I have been BLIND QUERYING agents for nearly three years to no avail, and I am wondering if this approach is a realistic one. I have used countless templates in crafting my query letter and all my queries were catered to the agents needs. Is this how most authors find agents realistically speaking? Or do most authors find agents through some kind of a referral or conference request? I mostly write Christian fantasies.
I've had success at least getting to the level of proposal requests through blind queries. They can be a tremendous resource for an unknown writer. But it's a brutally tough market out there right now. Agents, in particular, are often looking exclusively for books they think will have a significant financial payoff --because otherwise their margins aren't enough for them to make a living.
You might have more luck querying publishers directly if you have a niche book, or one with less commercial upside. There are some small independent niche publishers out there who are pursuing what they do as a labor of love. They aren't large enough to attract agents, but they do publish books, and if they love what you do, you might have a chance with them.
For Christian fiction in particular, the odds may be against you. There is a significant specifically Christian book-buying audience, but they aren't typically reading thrillers or fantasy. Conversely, many people who enjoy fantasy or thrillers may in fact be Christians, but they aren't necessarily looking for that in the literature they choose. As an example, I'm a Christian who loves fantasy literature, but in all my years of reading, I can only think of one or two specifically Christian fantasies I've read and enjoyed ("Her Majesty's Wizard" by Stasheff and the Narnia series, by Lewis, in case you're wondering).
Don't know about stats as far as most, but yes, it happens: https://twitter.com/samroebuck/status/1229919990083702785?s=19
General wisdom is that every 10-15 rejections without a request, you should go back and evaluate what isn't working. It's either the query letter, the sample, or the people you're querying. With a niche as small as Christian fantasy, you should go very slow and get as much feedback from good + brutally honest betas as you can first, because you don't get to requery someone after they've rejected you just because you've improved your product, and you likely have a much smaller pool of agents who can sell your work than most.