Do Queries Really Work?
August 11, 2009

Lots of writers really seem to hate the “Q” word. It’s a swear for writers on par with words and phrases like “synopsis,” “not right for my list,” and “form rejection.” I’ve heard writers moan, “Why do I have to sum up my entire brilliant manuscript? If only the writer/agent would read the book, they’d know how great it is!”I’m happy that with our submission guidelines here at Upstart Crow, we’ll be able to read 20 pages of your manuscript along with the dreaded query. In fact, I’m actually going to start with the sample pages in most cases because, for me, the writing’s the thing wherein you'll catch the interest of the ... uh, agent (my apologies to Bill Shakespeare for botching that quote).But even if I didn’t start with the pages, I can say with certainty that queries DO work. Of the seven clients I represent as of the writing of this post, five were plucked straight out of the slush pile. They queried me just as many others will, with nary a credential to their name, but with a great idea for a book and writing that hooked me within the first two pages (which is all I used to read).Now, with Upstart Crow, I’ll have 20 whole pages to fall in love with your story. Of course, the query will still be important, since it’ll be a chance for me to see if the rest of the story beyond those initial pages seems to work, but it’s not everything.And, who knows, maybe one day YOU'LL be one of my next success stories!