Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 19, 2017

May’s Featured Agent – Jennie Dunham Interview Part Two

Jennie Dunham owner of Dunham Literary Agency has agreed to be May’s Featured Agents and will critique four first pages from the submissions sent in this month. She has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc.

She represents authors of quality fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children and some illustrators of children’s books.

She has been a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) since 1993 and is a member of the SCBWI. She served on the Program Committee and was Program Committee Director for several years. She was also a member of the Electronic Committee.

In 1996 she attended the US/China Joint Women in Business conference in Beijing where she gave a presentation about literary agents in the US. She also attended the NGO Forum at the International Women’s Conference.

She attended international meetings as the AAR representative to create the ISTC (International Standard Text Code) which is being created to ISO (International Standardization Organization) specifications. This business and tracking system will be based on titles not book formats (as is the case with ISBN) and will work in tandem with ISBN.

She started her career at John Brockman Associates and then Mildred Marmur Associates. She was employed by Russell & Volkening for 6 years before she left to found Dunham Literary, Inc.


Any pet peeves?

If someone calls me on the phone to pitch a manuscript, I get turned off.

I also don’t like when someone pretends to know me and doesn’t.

If I don’t know the person who is referring you, then it is not much of a referral.

My name is Jennie, not Jenny. I’ve been saying “IE not Y” all my life.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes, I give a lot of editorial feedback even to the experienced authors of many books. My role is to help the author get the manuscript in shape to sell.

Does an unpublished writer have any chance with landing you as their agent?

Absolutely! One of the great joys of working as an agent is helping a writer’s dream of becoming published come true. Every sale is exciting, but a debut author’s first sale is a special thrill.

Do your other agents discuss submissions they receive with you before offering representation?

Yes. We have a good team feeling in the office. We talk about what is going on with each other and have a collegial atmosphere. If a submission isn’t right for one of us but might be right for someone else, we share the submission.

What is your typical response time to email or call your clients back?

It depends if I need to find out something before responding. If I need to get information from someone else, then it might take me longer. I try to keep my email managed efficiently.

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process? 

I like phone, email, video chat, and meeting in person. Email is good for setting up phone conversations. I communicate when I have news to share. News can range from sending out submissions to follow ups to responses from editors.


In the subject line, please write “April 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: May 25th.

RESULTS: June 2nd.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love agent and editor interviews, Kathy 🙂 Let’s us learn more about what we need to know!


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