This week's Agent Spotlight features Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
“Previously, she was an intern at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand book store in Connecticut, and evaluated short story submissions for Tor.com under Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
“She graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA.
“A lifelong fan of children’s books, she’s looking for middle grade and young adult novels in a range of genres, including fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, romance, and contemporary, plus anything that bends the rules of genre. She is actively seeking books with underrepresented or minority characters.
“She is also seeking fiction for adults, especially fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and literary women’s fiction.
“In accordance with her college degree, she’s interested in informational, literary nonfiction, especially science or history written by experts for a general audience.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Dunham Literary represents authors of quality fiction and nonfiction, books for adults and children and some illustrators of children's books.
“The Rhoda Weyr Agency is a division of Dunham Literary.
“Member AAR, SCBWI.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Middle grade, young adult, new adult, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, literary women’s fiction, select nonfiction.
From an Interview (06/2013):
“I always want something with a fresh twist: a cool setting, an unusual point-of-view, a thoughtful inversion of the tropes. A clever premise spun into a heartfelt story will get me every time, as will characters that I’d enjoy reading even if there were no plot. However, you still need a plot, though. What I’m really looking for is something that I’ve never thought of! But for personal specifics: I’d love to see a ‘fantasy of manners’ in the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell or Shades of Milk and Honey, a heroine with a big voice from 1940s England à la Code Name Verity or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, or something that makes the very earth feel magical, like The Raven Boys or Chime.” (Link)
Via Twitter (6-7/2013):
From an Interview (12/2012):
“I’d love a brilliant and charming Regency fantasy, with a spot-on lively voice and a well-constructed type of magic. Think JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL or SORCERY & CECELIA. Or an original high fantasy starring awesome girls/women doing awesome things. On the nonfiction side, I’d love a Mary Roach (STIFF, PACKING FOR MARS) or, to get really specific to my college major, something like THE BONE WOMAN by Clea Koff. (Any biological anthropologists out there?)” (Link)
From a YAtopia Feature (08/2012):
“I love a good, distinctive voice and lovable characters with an off-kilter charm. Girl friendships. Boy friendships. Romance that flows under the surface, especially if no one talks about it – until they do. Snarky, funny dialogue in a heartfelt narrative. Gorgeous and true lines I want to cut out and paste on my wall. Contemporary characters doing something big or unusual outside the realm of high school, like elite athletes or radio DJs. Worlds I can get lost in, and characters I want to get lost with.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Individual short stories, chapbooks, novellas, screenplays, adult-targeted romance, horror, westerns, poetry. (Link)
“While editorial services are not officially part of an agent's job, sometimes we will give some editorial suggestions that will help make a project more salable. We do not demand that these changes are made. No author should change his or her artistic work if it doesn't seem right. We do reserve the right to say we don't feel strongly enough about a project to submit it in which case the client has three options: revise the project, put the project aside and focus on a different project, or find other representation.” (Link)
“I do indeed do editorial work with my clients. That quote encapsulates the agency's overall philosophy, but I personally enjoy working closely with writers to improve their manuscripts.” (via e-mail 8/2013)
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail: Include a query letter, the first five pages of your MS in the body of the e-mail, and Ms. Smith’s name in the subject line. No attachments.
Snail-mail: Send a query addressed to Ms. Smith and a SASE.
Query only one agent at the agency. Queries are read by all interested agents.
“She prefers email queries and asks that you include the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of your email and her name in the subject line.” (Link)
“Seriously, folks, don't send me queries addressed to ‘Mrs. Smith.’ A) Not married, B) that's my mom, C) even if you don't know, why assume?” (Link)
If you’ve received a request, see the “How to Submit” page on the website.
For more tips and peeves, I recommend reading all the interviews linked below, but “Query Questions with Bridget Smith” in particular.
The agency’s stated response time is 4 weeks for queries and 4-8 weeks for requested material (Link, Link). Stats on the web show Ms. Smith responding within days to several months with an average around 2 months.
What's the Buzz?
Bridget Smith is a junior agent at Dunham Lit who is smart, book savvy, and actively building her list. I’m not aware of any sales as of yet.
I recommend following her on Twitter @bredalot.
Worth Your Time:
Query Questions with Bridget Smith at Michelle4Laughs (08/2013).
Literary Agent Interview: Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2013).
5 Questions with Literary Agent Bridget Smith at L.S. Murphy’s site (12/2012).
First Five Frenzy with Agent Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary, Inc at Chasing the Crazies (08/2012).
Around the Web:
See the Terms & Services page for more information on the agency.
Please see the Dunham Literary website for additional contact and query information.
Last Updated: 8/15/13.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 8/15/13.
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/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.