How Many Agents Does It Take…

lightbulb…to screw in a lightbulb?

Give me the best answer… or simply tell me the best joke… and you’ll win a critique of your query or your first 10 pages, courtesy of moi.

Go ahead, make me laugh.

*Contest closes Saturday night, 11:59 pm Eastern time. I’ll choose a winner and announce it next week. Standard restrictions apply, i.e. play nice, please.

Have a good weekend!



  1. Deionized water is used in dialysis labs as well as other lab needs. Deionized Water is used in the laboratory as a reagent. Ultrapure water is crucial to take accurate readings for biological samples that need an extrememly tiny quantity like serum.

  2. Rick Mena says:

    How many agents? ZERO.
    They will direct the CSR to change the lightbulb, then take the credit for all that hard work.

  3. What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?

    Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.

  4. sorry if it’s a little late, but this punchline just occurred to me:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb? I don’t know, my agent only handles garlic bulbs.

  5. I think we’re being a little unappreciative here!

    So for answer to how many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb:

    One. She falls in love with the light bulb and can’t live unless she’s part of its shining; she turns it a little with the creator to make the light perfect; she gets on the phone to call all her editor friends to let them know about this perfect light bulb that is destined to shine on all the world; she finds the one right editor to appreciate the light bulb with her; she works with the light bulb creator tirelessly to get the light bulb recognized and perfectly beaming; she is the go between for the creator and the publisher, taking the hit for any disagreements and smoothing the way for just the right art to surround it and megaphones to declare it; she keeps an eye out for other ways to spread the news with movie and international rights; she toasts at the light bulb’s launch and accepts thanks from the grateful creator. THEN, she gets her 15%.

    I think she’s amazing. Some day maybe I’ll have one.

  6. Cyntha Ivers says:

    Q.How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. None. The lightbulb screwed itself by self-publishing.

  7. LLBurk says:


    I’m watching my Texas Rangers getting creamed by the Cardinals.

    How many pitchers does it take to lose a World Series game….so far it’s been 5.

    Maybe they should try to see if they can screw in that light bulb for you. No, I’m sure they’d mess that up too.


  8. It takes a critique group to screw in a lightbulb. No writer can do it alone.

    : )

  9. Eric Dean says:

    Just one, assuming it meets their current needs. The real problem is in finding an electrician from a major company that’s willing to get onboard with the idea.

  10. Sarah Thomas says:

    Q.How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. One. But she’ll have to find a compact fluoresent bulb in order to appeal to the current market and that bulb had better not think of switching to halogen or–heaven forbid–incandescent!

    Now. My favorite lightbulb joke (I work in children’s ministry).

    Q. How many kids with ADHD does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. Wanna go ride bikes?

  11. Sparkling says:

    1 assistant to check if it’s really out.
    1 agent to to check again and confirm it’s out and then discuss with an editor that will agree that the said light bulb is out.
    Said lightbulb is replaced in approximately 2 years time.

  12. DIXIE MAXWELL says:

    To quote Novalee Nation in WHERE THE HEART IS, “our lives can change with every breath we take,” and it only takes one agent to screw in a light bulb from which hope, affirmation, and encouragement changes an aspiring writer into a published writer.

  13. wayne gary says:

    Depends on where the light bulb is located. Let’s assume it’s in the Pentagon..which will require a total of 15 agents. #1 finds the bulb. Hurries to his computer and locates the correct document and fills it out submits this query” to agent #2 who prints 3 copies for the committee which brings our total to 5. During the meeting working thru lunch they arrive at a clear decision the bulb will need to be replaced! An internal form is filled out and signed by each member and agent #6 is called to deliver document to Maintenance dept. He is met by #7 office director who in turns submits to #8 supervisor who passes it on to #9 forman of the team of four more agents bringing our total to 13..once arriving at the scene of replacment. 2 agents mark off area for agent places ladder in correct angle followed by the agent who actually changes the bulb..Once completed it will require the last 2 agents to sign off in triplicate in order for the cost of replacement of which is a total of $10,500 and a total of 15 agents to complete this project. Giving us all a great comfort that our tax dollars are being spent so masterfully!

  14. How many agents does it take to satisfy all those dreamy writers out there? There will never be enough. Now if there was some way to make a reality show like American Idol for writers. I think it might lack the necessary “sexy.”

  15. One. (Afterall, agents are super beings)

    But only after sending a super polite rejection letter to the old lightbulb, explaining that it wasn’t bright enough for their tastes, though that is subjective and would probably be just perfect in the right setting.

    Then, the new light bulb would be selected out of a pile of hundreds, first by reading the brief description on the package, followed by a quick peek at the lightbulb itself. When the brightest one is found, then it is screwed in.

    Though it would probably need the collaborative effort of the agent alnog with an editor, publisher, and original maker of the light bulb to flick the switch and make it shine!

  16. Q. How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?


    The first one builds and encourages the other two

    The second agent lifts the third agent up to actually perform the job

    The third one takes the light bulb–performs the motions needed to help the light bulb in creating light. Helping the light bulb shine for all the world in becoming enlightened.

    Because the light bulb is not able to do this alone–needing someone with experience in creating light.

  17. Ann Noser says:

    Since everyone else has done such a good job with the light bulb quips, I’ll give you a seasonal joke instead:

    “Why are jack o’lanterns better than men?

    It’s easy to make them smile, you can see what’s going on inside their heads, and–best of all…

    …you can throw away the parts you don’t like!”

    Happy Halloween!

  18. Just one. But she has to really fall in love with it.

  19. Chad Swayden says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    One, because the whole world revolves around them.


  20. hal lilburn says:

    It takes 100 agents to screw in light bulb because the first 99 said the project just wasn’t right for them at this time.

  21. Paul says:


    One to reject the light bulb because of inadequate character development.

    One to reject the light bulb because of inadequate plot development.

    One to reject the light bulb because it is too commercial.

    One to reject the light bulb because it is not commercial enough.

    One to shop the light bulb to 150 different light fixtures to see which one is interested.

