad OR it would take too much time to put that info together, the chances are very slim that we’ll release additional statistics.

See you next time! ❤


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