QUESTION: Are you saying about twelve submissions is enough to give up on a project? If you've sent to the major players, do you then consider small houses, or is this the point that you lose the enthusiasm for the book? I'd love to hear about the book with 50 submissions.
I know you mean well, but I find it hard to believe that you have found my blog and don't know that there are only seven major publishers in America (actually, most of them are international conglomorates). This happened over a decade ago. All the entertainment businesses have merged to become giant media companies. It's old news. That's why it's so hard to get published now.
So, if you have a novel, there are seven major New York publishers, and two or three major/minor publishers.
If you've written nonfition, there are as many as 15. That's it.
Agents make their living on commssion, which means we get %15 of your advance. The vast majority of us cannot afford to do business with companies that pay less than $5000 advances, which is what happens when you venture into the small and niche publishers.
When I started as an agent in 1987, there were 23 publishers.
The book that was rejected by 50 publishers was rejected over a 16 year period. And, it turns out, the house that bought it was a minor New York publisher that got much bigger in that decade and a half. (I will write up that whole story soon, but it is not something I want to do again, and it is not something you should expect of your agent.)