Chris Morehouse Leaves Dunham Literary

Author:
Publish date:

I just got word that agent Chris Morehouse of Dunham Literary has stopped agenting. I am going to pull Chris's interview with me off the blog so readers don't query Chris by mistake.

But that said, I wanted to post a few of the Q&A's from that interview that I thought would help writers. Read on for tips on queries, nonfiction and kids writing.

Image placeholder title

GLA: What are the most common problems you see in queries?

CM: A non-professional
looking letter. An author trying to be “funny.” Forgetting to include a
SASE. What I do like to see in a query letter is genre and, for
juvenile fiction, what age the book targets and word count right up
front. A brief synopsis in the writer’s voice (but not from one of the
main character’s point of view!) and any type of writing experience and
education related to writing. For nonfiction, I recommend that an
author have a proposal ready to be sent because it shows that person
has researched how the business works. I can always help with an
already written proposal but if the author doesn’t know what a proposal
is, then he/she hasn’t done their homework.

GLA: Concerning
nonfiction, you say you're seeking health, parenting and relationships,
among other subjects. There's been a lot of books written in these
categories over the years. How can a writer break through with a new
title? Is it as simple as a fresh spin on an old idea?

CM: Wow, very tough question! 
Of
course, the first thing I look for in this type of book is a national
platform for the author or, someone who is working very hard to achieve
that platform. Right now I have three nonfiction authors who are doing
just that through different avenues. One runs a popular parenting
website and she works hard every day to continue to make contacts to
increase her notoriety. Another is working on obtaining an endorsement
for her psychology book from a major name brand and the third, an
author of a sports training book, has gained status as a regular
columnist in a newspaper with good circulation numbers.
Another
important thing for nonfiction authors in these categories to ask
themselves is: Can this information be found in magazine articles and
on the Internet? If the answer is yes, then there probably isn’t a book
there.

GLA: Concerning
juvenile fiction, what are you looking for right now and not getting? 
What do you pray for when talking the slush pile?

CM: When I take a chance on a
query and request the first few chapters of a children’s book (MG or
YA), the most common reason that I then reject the ms is it is clear
that the author did not grasp the need for action in this genre.
Combining a distinct writer’s voice with movement that a particular age
group can relate to is the diamond in the slush pile that I am looking
for. Oh, and appropriate word count helps, A LOT!

Want more on this topic?

  • Query Letter Tips, by agent Michelle Andelman (Franklin & Siegal).
  • 10 Query Letter Tips.
  • Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
  • Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
  • Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!
Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Debut author Jennifer Boresz Engelking discusses what led her to write her historical nonfiction book Hidden History of Lake County Ohio and how research gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an animal title poem.

Writer's Digest May/June 2021 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest May/June 2021 Cover Reveal

Presenting the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest featuring a collection of articles about how curiosity fuels writers, including the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers and a new interview with Chris Bohjalian.

Through Another’s Eyes: An Auschwitz Survivor Inspires His Biographer

Through Another’s Eyes: An Auschwitz Survivor Inspires His Biographer

Popular lecturer and biographer Joshua M. Greene discusses the hardship of writing the biographies of Holocaust survivors, and the biography that convinced him to continue writing.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The May/June 2021 Issue, a Chance at Publication, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce that the May/June 2021 “Curiosity” issue is now live in the WD shop, there’s still time to have your From Our Reader’s response selected for publication in the July/August 2021 “Bravery” issue, and more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.

Personal Essay Awards

Announcing the First Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!