  22. otin says:

    The manufacturer hands a brand new light bulb to the agent, promising that it’ll have a spectacular glow. She stares at the shiny orb, wondering whether or not it will light up the room. She decides to take a chance that the bulb is the right fit for the current void. She carefully inspects it for defects as she climbs up the ladder, hoping that her instincts are correct. Nothing will please her more than to display a shining beacon for all the world to see.

    But then in a cruel moment of reality, the agent drops the bulb and it explodes onto the floor, shattering the manufacturers dreams into a billion pieces. Discouraged, he bends down and picks up every shard of glass. His hands bleed, as does his ego. He put everything he had into making that bulb. To everyone else it was just an ordinary hundred watts of illumination, but to him it was his child, an idea born from deep within his soul. The manufacturer isn’t upset with the agent. Perhaps if his bulb had been crafted properly, she might not have dropped it.

    Using the pieces of his failed experiment, he creates a new and improved bulb; one that’s sure to never be fumbled. Even though the manufacturer is confident of his new product, and he guarantees a bright outcome, this time when he presents it to the agent, he’s going to bring his dust pan, just in case.

  23. Deanna says:

    A day of in the life of the queen’s decorators: the tale of a light bulb, a lamp and a dream

    A light bulb knocks against the door of the queen’s decorators

    He rolls in with his lamp by his side.

    Light bulb:
    “Uh, .. hi” Stammers the little bulb.

    “I’d love if you would kindly take a look at me and my lamp. I think, you will find that you’ve never seen such an outstanding pair.”

    “I’m sure that one of you can show me how to fit myself inside. I want to create the most beautiful light, so that someday I can be placed in the queen’s chamber.”

    Agent 1:
    “We might be able to help you, but you must agree to first follow the universal rules of light and installation before we can consider you.”

    Agent 2:
    Looking up over a book says, “Yes. Once we are sure that you have a good understanding of the craft and mechanics of bringing light into a room, we will need to be sure that you will confidently and deliberately break our rules – but don’t tell anyone I suggested it to you.”

    Light bulb looks a little confused at the two agents who are now whispering to each other.

    Agent 3:
    Gets down off his chair and stands between agent 1 and 2: “Wait a minute. Wait!”

    “Have you two forgotten the most basic rule, already?” “Show him what he needs to do; don’t tell him everything.” he says to them both.

    Agent 4:
    Grabbing a measuring tape, he instructs the light bulb to roll to the right and then the left.

    “Hmmm, let’s see…We have to decide if you will fit into the current design of the queen’s quarters. It’s wonderful that they are so many of you that want to be lights today, but sadly only a few are truly fit to live in the queen’s quarters.

    Agent 2:
    Looks over the shoulder of agent 4 and quickly scans his notes. He rolls his eyes as he whispers to agent 1, “do you think this one even read the guidelines posted on our door before he knocked?”

    Agent 5:
    Stares hard at agent 2 as he grabs the measuring tape away from agent 4:

    “What you are all saying might be true, but don’t you remember how the queen and her courts all adored the unusual light that we sent to her last year?

    Agent 6:
    Getting impatient says, “We really need to back to what is important!”

    Light bulb shakes his bulbous head in agreement

    Agent 6:
    “Before we risk putting you in the royal house, are you sure you can keep yourself focused and on the task of being bright? It’s the base-on-table rule. Newbie’s who can’t learn this discipline use all their energy and burn themselves out quickly, and never return.”

    Light bulbs eyes widen

    Agent 7:
    “You have to be tough, in this business. Do you think you can critiqued, inspected and rejected, not only by us, but by everyone who comes in contact your light, without being shattered?”

    The little bulb gasped. The bulb gets himself and his lamp down off the table, and puffs out his bulbous cheeks even farther.

    Light bulb:
    “Thank you all for your time. I think I’ve decided that, I can try to get myself into the lamp and somehow find a place in the palace. With today’s technology, I’m sure I can figure it out.”

    Agent 2:
    Looks up from his book again and sighs, “Oh dear. Another one lost on the path of screwing himself.”

    Agent 1:
    Smacks agent 2, “do you have to be so vulgar all the time?”

    Agent 2:
    Throws the book down on the table, “Will you please stop hitting me there!”

    He rubs the back of his head and says, “I am not being vulgar. Don’t you know that the queen mother herself said that even the lamps in the palace need to be useful and fitting for all who enter the palace, not just royalty?”

    Before agent 1 responds, the door slams behind light bulb.

    Agents 3, 4, 5, and 6 look at each other and fall to the floor laughing.

    There’s a knock and the agents stop laughing.

    Agent 7 carefully opens the door.

    Light bulb 2:
    Says with a big smile, “Hi, I’d like to know if you can help me get me get my light in this lamp. I really want to light up the queen’s palace.”

    Agent 2:
    Still rubbing his head, he gathers up his chair and sets it beside agent 3, as he waves the new little bulb in, “Come on in. Let’s take a look at what you have.”

    The end. 🙂

  24. Laura Kirk says:

    This is an old joke told to me, but thought you would enjoy:

    An agent and his wife went to the hospital to
    have their baby delivered. Upon their arrival,
    the doctor said he had invented a new machine
    which would transfer a portion of the mother’s
    labor pain to the father. He asked if they were
    willing to try it out, and they were both very
    much in favor of it. The doctor set the pain
    transfer to 10% for starters, explaining that
    even this small percentage was probably more pain
    than the agent had ever experienced before. But
    as the labor progressed, the agent felt OK, and
    asked the doctor to go ahead and bump it up a
    notch. The doctor then adjusted the machine to
    20% pain transfer. The agent was still feeling

    The doctor checked the guy’s blood pressure and
    was amazed at how well he was doing. At this
    point they decided to try for 50%. The agent
    continued to feel quite comfortable. Since the
    pain transfer was obviously helping his wife
    considerably, the agent encouraged the doctor to
    transfer ALL the pain to him.

    The wife delivered a healthy baby with virtually
    no pain. She and her husband were ecstatic.

    When they got home, the mailman was dead on the

  25. None–the email about changing the bulb never arrived.

  26. don booker says:

    How does an agent make money changing light bulbs?

