Lucy Cleland




Lucy Cleland is a literary agent at Kneerim & Williams, representing idea-driven and narrative nonfiction of all stripes (history, social science, psychology, philosophy, reportage, etc.) as well as upmarket fiction, historical fiction, and select children’s/YA projects. Originally from Atlanta, Lucy joined the agency in 2013 after graduating from Wellesley College. At Kneerim & Williams, she works with a range of writers, from scholars to debut novelists, and has sold books to trade and academic publishing houses including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, W.W. Norton, Random House, Chronicle, Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, and University of North Carolina Press. Her taste is eclectic—little “c” catholic. Whatever the category, she is looking for authors with sharp opinions who embrace bold concepts and write lucid, textured prose. She’s drawn to unconventional and untold stories, the lives of creatives and rebels, and questions about identity and inheritance.

Read more on her agency's site.

SESSION: The Art of the NonFiction Book Proposal

Nonfiction writers and memoirists looking to snag an agent or editor’s attention face a puzzling challenge early on in the process: the book proposal. You’ve probably heard of it, but what is it, exactly? How do you describe your book before it is actually written? Do you need to mention your twitter followers, those pesky comp titles, or the prize you won in 2007? And what are the building blocks of a good book proposal anyway? This session will answer all those questions and more as Lucy Cleland, an agent at Kneerim & Williams, breaks down the elements and how to tackle them.

Book proposals are intimidating beasts, but once mastered they are a workhorse of editorial and marketing power. Crafting one can help you solve major structural issues in advance, refine your voice and ideas as you consider the reader’s perspective, and learn to showcase your nonfiction book concept with purpose and style. And, once finished, you’ll have a document that will get an agent or editor thinking “Interesting… not bad… hmm, this could be a book…wow, I think it could be a great book!”