Agent Lauren Clark Joins the MWC14 Pitch Practice Team

by Carolee Noury

The Maryland Writers’ Conference team is excited to announce the addition of a fourth agent to take practice pitches at the 2014 Maryland Writers’ Conference, “Feed Your Writing Habit,” on Saturday, April 26 at the Conference Center at the Maritimg Institute (CCMIT) in Linthicum Heights. Lauren Clark, a DC-based agent for the New York City firm Kuhn Projects, answers the questions we asked agents Jessica Negrón, Shannon O’Neill, and Jessica Sinsheimer in the earlier post No Need for Nerves.

About Lauren Clark:

Lauren Clark is an agent with Kuhn Projects and is based in Washington, DC. She has previously worked for ICM/Sagalyn and earned her Master’s in English/Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati. Under the nonfiction umbrella she’s interested in great writing about politics, history, current affairs, science, business, and sports, and under fiction she’s on the lookout for literary fiction and political, legal, and/or tech-centric thrillers.

Find out more about Lauren on the Maryland Writers’ Conference’s Speakers, Panelists, and Agents page.

Carolee Noury: What should people expect when they attend a pitch session with you?

Lauren Clark: An author should expect a casual, straightforward conversation in which she’ll tell me about her book, and I’ll respond with either thoughts or a request that she send me more of her manuscript. If I don’t request further material, I’ll do my best to explain my decision. If she has any specific questions–about her synopsis or query, etc. –I’d be glad to try to answer them if we have time.

CN: What advice would you give to authors in preparation to pitch?

LC: Practice! When I’m preparing to pitch an author’s book to an editor, I practice my pitch, and it makes a big difference, especially if I’m reaching out to an editor I don’t already know. It lets me scrap all the wording that might have seemed beautiful on the page but wound up feeling clunky in my mouth.

Also, when I practice my pitch on someone who doesn’t work in publishing, that person will sometimes point out very obvious holes in the story I’m telling or the argument I’m making, and that feedback is invaluable.

CN: Will you share a memorable pitch experience–good or bad?

LC: This wasn’t a formal pitch session experience, but someone once called me and pitched me his book while he was driving in heavy traffic. The call wasn’t scheduled, which meant that he could’ve called me at a time that was more convenient for him, and we hadn’t met previously, so my first impression was that he was distracted, frazzled, and not very serious about his book. Five seconds online would have let him prevent some of his basic mistakes.

I can’t think of an official pitch session that went badly enough to stand out.

CN: What made you want to be an agent (aside from loving books)?

LC: I really enjoy matching an author with an editor who will support that author and his work, and who will enthusiastically push that author to produce his best work. It’s rewarding to enable the love-fest that can happen when an author is excited to work with an editor, and that editor is thrilled to be working on the author’s book.

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