    With great difficulty, I suspect.

  27. Natalie says:

    Okay. You said, “…or simply tell me the best joke.” So I’m going with an original my sister and I came up with recently. It smacks with YA flavor, but we love it.

    Rory: “I’m a ninja.”

    Della: “No you’re not.”

    Rory: “Yes I am–Did you see me do that?”

    Della: “Do what?”

    Rory: “Exactly.”

    5 minutes later…

    Rory: “My mom’s a ninja, too.”

    Della: “NO. WAY. I’ve never seen her do anything REMOTELY ninja-like.”

    Rory: *raises eyebrows*

    Rory: “Um, did I mention my brother’s ninja? It runs in the family.”

    Della: “You have a brother?”

  28. Joanne Wiklund says:

    I believe it would take three agents to change a light bulb, but they could do it only after rewriting the submission guidelines,
    reviewing the changes needed in the website, notifiying all the editors that they would be busy changing the website, posting a note on facebook that the light bulb would be promptly changed, tweeting so that anyone interested in light bulbs would know they were trying to get the word out that light bulbs do eventually need to be changed, and making a reservation for lunch for three agents, two editors and one author.
    Now what was that you wanted them to do?

  29. How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only the ones that haven’t checked if its light outside and opened the curtains!

  30. Thedesertrocks says:

    Poor light bulb. Hope it wore protection.

  31. For the Christian Agent…


    ONE to change the lightbulb and TWO to pray against the spirit of darkness.


  32. Jan says:

    None. A good agent has enough clients with bright ideas that a lightbulb is no longer necessary.

  33. Bret Draven says:

    I don’t know how many agents it takes to screw in a lightbulb… but, I do know how many responded to my queries with a janitorial application packet!

  34. Michael Rodgers says:

    Agents seem more the candle types.

  35. Kelly says:

    None. Their assistants handle all that while they are busy screwing other, um, things…

  36. None, because agents don’t change unsolicited lightbulbs.

    And because they have query assistants who may get around to reviewing the lightbulb in 6-8 weeks. And if you haven’t heard back from them by then, then know that the lightbulb will never be changed. Ever.

  37. Paul says:

    . . . to miss ‘The Night Circus.’

  38. “How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

    “I don’t know, one?”

    “Dude…what makes you think agents care about light bulbs? They want your manuscript.”

  39. None. Agents prefer to light candles over switching a light bulb.

  40. Five Agents.

    One to tell you it’s a nice bulb, but it doesn’t fit in the agency chandelier.

    One to listen patiently while you read the description of the bulb, then inform you that if you were famous, the bulb would work. Otherwise there is no interest.

    One to sell the light fixture to a new owner who asks for a fee to keep you on as an official lightbulb changer.

    One to request the label of the bulb be sent along with an outline of the bulb’s qualifications, a synopsis of the bulb’s use and function, and a detailed assessment of the bulb’s social-network platform. In four to six months, you will be contacted if the bulb is approved; otherwise, you will hear nothing.

    One well-qualified and professional agent to listen with enthusiasm, take bulb and label from your hands and eagerly inquire if you have any others to share. Then the bulb is unnecessary because his/her enthusiasm lights up the room.

  41. Davey says:


    One to hold the lightbulb while the other two make the world go ’round.

  42. We will never know for they are undercover agents.

    Have a blessed weekend.

  43. Julie Nilson says:

    The agent doesn’t *change* it. She gently suggests revisions to the lightbulb.

  44. Did you fire the interns?

  45. Can I get back to you? The writer you asked just passed out after coming into contact with a real, live agent.

  46. Heather R. says:

    How many agents to replace light bulb?

    It actually takes 8 interns, 1 assistant agent, and 2 agents.

    First intern is not allowed to make light bulb changing decisions and is sent to purchase overpriced coffee for entire office staff. The nerve of the light bulb to think the agent could work without her double soy chocolate espresso.

    Second intern slushes through the pile of bulbs, throwing most away, looking for the perfect fit. Intern eventually throws hands in air and declares they all suck.

    Third intern waits while agent tweets about the injustices of having to work with another unproven light bulb. Then intern must wait while agent blogs.

    Fourth intern must reject the first three thousand four hundred and twenty two light bulbs because they aren’t exactly what the agent is looking for.

    Fifth intern prepares for agent to decline because the agent isn’t absolutely in love with the newest light bulb. Why can’t intern find any quality light bulbs?

    Sixth intern hesitantly approaches with a small stack of acceptable light bulbs, but agent crashes them beneath her hooves, I mean, heels.

    Seventh intern is scared of snarky agent and is hiding in bathroom.

    Eighth intern is relocating to another agency and is officially closed to light bulb emergencies.

    Assistant agent is completely ignoring the light bulb because her “no response” means she’s not interested in changing light bulb. Conversation over.

    The number one agent is too busy swimming around in “chummy” waters, dashing the hopes and dreams of young and upcoming light bulbs, making them rethink their light bulb destiny.

    Number two agent loves her job of meeting/working with new light bulbs and promptly gets the job done. Agent is happy. Light bulb is happy. The End.

  47. Laura Kirk says:

    Four. One to pillage the slush box of bulbs, one to critique the bulb, one to present it to the electrical acquisition team, and one to collect 15% of the spotlight.

  48. Maleah Buchanan says:

    Two. Rachelle standing on another agent’s shoulders.

    (Hey…I’m short, too.)

  49. Joseph Baran says:

    With a loud knock on the door inscribed with hateful graffiti, a shadow of an exhausted man entered the office of a book agent, as she sat in a darkened room, stroking her pussycat in her lap with one hand while holding a sweating glass of Scotch in the other. She raised her eyes as the glass left her red lipstick smeared lips. What is it?” she asked with little interest, bringing her glass back to her mouth.
    “To be or not to be!” the weary man enthusiastically declared as he gathered his courage to let go of his manuscript and laid it squarely on her desk in front of her. She leaned forward to see its title. “Another stupid love story,” she thought and smiled with not much discretion, placing her wet glass on top of it.
    “Be a sweetie,” she said, reaching for the bottle in the lower desk drawer, “put the light on, on your way out.”

