Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Agent/Author Claire Friedman & M.K. Lobb Guest Post w/Seven Faceless Saints Giveaway on 2/1/2023
  • Lori Steel Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/6/2023
  • Bethany Funk Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/23/2023
  • Agent/Author Lizz Nagle & J.A. Nielsen Guest Post w/The Claiming and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/6/2023
  • Kristen Terrette Agent Spotlight Interiew and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/20/2023

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Susan Hawk

This week's Agent Spotlight features Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary.
Status: Currently closed to submissions but says she will reopen to submissions. 
Update 8/5/2021: Susan is currently open to submissions.

Susan-Hawk-photoAbout: "Susan Hawk has worked in children’s books for over twenty-five years. She comes to Upstart Crow from the Bent Agency, and her clients include Alison Oliver, illustrator of the bestselling Baby Lit board books and the forthcoming picture book Moon; Ruth Spiro, author of the Baby Loves Science board book series; Marcie Colleen, author of the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series and the forthcoming picture books Love, Triangle and Penguinaut!; Lisa Tyre, whose debut middle-grade novel, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, was a BEA Buzz Book title; Sarah Lariviere, whose middle-grade novel The Bad Kid is an 2017 Edgar Award Nominee; and Rachael Allen, author of the YA novels 17 First Kisses, The Revenge Playbook and the forthcoming A Taxonomy of Love.
"Before agenting, Susan worked in the Children’s Marketing departments of Penguin Books for Young Readers, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and North-South Books, where she managed campaigns for many books and authors including Eric Carle, Mary E Pearson, Richard Peck and Joan Bauer. She’s also been a children’s librarian and bookseller, and spent some time in Dutton Editorial, acquiring select picture book and YA projects for that list." 
About the Agency:
To begin with, it is an insult slung at the young Shakespeare in 1592 by older, more-established, but less successful playwright Robert Greene. His obvious irritation at the younger artist’s pluck and nerve is, we think, typical of the response of the old guard toward any new talent. There is something in the phrase that speaks of courage and brio and daring, and we feel we should all be upstart crows when it comes to our writing and our work. (Link)Web Presence:
Upstart Crow Literary website.
Susan Says (blog).
Publisher's Marketplace.
Her Manuscript Wish List.
QueryTracker, AgentQuery.
What She's Looking For:
Children’s picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult, fiction and non-fiction.
You can find out much more about what she is looking for on her Bio page on the Upstart Crow Literary website, her blog, and her Manuscript Wish List if she reopens to submissions.
From a Blog Post (03/2012):
“I long for a gorgeous, literary novel for middle grade or YA. In the past couple of years a few books stick with me: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, Chime by Franny Billingsley, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (though this is an older title, I read it recently and fell deeply in love). One thread of commonality between these books is that though they are all wonderfully written, none of them are short on plot: Things happen. There are mysteries to solve. No one’s sitting around luxuriating in doing nothing except come up with some fabulous prose. So, I’m looking for a stop-me-in-my-tracks-beautiful, character driven novel that doesn’t stint on plot.
“I’ve always loved rich, atmospheric historicals that feel immediate. Here’s a short list of some time periods/places I’m interested in: World War I, Jazz Age, Berlin between the wars, India under British Colonial rule, Japan and/or China in the first half of the twentieth century, Sydney’s first 50 years, Venice, Henry VIII and the Elizabethan period, Spain during the same time. I’m interested in the moments, and places, where cultures and values have collided and change is happening fast, around people who may or may not want to be caught up in this change. I’m a sucker too for the romanticism of some historical fiction, and can be swept up into the dresses, the balls, and definitely intrigue.
“In YA, I do see quite a bit of snarky humor, especially coming from a teen girls’ point of view. In MG, there are plenty of goofy boys, and girls who are quirky originals. There’s nothing wrong with either of these, but I think it’s harder to be original with these sorts of characters, since there are many of them out there. I’d love to see something, that’s witty, or sly. Also, I love word play.
