Today for Inside the Publishing World, we are going to learn about literary agent Chris Richman. He began his journey as an undergraduate in professional writing at Elizabethtown College and then went on to earn his MA in writing from Rowan University. Currently he is one of the founders and an agent of Upstart Crow Literary. I had the opportunity to meet him at this year’s Spring SCBWI WWA conference.
What is Chris interested in? He is looking for middle grade and YA fiction. He has a special interest in books for boys and fantasy that is not too serious.
What gets his attention? He told us a manuscript needs to grab him from the 1st paragraph. It is the writing that gets him excited, so he often skips the pitch and heads right to the MS. Also, he is looking for talent and the belief that the writer has more than one book inside them.
Why is an agent necessary? Chris says, “We negotiate. We take the middle place. I do editorial work. I’m a very good friend that takes some of their money.” In this age, Chris says you need an agent to help with contracts. Publishers change their definitions all the time and Chris says contracts take even longer to go through now because of the redefining of e-terms.
If a person wants to make a career of writing, what do they need to do? Be professional and have a good attitude. He adds that a person also needs to role with the punches, be able to collaborate and be open to improving ideas.
What was Chris’ favorite book as a child? The Twits by Dahl. And now? He likes the Chaos Walking series from Candlewick- it has a “great voice”.
How do you submit to Chris? Right now he is only accepting queries from conference attendees (where he has spoken). You need to email your query and the first 20 pages-no attachments. He usually responds within 12 weeks.
Want to know more? Check out the Upstart Crow website http://www.upstartcrowliterary.com/