    Of course the above doesn’t apply to your office, Ms. Gardner because there are no light bulbs in your office. Your office is on a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific where the clear blue sky is your ceiling and a cool sea breeze is your air conditioning. You read our queries while sunbathing at the water edge, keeping your feet in the ocean.

  50. Sra says:

    Poor lightbulb was lonely. All his friends had long since gone out and been changed, but no one lived in the house anymore. So he sat alone, waiting for the day when he might be rescued from such a fate.

    The day he looked forward to more than any other was agent day. All the agents in the neighborhood made their rounds, and they visited every house, occupied or not. (Some agents will stop at nothing.)

    The day came, and lightbulb asked himself “How many agents will it take to change a lightbulb?”

    He saw many, many people that day. And by the end, he had:
    A hefty life-insurance policy

    A new home (she called it a “fixer-upper” but the interest rate was phenomenal, and she said he’d fit right in)

    And the lead role in the bold new documentary “Dead Lightbulbs of the 21st century”.

    But that one question still remained a mystery. That’s when lightbulb decided that a much more relevant question was in order:

    How many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

  51. Clair Carter says:

    Hopefully far fewer than the number of writers changing lightbulbs instead of getting on with their WIPs 😉

  52. To Whom it may concern:

    It only takes one agent to screw in a light-bulb, as long as the query is right. And, since this query is right, you could be that agent.

    My 100,000 word novella, “Going Rogue: Out of Socket and On a Mission,” follows not-so-bright reality-star-light-bulb, Seventy Watt, on a rags to riches thrill ride.

    Say yes to this query and you could have the next Lord of the Rings on your hands. My novella is a literary masterpiece.


    Inthe Darkwriter

  53. Douglas L.Thompson says:

    It would have to be a very large lightbulb for the agents to enter in the first place…

  54. Erastes says:

    Dear Ms In Darkness,

    I am sorry that I have had to reject your request to screw in your lightbulb, and although I do not usually supply feedback, I felt in this case it was merited.

    Firstly, you sent the wrong type of lightbulb for the socket–it was clearly stated on the submission instructions that the lightbulb needed was a screw in type, but you sent a bayonet.

    Secondly, despite clear instructions that the power must be off for me to be able to screw in the bulb (had I been able to) you had left the power ON.

    These problems, combined with a lack of footstool means that I am unable to accede to your request. I am sure there are agent out there who would be willing to do what you wish but I’m afraid that you and I would be a bad fit.

    I am unable to return your bulb, as you have not provided a SSAE, and I wish you luck with your electrical problem in the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    A N Agent

  55. Emily felt a sudden urge to fart–out of fear. She had watched her fellow contestants perform and feels she couldn’t compete.

    The first contestant had flown, while the second had leapt around like a mad monkey. The third had swallowed a knife, and the fourth had pulled a fabric out of his belly button.

    As the crowd stared disapprovingly at Emily, the fart she was holding back escaped her, roaring.

    Immediately the crowd started fainting, a few people managing to flee with covered nose.

    Suddenly, the Jesus on a cross near by retrieved his hand from the cross and veiled his nose.

  56. Brianna says:

    My answer to how many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb is five. One to get the lightbulb, two to decide if it should be bright white or soft white, and two to decide whether or not it should be one of those twisty energy saving bulbs.

  57. Amy Collins says:

    A sales rep for a major publishing house was told by her boss that it had been noticed she was not too bright. He suggested that she find some puzzles to expand her IQ.

    She went right out and bought a puzzle and worked all afternoon on it but could not put even two pieces together.

    In tears, she called an editor co-worker and asked her to come over and help. She did not want her boss to see that she could not even do a puzzle with the words “3 and up” on the side of the box.

    The editor said that she would come right down but asked “what is the puzzle supposed to be?” The sales rep replied “there is a picture of a rooster on the box”.

    When the editor got to the sales rep’s office, she took one look and turned to the rep. “sit down, honey” she said. “First, we are going to get you a nice cup of tea – I can see you’ve had a hard time of this.” “Second, we have to get all of these Corn Flakes back in the box….”

  58. Q: How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A: 3. One to read the lightbulb’s packaging to make sure the lightbulb is a good fit for the agent to whom the bulb was sent. One to read the packaging and ask for more information then read that and ask for more before agreeing that the lightbulb is a good fit. Then one to make sure the lightbulb is a good fit for all the different markets that lightbulb should be going to.

  59. David and I went hunting, and David suddenly leapt over a lump of human droppings. He turned to face the dung, asking, “What’s that? It looks like shit.”

    He stooped and sniffed it. “It smell like shit o,” he said and then stuck a finger into the dung, retrieved the finger and tasted it. “Ah! It’s shit o!” He jumped back. “Thank God I didn’t match it.”

  60. Only one, but she keeps 15% of the light put out by the bulb over it’s lifetime.

  61. Vicki Rocho says:

    138 responses before me and I haven’t checked to see if my answer was already given.

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    NONE. That’s what interns are for.

  62. Only one—but it takes her six months to get around to it because she has so many light bulbs to change.

  63. I hope it just takes one!

    But meanwhile, here is a joke:

    A woman comes home, throws open the door in excitement and calls to her husband, “I just won the lottery! Pack your bags!”

    “That’s great, honey. But what should I pack for: the mountains, the beach…?”

    “I don’t care; just get the hell OUT!”

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Paul says:

      And on another note, (which I assure you is in no way applicable to dear Rachelle):

      Two burglars. First burglar: “What did you crack last night?”

      Second burglar: “A lawyer’s place.”

      First burglar: “Oh . . . how much did you lose?”

  64. Steve Laube says:

    Without a platform you can’t reach the lightbulb.

    The Steve Laube Agency

  65. Courtney says:

    I’m gonna non-lightbulb-joke it up here:

    What does a polar bear get from sitting on the ice too long?


