Q: I'd like to send a query. What's your email address? A: firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address. You can find complete instructions for querying on our How to Submit page, and we recommend reading the page before submitting. Every agency is a little different, and paying attention to the details makes a difference.
Q: Can I send my query by mail? A: We do not accept queries sent by postal mail. Times have changed, and saving trees is good.
Q: If you don't accept mail queries, why did I find your mailing address listed in XYZ guide to literary agents? A: Over the years since Dunham Literary opened in August of 2000, technology and communication have changed. There was a time that Dunham Literary accepted queries only by mail. We have transitioned to sharing all our files electronically. Older guides may still have a mailing address for us, but if you send our query by mail, it will go to an old address where we no longer have an office so we will not receive it. Please remember that we do not control the content of anyone else's book or website.
Q: How do I know that you received my query letter? A: We receive a high volume of queries and do our best to respond promptly to each one. Some seasons are busier than others, but please be patient and trust that if you emailed us a query you will hear back from us.
Q: How long does it take you to read and respond to query letters? A: We are proud of our track record for responding promptly to query letters. Some agencies have a default to “if you don’t hear from us, it’s a no,” and we would rather you receive a brief reply from us than nothing at all. Due to an increase in volume of queries received, it may take a month or more from our receipt of the query letter to reply.
Q: I have a great idea for a book. At what stage do I send you the query letter? A: Please have a full proposal if your project is non-fiction or a complete manuscript if your project is fiction before you contact us. We don’t offer representation based on just an idea. Lots of people have good ideas; it's the writing and the execution of the idea into a book coupled with strong author credentials that make a salable project.
Q: I live abroad. Can I still query you? A: Yes. Dunham Literary is based in the US, but we do have clients who live and have citizenship in other countries.
Q: My query letter doesn’t give a sense of my writing style. Can I send my manuscript? A: We ask for the first five pages of the manuscript pasted into the email below the query letter. That way we get a brief sense of the writing before requesting a longer portion or the whole manuscript.
Q: My manuscript is just a short picture book and the text is only 4 pages in length. Should I send the whole thing since it’s so short? A: Yes, that’s fine since your manuscript is shorter than five pages. We ask for the first fives pages along with the query letter. I your manuscript is shorter than that, then it falls within our page limit.
Q: You represent picture books. Does that mean you represent creators (or teams) who both write and illustrate? Do you represent picture book authors? What about picture book illustrators? A: While our preference is for creators who can both write and illustrate a picture book, we do represent picture book writers who are not illustrators. We occasionally represent illustrators who don't also write, but we're primarily a literary agency rather than an artists' representative so we may not be the best fit for an artist who does not also write.
Q: My best writing is in the middle of the story. Can I send five pages from the middle of my manuscript? A: No. We prefer to see the first five pages to read how the story starts. These are the most helpful pages at this point in considering your project.
Q: Will you edit my manuscript before you submit it to publishers? A: While we often give our clients feedback, it is the writer's responsibility to have the manuscript polished. Another set of eyes can be helpful, and there's no single right answer for who is best to read an early draft of a manuscript. Sometimes beta readers are trusted writing partners, critique groups, or freelance editors.
Q: I want to send for information on your submission guidelines. Do you have those? A: Everything you need to know is on the website. If you email for submission guidelines, you will receive no response. If you are reading this information here, you are already in the right place learning everything you need to know.
Q: I have a quick question. Before I query, can I ask you on social media? A: We do not read or respond to direct messages on social media. If your question isn't answered on on website, emailing us is the best way to contact us.
Q: You participate in social media pitch events. Can I pitch my project to you on social media? A: No. We don't accept pitches on social media. We don't read or respond to direct messages on social media. When we participate in pitch events on social media platforms, we ask that any pitches with like (heart) are sent to use by email afterwards.
Q: Shoot! You sent me a rejection letter. I'm mad, unhappy, frustrated, __________ (you fill in the blank). Why didn't you accept me? A: Please remember that if you get turned down by our agency (or any other agency for that matter), it doesn't mean that your writing is bad. It means that we (or that other agent) aren't the right match for you. It's more of a "not us" response than "not you." Every day agencies turn down perfectly good writing and writers who go on to become successful later. Turning down writers is one of the tough parts of being a literary agent.
Q: Ok, so I'm over being mad, unhappy, frustrated (or whatever) about being rejected. Will you give me some constructive criticism about why I was rejected so that I won't be at the next agency I try? A: While we're glad you're motivated to improve (and that motivation will help you be successful), we don't provide a critique service for query letters or manuscripts. Each agency and agent has different reasons why a particular writer or project is or isn't a good match for them.
Q: If I work on improving my query to make it better, can I resubmit it to you? A: Technically, yes. Keep in mind, however, that our response related to your project more than to your query letter. If there's nothing new or changed about your project, it's highly likely that our response to your query will be the same.
Q: If I queried one agent who wasn't interested, could I send my query to another? A: Please do not send multiple emails to Dunham Literary. We have a team approach and share queries internally. Please write to one agent specifically; if that agent's interest isn't piqued, your query may be shared with other agents who might be interested.
Q: I have several manuscripts. Should I send a separate query letter for each? A: No. Please send one query letter which gives an overview of your work as an author. While we are considering one manuscript, we're also considering you an author. It's important for us to look at the various kinds of books an author writes in a comprehensive way.
Q: Will you sign a non-disclosure agreement so I can be sure you won’t steal my idea for the book and give it to another writer? A: No, we don’t sign non-disclosure agreements before reading proposals or manuscripts. We don’t share writing by current or prospective clients with anyone unless authorized to do so. Good ideas are common; it’s the execution of the great idea into a story that is hard. If we start working together, we’ll have to share your work with others without using a non-disclosure agreement when we submit. Q: I have a proposal for a way my company can partner with your business. Should I use the query email to contact you about this? A: No. Dunham Literary does not partner with self-publishers to receive kickbacks for referrals. We are not in need of seo help, improved telephone service, cleaning services, or other unsolicited services or products. If you’re surfing the web to see if you can get this type of business with us, remove us from your list. Also, we are not responsible for the content of any query letters or solicitations.