faqIf you’ve been to our website, you probably know that we have a list of Frequently Asked Questions. However, after taking a long, sobering look in the mirror, we’ve admitted that maybe we’re not perfect, and perhaps there are questions every writer wants to know about an agency but hasn’t had a chance to ask.

To remedy this, we’re offering writers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be anonymously immortalized on our site. We’re looking to add about five new questions to the FAQ that perhaps we overlooked, things you think all writers should know about an agency before sending in their work, or questions specifically about our how we work as an agency.

An example may be:

  • Q. I sent in my submission but didn’t immediately receive an auto-response. What gives?
  • A. Each of the agents are working with different email programs to fetch the submission emails, and sometimes our auto-replies don’t bounce back immediately. If it’s been more than five days since you sent and you haven’t received an automated reply, your message could have been eaten by a spam filter. Please resend and let us know that its a second try.

So there you have it! Please post your suggestion for a question as a comment (remember, these will fit in with what’s already on the FAQ; this isn’t the time to ask a question about a specific submission or anything). If you’d like, pick questions above you that you particularly think are useful. We’ll lock the comments around tomorrow at this time, pick our five favorites, and add the questions and our answers to the site.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Richman, Upstart Crow and steampunk romance. Chris Richman said: Trying that again. Fresh on the Upstart Blog: FAQs http://bit.ly/w0PoM […]


  2. Great idea! I’m interested to see the submitted questions. Here’s one I’d like to know, as I get ready to submit my first query letter:

    Q: What should I do if you send back a rejection to my query, yet Upstart Crow is the agency I want to work with? Is the best step to re-work the query, wait a few months, and re-submit? Or, should I just take it that the story itself wasn’t that appealing, and the only way that I’ll be published is to try writing another story?


  3. Question:

    If we’ve not heard back on a query or submission, how long after the stated time frame should we wait to contact you? And, in the case of a query, would you prefer an e-mail or re-query?

    Thanks for asking! This is fun.;-)


  4. Here’s a question Chris and gang…Does a query rejection from one agent translate into a rejection from all agents at Upstart Crow? Some agencies say “yes” and some say “no.” What’s your policy?


  5. Ooh, I’ll play:

    – What things should I do with my manuscript to make sure it’s really ready to submit?

    – Did the crow in your logo pluck his own feather? Or did he attack some other defenseless bird/get a piece of an eagle?


  6. Here’s mine and one I know a lot of people ask. Thanks!

    Does Upstart Crow Literary require exclusives?


  7. How do you become an agent? What would you tell someone who wants to go into the business? For the record, I do not, but I find the job interesting and I’m impressed by the people who do it.

    How many manuscripts do you read each week? How many of those are accepted or at least returned with suggestions for revisions and resubmission? How many are completely hopeless?

    Do agents really have a black list of troublesome clients that they circulate? If so, will asking about it get my name on the list?

    Last but not least, sorry if I missed this news, but have you made your first sale as The Upstart Crows?


  8. Why is it that 99% of literary agents appear to be female? Is there some sex-linked genetic component to this?


  9. When it comes to YA specifically do you have any guidelines in mind for what you want? (Ie. word count, age range, topic, morality.) I find that the industry defines young adult as an age that ranges from like the time they lose their first tooth… to the time they have their first child. I don’t get that. I’ve also seen agents who say they want YA, Sci-fi, fantasy… and erotica. How can someone sell both young adult and erotica? (Okay, that wasn’t a question for FAQs… it was more a vent in general.) Still, you would think the contacts for publishers wouldn’t cross over… one hopes.

    I’m finding this whole process frustrating today, though, so I’m especially ornery. All of my questions involve profanity and fist-shaking and actually have little to do with you or your site. My kids are away for their first day at school, and I find my primary question being, “Can one actually make a living as a writer without acheiving a megalomaniac dream’s of fame?” or should I start filling out apps to work at Wal-mart….

    Oh… and also, though I know you’re new as far as a company goes, I couldn’t find anything regarding your actual “founding” date, but maybe that’s because you’re so new that you want to keep things on the low-low until you get a few years under the belt. In which case, I’ve just ruined that… and I’m about to get a “comment redacted” stamp.

    I love the word “redacted.” It makes me giggle like a little girl. It reminds me of the song “Chiron Beta Prime” by Jonathan Coulton. Sigh. Good times.


  10. I read Scott Edwards’ comment first thing this morning, and I have been thinking about it all day. What may at first glance seem to have an easy answer may not. Knowing a little about the background of those forming this new agency, I too am most eager to have their representation. So, as an adjunct to Scott’s question: some writers actually function well when given a specific assignment. As an agent, would you ever consider providing a plot summary and general story guideline for a writer to pursue?


  11. I like Kurtis’s question: “How many manuscripts do you read each week? How many of those are accepted or at least returned with suggestions for revisions and resubmission? How many are completely hopeless?”

    Also: do you have any pet peeves which writers should avoid when submitting query letters? Not general guidelines or common mistakes to watch out for– I mean do you as agents have any specific, even irrational, dislikes?

    For example, I know that Nathan Bransford has blogged about writers who begin their query letters with rhetorical questions, because that tends to get on his nerves. And I, if I magically became a literary agent, would be likely to roll my eyes if I came across a query that started with a sound (like ‘ZAP! BANG!). Just as a personal thing. So how about you? Anything that a prospective client might innocently do which you’d find really annoying?


  12. Slightly different from Debra’s question above…

    Some agents don’t respond to a query if they are not interested. Is there ever a reason Upstart Crow would not respond to my query or status check inquiries at all, even with a form rejection?(Assume query was confirmed received.)


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