  66. Douglas L.Thompson says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Only one really good (secret) agent. But to even be considered, it will need to really shine above all the others in the slush pile. Also please remember, any project of this genre will require a well-established platform before it can be considered worthwhile to pursue. As with any project, please follow all OSHA safety guidelines

  67. robin says:

    None. It takes one intern to fall in love with one that sparkles.

  68. Depends on the agent’s bcc: blood caffeine content.

  69. Sharon Pavon says:

    One agent…and bacon.Because everything’s better with bacon.

  70. Kim Vandel says:

    It takes three. One to write a letter informing the bulb that, unfortunately, the agency will no longer be able to represent them. One to sift through the slush pile of query letters to find a promising new bulb. One to hire an intern who will actually change the bulb.

  71. Bret Draven says:

    I am gonna go with: zero! Don’t they have assistants for that?

  72. None. The agent refers this out to the attorney, who takes care of the screwing.

  73. Ken Baker says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    I’ll let you know in 4 to 6 weeks. If you don’t hear from me, get someone else to put it in.

  74. Brittany says:

    One agent to tell you that you should be using a CFL instead of an incandescent, because CFLs are in and incandescents are SO OUT right now.
    Another agent to try to turn the light on, then realize it’s not working.
    Two more agents to tell you that they think the lightbulb is good, but it’s just not for them.
    One agent to tell you that the lightbulb is out and you should go get a new one.
    You realize that that agent is right.

  75. Tirzah says:

    3 to say it’s the wrong length.
    1 to say the length was right but it was too dull for their use.
    2 to never take it out of the packaging 24 to claim–what lightbulb?
    and just one to say-“It’s screwed up, can’t you tell?”

  76. Sue says:

    Agent? Who needs an agent? All you need is a little glass and some wires to do it yourself, right? How hard can it be?

  77. Dee Bright says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


    One to read through the memo and to decide whether or not the lightbulb merits being screwed in
    One to check with all people in the room to see if there’s interest in having the lightbulb screwed in, and talking up the benefits of seeing it done
    One to let the memo-ist know there is, indeed, interest in getting the lightbulb screwed in—and to then listen to the resultant screams of joy
    One to again check with all people in the room to see if someone is willing to pay for the lightbulb installation
    One to let the memo-ist know that the procedural contract for installing the lightbulb has been procured—and again listening to screams of joy
    One to review the installation contract before installing the lightbulb
    One to stack the several thousands of yet unread memos on the desk—to stand on while screwing in the lightbulb
    One to oversee the installation and to make constant suggestions for how the lightbulb should be screwed in
    One to give constant encouragement and feedback to the memo-ist on the lightbulb installation progress—and to endure the memo-ist’s high mountaintop exuberances, then low valleys of despair—up and down, up and down—during the entire process
    One to jump up and down and scream with the memo-ist when the light bulb is finally turned on!

  78. Patricia Patteson says:

    One to drink a bottle of Irish Whiskey and another one to keep the room from spinning.

  79. Nathan Rudy says:

    One, but you have to really follow the query instructions to get her to do it.

  80. Rochelle says:

    15 to reject it outright, without looking at the wattage, 3 to offer encouragement 5 to look at it and then still send it back. 1 to realize its full potential and turn on the light

  81. Jane Steen says:

    None. They have interns to do that. Was that a trick question?

  82. Rena says:

    *Best when told with a southern accent*

    Two southern bells, Meribeth and Anna, sat on the porch of mansion in Georgia. Meribeth pointed out her horse to Anna.

    “You see that horse? Why my daddy, he bought me that horse,” she said.

    Anna nodded. “Why how nice.”

    Meribeth scowled. “Well, you see that car? Why my daddy, he bought me that car.”

    Anna just nodded politely. “Why how nice.”

    Meribeth, now thoroughly miffed went on. “Well, you see that house? Why my father he bought me that house.”

    With nothing more than a pleasant smile, Anna replied, “Why how nice.”

    Meribeth huffed. “Well, what about you? What did your daddy ever do for you?”

    “My daddy sent me to finishing school,” Anna said.

    “Finishing school? Finishing school! Why did he send you to finishing school?”

    “So I could learn to say ‘How nice’ instead of ‘F@#% you.'”

  83. Rita Monette says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    One to try and figure out which one will give off the brightest light
    One to try and figure out which one will last the longest
    One to try and figure out which one will be the most cost effective
    And one to actually make a decision and just say let’s give it a try and see what happens.

  84. haley says:

    The real question is “How many crappy light bulbs must an agent go through before she finds one that lights up a dark room?”

    and THAT is a very. big. number.

  85. A Lockwood says:

    Three. One to go through boxes of light bulbs trying to find the right one, and two to field questions about how new bulb technologies will change the lighting industry.

  86. Jason says:

    How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Unfortunately, agents are now prohibited by government edict from changing lightbulbs.

    Under the “Chemically and Electrically Induced Light Creation Device Removal, Disposal and Reinstallation Act of 2010”, agents are now no longer permitted to change lightbulbs of any shape, length, width or color that have burned out within one second to 60 days of an appearance of darkness. During that period, any agent that is caught attempting to change a lightbulb can be fined up to $45,000 and sentenced to a term of no less than 30 days in federal work camp but not exceeding 180 days; if an agent finishes a lightbulb removal, disposal or reinstallation or any act of the process contained herein they shall be fined no more than $100,000 and given a term of 60 days in a federal work camp but not exceeding 364 days.

    All agents are now required to call the Department of Chemically and Electrically Induced Light Creation Device Management to have any lightbulb replaced by an approved government lightbulb. An agent of CEILCDM will replace the lightbulb within 60 days of the approved request.

  87. Jess Lawson says:

    Fun contest!

    My answer:

    Three. One to reject the lightbulb as being “the wrong wattage for them, but one that might be of interest to others,” one to reject the lightbulb for being delivered with a box of chocolates, and one to pat the lighbulb gently on the head, hand it over to an agent who charges money to read pages, and say, “I give up. But this guy will make sure you’re screwed.”

  88. Paula says:

    The agent sits an aspiring author near the bulb, points to the bulb, and says, “Now, show don’t tell.”

