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!
Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.

Brandt_1:14

Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.

plot_twist_story_prompts_moment_of_doubt_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.

dr_caitlin_oconnell_finding_connection_and_community_in_animal_rituals_author_spotlights

Caitlin O'Connell: Finding Connection and Community in Animal Rituals

In this post, Dr. Caitlin O'Connell shares what prompted her to write a book about finding connection and community in animal rituals, what surprised her in the writing process, and much more!

new_agent_alert_zeynep_sen_of_wordlink_literary_agency

New Agent Alert: Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Henick_1:13

Mark Henick: On Memory, Healing, and Languishing Projects

Author Mark Henick shares how he was able to turn a successful TEDx talk into a memoir, even when the project didn't come as quickly as he expected.