This is the last question I'm going to answer before Shavous. Your comments may not get approved until Thursday night, when I come back online from the holiday, unless I get someone to do them while I'm gone. Just so you know.
Dear Ms. Rejecter,
I've been reassured at every turn that agents are bombarded with queries. Help me with the math. How many agents are there in New York City? Can we pick a safe number? Let's say 250-- who say they'll take a look at fiction queries. (Queries for fiction, not fictional queries, of which I'm sure you get a few.) If all 250 are receiving between two and three hundred queries a week-- Miss Rejecter-- that's up to seven hundred and fifty queries a week being mailed to 10010. You'd think the post office would be mad. I bet that's what the rate increase is all about, now that I think about it.
And on to the question: Who is writing all these books? I've finished two manuscripts (oh, 100 rejections on #1 and headed toward 50 on #2) and let me tell you, it didn't happen overnight. Are we to assume that seven hundred and fifty people a week finish and polish a manuscript? Do those people have day jobs? Car pool? Spa appointments? If it's fair game to query the agents over and over and over again? If you ask me, that has to be it. You're getting the same song, different verse, queries. You'd have to be. Don't you find that a little irritating? Maybe some people love those little rejection postcards. I know I don't. I sent a query last week, well, several, to an agent who had posted on her web site, "No news means I don't want your manuscript. I don't send out rejections." I like her.
Let's put this into perspective. There are thousands upon thousands of businesses in Manhattan alone, many of which produce mass volumes of mail. I don't know any postal statistics, but I'm going to guess that we don't really show up on anybody's radar, and are not responsible for the postal increase. As a mailman explained in another comment, the main reasons for the price jump on stamps is the rising price of gas (necessary to drive those letters/packages around) and the rise in minimum wage, leading to a general increase in ages. Based on inflation, you can expect stamps to go up. A lot of people are mad that it was not announced very far ahead like it usually is, and a lot of us who ship books for a living are VERY mad that a lot of services (like international parcel post) were eliminated. Media mail, the main way to get books around the United States, went up by I think around 30 cents. That's huge. That's not two cents. It's 30. I had to raise all my shipping prices, as did Amazon, and everybody else who mails books, and we're all pissed. Some people over at the postal service have responded, "Well, we have so much competition now from other services like UPS and Fedex." Yeah, that's great. You know, when you have competition from another business, you're supposed to lower your prices, not raise them.
Okay, now that I'm done with the rant about the surprise raise in prices that dramatically affected my business, onto your actual question.
Who is writing all these books? Well, as the U.S. population currently clocks in at 301,902,252 people, I can safely say the answer is: Enough. There are enough people who find the time, however they can, because it's something they want to do and they make time for it.