  89. It’s impossible to say. The whole industry is moving toward ebulbs now.

    (My husband actually came up with this one but we’re a team.) 🙂

  90. Larry Hehn says:

    Perhaps the better question is, “How many authors does it take to figure it out?”

  91. poetry agent – one long (i.e. tall) metre or two scheming rhymes (one on top of the other’s shoulders)
    science-fiction agent – none ( a droid used teleportation to change the bulb instantaneously)
    adventure agent – one…on a tipping ladder next to a dark deep pit of vipers
    Christian fiction agent – 12 apostles
    children’s writing agent – depends on the size and age
    romance agent – two unless it involves a ménage á trios ormore
    autobiographer agent – one
    historical fiction agent – none if it’s prior to the invention of light bulbs
    horror fiction agent – immaterial – paranormal activities control the light
    western agent – one rider on the back of a steady horse

  92. Sylvia A. Nash says:

    At least 100.

    Ninety to reject it outright as not a good fit for the socket.

    Nine to reject it with suggestions on how to improve the fit and the lighting quality.

    One to look at the bulb, look at the socket, and screw it in.

  93. Martha says:

    Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A: Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

  94. Just one, but she must be as excited about the prospect of light as the lightbulb is.

  95. How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three. . . or one.

    One, to unwrap the packaging and discover that it does not meet the specified criteria (genre). . . and then to throw it back on the slush pile.

    The second, to pull it out, ignore the specifications, and screw it into the socket anway. It quickly overheats and starts a fire which consumes the slush pile along with the first and second agent, but a firefighter hand the bulb to . . .

    The remaining agent who wipes it off, finds the proper outlet, and works steadily ever after by its light.

  96. If the light bulb is commercially viable, only one. If it’s not, then it is impossible to determine how many agents it takes — you just have to keep trying until you find one with the right touch. 🙂

  97. Jill says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    This query is all wrong. Never start your query with a question. Form rejection.

  98. Inge says:

    Ten. One to screw in the lightbolb and ten to write rejection slips to the bolbs that didn’t quite make it jet.

  99. Maricar says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Only one, but it needs to be a perfect fit.

  100. Ronae Jull says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    If the agent is any good, just one.

    And that one agent is the same genius who found the light bulb that perfectly fits the need of the dark room she found, who will videotape the experience so the next agent who comes along knows better how to match light bulbs and dark rooms, and will market the experience with brilliant prose to attract all the other lightbulbs who are desperate to find a place from which to let their light shine:-)

  101. None! She is thrilled her light bulb burned out so she can light a few candles, soak in a bubble bath, and completely forget about being an agent for a few minutes! Ahhhh, bubbles!

  102. How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A lucky 7.
    *One to say they are not currently screwing any lightbulbs.
    *One to say they didn’t connect with the main fuse.
    *One to say the glass bulb doesn’t quite have the right arch.
    *One to say the support wires are not fully developed.
    *One to say the tension in the filament coil didn’t keep his interest.
    *One to say he thought it needed more energy to successfully light.
    ***One to say it’s brilliant.

  103. Jane says:

    One agent, but she turns your 100 watt bulb into an 85 watt bulb. 🙂

  104. Walt M says:

    None, the editor screws in the lightbulb after choosing the best lightbulb to highlight a specific room from the number of agents offering various types of lightbulbs.

  105. Hi Rachelle,

    I’m trying my hand at your joke contest.

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Four, one to turn the bulb and three to publicize the event by talking with the local electric company, newspaper and television channels, and conducting an interview with a long-lost relative of Thomas Edison.

    Thanks, Rachelle, for your daily blogs. They are often very helpful and encouraging.

    Jennifer Dougan

  106. Zero. There is not enough time in the day.

    Agents don’t change light bulbs. They are too busy answering every query letter they get in their e-mail.

  107. Zero. There’s not enough time in the day.

    Agents don’t change light bulbs. They are way too busy answering every query letter they get in their e-mail.

  108. Jaime Wright says:

    LOL! That’s all I can say. The answers are great and my light bulb isn’t screwed in yet this morning to even attempt to compete!

  109. Arthur Smith says:

    Three. One to research which changing method is trending now, one to prepare a proposal on why the light bulb needs to be changed, and one to tweet about it.

  110. Bonnie Lacy says:

    It takes 5 to teach me (through rejections and comments) and one more ro represent me, so 6!

  111. Ane Mulligan says:

    Forget the lightbulb, let me tell you about my new client!

  112. Steve says:

    None. The switch has been flipped on and it is abundantly clear that screwing is no longer necessary.

  113. Joe Pote says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    One hundred!

    One to change the bulb and 99 to decide which bulb is worthy of use as a repalcement.

  114. Laura Polk says:


    One to build a platform that the lightbulb can work from.

    One to tell the lightbulb it’s bright enough to make a difference.

    One to plug it into all the right connections.

    One to tweet the whole electrifying experience.

  115. We regret to inform you that we are not taking any unsolicited lightbulbs at this time.

  116. Jackie Mull says:

    How many literary agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Eighteen. Seventeen to proclaim it’s not the right fit for them and one to flip the switch.

    And with that said, let there be light!

  117. Rebekkah says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    It depends on the location of the lightbulb.

    In the office – 0, that requires a ladder and a permit. Who’s got time for that?

    At home – 1. Who else is going to do it? Certainly not the kids.

    In nonfiction – 1 agent, but they have to have a good platform.

    In a Steampunk – 5. Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

    In a ninja novel – What do you mean, screw a new one in? The lights flickered for a second, but they’re fine now.

    In a Western – 3, some horses, a train, and a bunch of bad guys. Wear your cowboy boots and a six-shooter.

    In a sci-fi – They don’t use lightbulbs in the future, silly!

    In a science fantasy – 1, using the Force.

    In a mystery – 1, but we’re not sure which one until the very end!

    In a thriller – You don’t want to turn the lights on. Trust me.

    In a romance – 2, but the new lightbulb may never make it to the lamp.

