This week's Agent Spotlight features Dorian Karchmar of William Morris Endeavor.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: “Dorian Karchmar is an agent with William Morris Agency where she represents both fiction and nonfiction writers. Her list includes Jennifer Haigh, winner of the L.L. Winship/PEN award for Baker Towers and the PEN/Heminway Award, for Mrs. Kimble, her debut novel; Eric Puchner, whose story collection Music Through the Floor, was a finalist for New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award; photographer Pattie Boyd, whose memoir Wonderful Tonight was number one on The New York Times bestseller list; novelist Scott Heim, author of We Disappear and Mysterious Skin, which was adapted into one of the most acclaimed independent feature films of 2005; and Kate Jacobs, author of the international bestseller The Friday Night Knitting Club. Dorian has been an agent since 1999, prior to which she received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Iowa.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC operates as a talent and literary agency in the United States and the United Kingdom. It provides music, comedy, lectures, and theatrical and non-traditional tours for college bookings, fairs and special events, international bookings, and corporate and private events. The company offers celebrity voices, radio imaging, TV affiliates, NFL voices, commercial voices, Spanish voices, and animation; and voiceover for promos, trailers, and narration. It allows buyers to schedule talent for music and theatre events, comedy performances, and speaking engagements. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC was formerly known as William Morris Agency, Inc. and changed its name to William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC in April 2009. The company was founded in 1898 and is based in New York, New York. It has locations in Beverly Hills, California; Miami Beach, Florida; New York, New York; and London, United Kingdom.” (Link)
What She Is Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Fiction: Literary, Commercial, Women’s, Historical, Young Adult, Offbeat/Quirky.
From LinkedIn (as of 7/2012):
“I have been a literary agent for over a decade, representing bestselling and award winning literary and quality mainstream fiction and narrative nonfiction (memoir, biography, history), cookbooks and general upmarket nonfiction.” (Link)
From an Interview (10/2009):
“I love to be transported when I read, and what I’m seeking are stories and voices that I don’t feel I’ve read before. I’m not looking for the deliberately experimental, nor am I looking for much in the way of overtly comic novels (though I do love to laugh, I like the laughter to be only one part of what a book makes me feel—I’m not a big fan of satire, per se).”
“I seek out assured and elegant voices—I’m a stickler for clean writing, which doesn’t mean it has to be spare, but I want writers who have made the tough decisions about what to include and what to exclude on a word level, line level, and plot level.
“I’m always interested in books that bring together unlikely people or pairings: something told from a unique point of view that we don’t often get to inhabit (an animal; someone with an strange and interesting job)—that’s back to the ‘offbeat’ thing for me. I’d like to read about a Chinese washerwoman on a British naval vessel during WWI; an old gardener in the 18th century who takes it upon himself to redesign all the Queen’s gardens at some far-flung castle in France that the Queen never visits, etc.” (Link)
What She Isn’t Looking For:
Picture books, dramatic works.
Unknown, though I’ve seen mention of small client revisions.
Pattie Boyd, Cathy Marie Buchanan, Helene Cooper, Lydia Denworth, Guy Fieri, Jennifer Haigh, Scott Heim, Kate Jacobs, Daphne Kalotay, Valerie Laken, Eric Puchner, Emily Rapp, Joni Rodgers, Ione Skye, Lauren Slater, Amor Towles, Jennifer Vanderbes, Ned Vizzini, among many others.
As of this posting, Ms. Karchmar is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 12 deals in the last 12 months, 18 six-figure+ deals, and 83 overall. Recent deals include 3 debut, 1 general/other, 2 memoir, 1 science, 1 young adult, 1 middle grade, 3 international rights.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail: Query only.
Snail-mail: Query with SASE. (Link)
“E-mail queries are fine. A simple, straight forward query letter laying out meaningful writing/biographical background and what the book is.” (Link)
“Doing a query correctly is important. When writers query me, and it’s clear they’ve done their homework—they know who I am, have listened to my interviews, and know my list—then, of course, I will take them very seriously.” (Link)
Ms. Karchmar usually only responds if interested. Stats available on the web range from days to several months.
What's the Buzz?
Dorian Karchmar’s agency, sales, and clients speak to her talent and success, and her clients seem very loyal and happy. A large percentage of her deals are for debut fiction authors.
AgentQuery & Querytracker both have YA listed in her genres of interest, but I have not seen a direct statement that she’s seeking MG/YA submissions.
She has made several YA deals and, recently, a middle grade. If your project is extremely strong and within her interests, it’s worth a try.
Worth Your Time:
Literary Agent Dorian Karchmar's Advice to MFA Students at Poets & Writers (12/2010).
Podcast Interview with Dorian Karchmar. (04/2009).
Around the Web:
Dorian Karchmar at P&E ($, AAR).
William Morris Endeavor at P&E ($, AAA).
QUERY. QUERY. WHO'S GOT THE QUERY? client Patricia Wood’s query that gained her representation with Ms. Karchmar (01/2007).
Last updated: 7/26/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(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.