“Mystery is always top of my wants list. Many mysteries I see involve a magical element, or a teen that has special powers of some sort. I’d love something that is less fantastical, and more grounded; perhaps about a teen who works with a PI, breaking her own cases?
“I’ve always been a fan of scifi and I’d love to see a real space adventure; think Battlestar Gallactica, which I loved (I do see lots of dystopian, which I’m not as keen on right now).
“Much of the contemporary that I see has a romantic element (not that I object to romance); I’d love something that’s about the other parts of a teen’s life; perhaps friendships, which can be so hard to navigate at this time too. And I’m always a sucker for a good heart-wrenching mother-daughter story.” (Link)
From an Interview on Picture Books (02/2012):
“I am especially looking for a wonderful character, someone who is going to jump off the pages and into kids’ hearts.
“I’d love to do some non-fiction picture books – biography, history, science – particularly when the story revolves around a particular person; in essence, is still a character-driven story.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Poetry, sports, textbooks/academic books, reference, books for the adult market. (Link-Defunct)
“I am not especially drawn to board books, rhyming texts, message driven or purely educational texts.” (Link)
“My ideal client is a talented and imaginative writer, who is willing to go deep into their story and characters. Ability to laugh at life makes you good to work with, and makes for good writing too. I also appreciate someone who understands that publishing is a business, and has done their homework.” (Link)
Editorial Agent?
There is a list of agency clients on the website.
Ms. Hawk’s clients include: Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, Danielle Davis, Jennifer Downey, Joy Janzen, Marcia Lerner, Lisa Lewis Tyre, and Katie Vernon.
Query Methods: Closed to queries.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
See The Upstart Crow Literary or Ms. Hawk’s blog to see when she reopens to submissions and for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
The agency has a goal of responding to all queries within a month. If you do not receive a response within this time, resend your query and indicate you are resending. 
Stats on the web show Ms. Hawk responding to most queries within hours to a month. Requested material ranges from days to a few months.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Posts:
Podcast interview on Middle Grade Ninja (12/24/2022)
Agent of the Month: Susan Hawk Part 1 and Part 2 at Writing and Illustrating (03/2019)
Agent Spotlight: Susan Hawk at Kidlit411 (06/2015)
Agent Query: 10 Questions With Susan Hawk at Middle-Grade Mojo (03/2015)
A Cafe Chat With Literary Agent Susan Hawk at Eastern Penn Points (10/2014).
Query.Sign.Submit With Susan Hawk at I Write for Apples (01/2014).
Interview With Kidlit Agent Susan Hawk at Tara Lazar (04/2013).
Literary Agent Interview: Susan Hawk at Writer's Digest (01/2013).
Agent Susan Hawk Talks Picture Books at Frolicking Through Cyberspace (02/2012).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Susan Hawk at Middle Grade Ninja (04/2011).
Selected Blog Posts:
A Wish List (03/2012).
Querying: A Guide to Knocking My Socks Off, Part I (02/2012).
Querying: A Guide to Knocking My Socks Off, Part II (02/2012).
A Word from Susan Hawk at Bent on Books (02/2010).
Please see The Upstart Crow Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/8/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/15/12.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.


Matthew MacNish said...

These are the best posts on the internet.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great spotlight Casey. I'll go through her interviews to see if she says anything about whether she likes fantasy or not.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks, Casey! Where would we all be without your spotlights?! :)

Ali B said...

Another great Spotlight, and I've got another potential agent to add to my list. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Rosi said...

This is really, really helpful. Thanks for the post.

Thermocline said...

Lots of detailed information, as always. Thanks, Casey!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oooh, she sounds like she might be rght up my alley! Thanks so much for all of this info!

Emily White said...

Great spotlight! Thank you so much!

Lydia Kang said...

As always, you guys are such a great resource for writers!

Traci VW said...

Perfect timing. She is next on my list to query. This site is my go-to place when researching agents. Thanks a million for providing such a valuable resource.

Stina said...

I love the agent spotlights. Perfect for when I start querying again. :)

Danika Dinsmore said...

Great spotlight! Ms. Hawk sounds like a lot of serious fun.