  118. Elizabeth Kitchens says:

    It rather depends on the location of the light bulb and height of the agent. If it is a desk lamp light bulb, then it would only take one (of any height). But, if the light bulb is attached to a ceiling fan, for instance, and the agent is short, then it would take three agents. One to find a step ladder, one to hold the step ladder, and one to change the light bulb.

  119. M. G. King says:

    It depends on the brilliance of the bulb.

  120. Janet Reid says:

    How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    oh please, as if we change light bulbs? We prefer to have everyone toil away in the dark!

  121. Stefanie Morris says:


    The first 10 weren’t the right fit.

  122. Jody Day says:


    An extremely inebriated man swaggers into the library, leans across the circulation desks and slurs out loudly, “I’ll have a quarter pounder with cheese!”

    The librarian shushes him. “Sir, this is the public library.”

    “Oh,I’m so sorry,” he replies, leans close to the librarian, cups his hands over his mouth and lowers his voice to a faint whisper. “And I’ll have fries with that.”

  123. Jody Day says:

    How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Two – One has to keep the other from sticking her fingers in the light socket after reading the 49th query that starts, “I’ve been writing since I was two.”

  124. Two. One to hold the ladder; the other to find a replacement bulb because she “didn’t love” the first one.

  125. BK Jackson says:

    Three: one to find a working lightbulb in the box under the transom, 1 to pass it on because he doesn’t take that kind of filament, and one to turn it around and around in its slot until it lines up with all the other lightbulbs.

  126. None – The agent is not taking on new light bulbs until March of 2012. Any new light bulbs before then will be returned or discarded.

  127. Susan Bourgeois says:

    One agent who realizes there’s no need to screw in a light bulb when she discovers brilliant illumination from a radiating query.

  128. How many agents to screw in a lightbult?
    Four – One to screw it in and the other 3 to point at writers saying “Is it high concept?”

  129. Change a light bulb? An agent can brighten a room simply by saying yes.

  130. Vera Soroka says:

    None because they’ve all gone solar.

  131. I cannot top these agent/lightbulb answers so I won’t try! They’re great!

    But I will tell a “Christian” joke. (And yes, I’m a Christian.)

    After years alone on an island, a man is rescued. The rescuers note three buildings among the trees. “What are those buildings?” they ask.

    “The one on the right is my house,” he said. “And the one on the left is my church.”

    “What about the one in the middle?”

    “Oh,” he said, frowning, “That’s where I USED to go to church.”

  132. Peggy Wirgau says:

    One to say she isn’t changing any more lightbulbs, one to say the lightbulb isn’t ready, one to exclaim over all the great lightbulbs she’s changed in the past, one to ask where the lightbulb’s platform is, and one to reach for the lightbulb, set up a ladder and take a chance.

  133. BJ Pramann says:

    One, but the problem isn’t the lightbulb application, it’s the the source. The agent must wade through hundreds of “the best bulb ever produced, ever!” to find one that actually works.

  134. Haiku is perfect
    For when agents and light bulbs
    Leave me feeling dim.

  135. Bren McClain says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    It only takes one, if it’s the right agent and the right lightbulb.

  136. Agent can’t screw in a light bulb because A Lady isn’t there to tell him how!

  137. Marielena says:

    Three. Two to hold the editor down and one to screw it in.

  138. Joe Shaw says:

    Depends. Does the lightbulb have a sufficient platform to hold itself up? Does it possess the capability to spin itself into the socket? Can it turn the light switch on and off itself? Does it have the wherewithal to remove itself and replace itself with one of its brothers once the filament is used up? If yes, then there is a zero to one percent chance the agent will change it. He/she will let you know in six months (maybe).

  139. T.W.Wombat says:

    None. Changes are an editor’s job.

  140. Marielena says:

    I’m sorry I’m not the right person to take this on. But best of luck with your project.

  141. Only one, but it takes 100 lightbulbs—the first 99 were rejected for a lack of brilliance.

  142. The agent never gets to the lightbulb, she contracts the work out. In her business, lightbulbs go on and off at random.

  143. How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    One, unless it was a dark and stormy night . . . the faint electric tension in the air prickled at Rachelle’s sixth sense. Was she alone? She touched the still warm globe and twisted until it fell loose in her hand. She groped for the second bulb, a GE soft white 25 all purpose regular, still in the package. She denied an urge to edit and instead screwed the tiny bulb in, flipped the switch and basked in the glow of her efforts. A shadow moved across the room.

  144. Stephen King says:

    I honestly don’t know. I told eighty agents about the light bulb. Nineteen of them replied that the bulb was nice but that they didn’t love it enough to change it. One said that the concept of the light bulb was great, but my implementation wasn’t good enough to consider working with. A couple sent me back form letters that said nothing but had plenty of grammatical errors embedded, and one sent me a picture of the office dog pooping on the light bulb.

    I’m gonna go ask JA Konrath how to change the dang thing myself.

  145. Ken Bible says:

    “Change a light bulb? We can’t possibly change all the light bulbs that want to be changed. If you’re a light bulb and you think you’re worth changing, send a one-page query telling me how bright you are and what corner you want to enlighten. But first order my e-book, ‘How to Prove You’re the Brightest Bulb in the Bunch’. If you don’t hear from me in 60 days, you might try changing yourself…”

  146. None, they are too busy drinking their morning coffee and reading these funny jokes: *– Morning Coffee –*

    One morning, a grandmother was surprised to find that her 7-year-old grandson had made her coffee! Smiling, she choked down the worst cup of her life.

    When she finished, she found three little green Army men at the bottom. Puzzled, she asked, “Honey, what are these Army men doing in my coffee?”

    Her grandson answered, “Like is says on TV, Grandma — ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.'”

  147. otin says:

    How would three of you fit inside one of those? hehehe

  148. Only one. The problem is, the publisher asks her to change it again. And again. And again…

  149. Q. How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. Two, one to check to see if the bulb has the ideal number of turns and the other to ensure there is an exciting twist at the end.

  150. Timothy Fish says:

    Just one, but first the light socket must provide the agent with a list of all the people who need the light. Then the agent would look for someone else to change the light bulb.

  151. marion says:


    The lightbulb got rejected.

    (At least it didn’t get screwed.)

  152. Peter DeHaan says:

    It only takes one agent — but they might go through 100 a hundred bulbs before they find the right one.

    (I like Sarah’s response best. It is humorously clever and the last line certianly caught me off guard!)

  153. Tim Roast says:

    How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Surely they still use candles, after all they still prefer paper mail to email.

  154. Adriana says:

    None. Lightbulbs aren’t necessary anymore, as agents now use Kindle. 😉

  155. It only takes one bright agent to screw in a lightbulb because a bright agent knows how to pick the right lightbulb (book) for the socket (market). She knows how to get the best prices (negociate/contract) and she knows how to smoothly connect the right lightbulb into socket (publisher).

    P.S. Crysal’s entry made me laugh the most. 🙂

  156. DiscoveredJoys says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Twenty. Nineteen that glow dimly or not at all. Then you find the one that makes your electricity light the whole universe.

  157. Jodi Aman says:

    100. But the one with the highest Klout score get it.

  158. Crystal says:

    they are all too busy pulling their hair out by the roots because no one Will Follow the simple Submission Guidelines!
    “Read people, read!”
    “and will someone please change that blasted light bulb already?”

  159. Dear lightbulb,

    Thank you for the opportunity to consider your application for installation, but I am sorry to say that I do not think this wattage would be right for me. Unfortunately, I feel that in today’s lightscape, I cannot take on lightbulbs unless I feel strongly about them.

    But it’s a subjective business and I’m sure another agent will feel differently

    Thank you again for sending your request and I wish you the best of luck in your screwing endeavors.

  160. Misty Nelson says:

    One, but it was refused by three agents before that.

    One refused on sight because lately they’ve been innudated with dead lightbulbs, and the occasional dead toaster for a “different take”, and they’re sick of the whole lot.

    One refused because the lightbulb failed to follow proper dying guidelines and simply gave out however it felt like citing the rules don’t apply to it.

    One who tried to change it only to give up after the lightbulb began loudly insisting it was perfect the way it was and didn’t need to change.

    And, finally, one who finally changed it but only after polishing it up and ensuring the new bulb was perfect in every way, and didn’t involve a single dead toaster. 🙂

  161. Cat says:

    None, they can see the light at the end of the tunnerl.

  162. Craig says:

    None. These days you have to build your own platform to stand on, and then do all the work yourself.

    But if you do it well enough, maybe the agent will open the door for you.

  163. It all depends on if the lightbulb wants to change…

  164. Anna Labno says:

    If that happens in the middle of the night on the campus, don’t just run there to change it. You may find eyes on you when the source of light is back. Don’t be surprised if you hear the laugher….

  165. It has taken 179 agents so far to think about screwing in my lightbulb.

    39 have said they don’t want anything to do with this particular lightbulb and screwing it in any way.

    4 of them are still thinking whether it’s going to be worth screwing in or not, as well as considering what type of lightbulb it is, the wattage, the type of glass used, the strength of the tungsten wire, and how long said lightbulb will last.

    And maybe a certain agent on this blog might want to take a look at this lightbulb too?


  166. JJ says:

    What did one burp say to the other burp? Let’s be stinkers and go the other way.

    What did the teddy bear say when asked to dinner? No thanks, I’m stuffed.

  167. Anna Labno says:

    In the dark, you may never be able to do it unless there is source of light coming from somewhere or someone else. 🙂
    I’m the source of light, so I can give you a hand.

  168. Deren Hansen says:

    I suspect the answer is, “a number directly proportional to the quantity of refreshing beverages consumed.”

    But the real question is how many light bulbs must an agent go through before she finds one she loves enough to shepherd through the changing process, no matter how many ladders it takes?

  169. Amanda Jeanette says:

    How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Just one.

    But it can take her months with all the different lightbulbs people dump on her desk on a daily basis: the incandescents she likes but lack a crucial component, the fluorescents that are usually good but almost never the right fit, and the black lights she keeps asking people never to send her. Even when her office (and home… and lunch break…) is well lit already, with a perfect fit for every lamp, and she has some reliable manufacturers, they keep on coming and she keeps on digging through them. She’d love an excuse to buy a new lamp, she just needs to love a lightbulb first.

  170. none, the agent offers a contest on her blog to critique an authors query letter in exchange for changing the bulb.

  171. Rick Slagle says:

    Just one. Because everyone knows how screwy agents can be when they’re in the dark and all alone, without candy.

  172. Nancy Kimball says:

    None. If the agent is having to change the lightbulbs, I need to be querying someone else. =)

  173. Beth K. Vogt says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    One … to tell you that she’s received an overwhelming amount of offers to help her screw in the lightbulb and is not taking any more offers at this time.

  174. Bernadette says:

    It depends on the quality of the lightbulb and how suitable it is for the current fitting.

  175. Kim Kasch says:

    Halloween is just around the corner and one of my kids wants to dress up as an IRS Agent. He says, “then he can grab 28 to 33% of everyone’s candy and leave without saying ‘Thank You!’.”

    (HE-HE, you never said what type of agent)

  176. Leah Raeder says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    One to stealthily remove and toss out the old lightbulb without telling you.

    Two to tersely decline changing the lightbulb without letting you know why.

    Three to completely ignore the dead lightbulb and sit in a dark room, tweeting about their cats.

    And one agent who totally, unequivocally loves the new lightbulb, changes it without complaining, sits and basks in its glow for a while, then tells everyone how great it is and eventually gives it to an editor who loves it just as much.

    • William Pipes says:

      It takes Three male agents or one female agents to change a light bulb. God made the male agent and paused and said, I can do better than this.

    • Cathy West says:

      I don’t really care about the lightbulb. I just want to know how all you people can think so darn fast this early in the morning. You’re brilliant. 🙂

    • It take 3 agents to screw in a light bulb. Why?

      The first agent opens the package.

      The second agent recognizes the light bulb’s incredibly strong platform.

      And the third agent changes her blog to, “I change my mind. i am actually open to representing a few more great clients!”

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