New York Pitch Reviews, Algonkian Writer Conferences, Poetry

Poets, Writers, Author Salon Reviews, New York Pitch Conference, Algonkian Writer Conferences
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PostPosted: 01 May 2007, 23:24 
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Independent Reviews by Attendees (see :Commentary and interviews at for more information)


Media Bistro

"Understand, before that I had never taken a writing class, attended a seminar or workshop, I didn't even have a writer's group. The beauty of this conference was that they had editors from major houses coming to listen to our pitches and to give us feedback, and even to ask for our manuscripts if they were interested. And I was one of the lucky ones. Two editors asked to see a partial ... I spent a few days getting my pitch down and getting a list of agents and I began email querying highlighting 'editor interest' in the subject line. I was really lucky."

Conference Reviews By Writers

"Here’s the thing: an editor wants to buy a book that will sell. It’s business, it’s about money. Nothing personal, you know, though it feels very personal to me. Nonetheless, I’ll keep the faith that I have in my work and continue to put myself out there. I spent conference evenings sightseeing, then re-writing my pitch before falling into bed, so it was a very intense trip. It takes a great amount of thought and effort to write a good pitch, and to be prepared for questions an editor might ask."


Agent Query Dialogue Regarding NY Pitch:

"So I took the chance and experienced the miracle of workshop leader and author Susan Breen (whose novel was published as a result of the conference--Ave Susan! Hugs!), as well as the professionalism of the entire New York staff. And as they say at the event, the pitch tail wagged the novel. Due to Susan's expertise, dialogue with the publishers, and the smart prep work prior to the conference, I was able to use the pitch model in all its complexity as a means for improving the rest of the novel, and as a result, it went from being mediocre and nearly hopeless to a gleaming story that editors actually wanted to read! Three publishing house editors asked to see my work, and after edits weeks later I queried at least five agents and received requests for partials and fulls from four of them, having added in the query that actual publishers had asked for my work. That made a huge difference in response. Prior to that I didn't get the time of day, so no more hopelessness."


Underground Book Reviews:

"What was this conference about? First, I’ll tell you what it’s not about. It’s not about your novel and how cool it is. It’s not about your creativity or how long you’ve struggled to be a writer. It’s about the cold and hard facts of selling ideas. It’s about setting a course to becoming a disciplined, professional writer. Read and heed, brothers and sisters! This is plain-language advice I wished I had before I showed up."


The following are recent comments by former attendees at the New York Pitch Conference. These comments were first posted online.

From Susan Breen (five figure deal for women's fiction)

I am the person who sold my novel at the NYC Pitch and Shop conference. I met with an editor from Plume, pitched the idea and she liked it and after several weeks, and rounds of discussion and so forth, she made an offer. Meantime, Michael Neff helped to set me up with my agent, who is a lovely person at Trident Media. So I can honestly say that going to that conference changed my life.

#2 Post

Let me just share my experience here. Before I went to the NYC Pitch and Shop conference, I had been to a number of more traditional conferences--Bread Loaf, Antioch, Writers @ Work and so on. When I saw the ad for NYC Pitch and Shop, I had just finished my novel, The Fiction Class, and I was about to embark on a search for an agent (which is a long story in itself) and I was thinking I would apply to a conference. Then I saw the ad and I liked the fact that it was different than anything I had done. Quite honestly, I was at a point in my career where I thought I needed to do something different. I knew it was a long shot, but I was going to spend the money on one conference or another and I figured it was worth giving it a try. I had met agents before at other conferences, but I liked the directness of this one. The whole purpose was to try and sell my novel; there was no pussy footing around. Also, I just liked the idea of meeting an editor face to face. If you are not in publishing, you just do not run into editors and since these people were the decision makers, I wanted to see what they were like.

Everything turned out so much better than I had dreamed. I did sell my novel--not right at that moment, because there is a process. But I did sell it because I went to NYC Pitch and Shop.

Is this conference right for everyone? No. It's intense and it can be devastating. There were a lot of wonderful writers there who did not get signed. I think it's probably a good idea to go to a craft conference first.

From H. Scott Dalton (attendee at NYC Pitch and Shop Conference)

Will Lavender and I were in the same small group of 16 writers, facilitated by Charles Salzberg. Eight of us had manuscripts we pitched requested; none of us received an offer as a direct result of the conference. My own rejection letter said although I am a talented writer, my plot is not very marketable.

Since the conference, three of our group, including Will, have been offered contracts for the books they pitched (I, unfortunately, have not had an offer yet). All three say the coaching they received at the conference helped them shop their books more effectively by tightening and targeting their queries.

For myself, I decided to attend for a few reasons:

It gave me a chance to meet other writers, folks serious about this craft, including some from the Big Bad Industry.

It gave me an opportunity to get a reality check on my writing and my book, and help me figure out how to market it to maximize my chances.

It might get me struck by lightning, get picked up and avoid the frustrating query-and-rejection cycle I'm in now (please note, though, I did not go thinking I was guaranteed a contract).

Hell, it was a chance to go to New York.

As it happens, all but the struck-by-lightning thing worked out. I'm still in contact with several of the folks I met there, one of them Will, and we all continue to learn from each other. Personally, I find it useful to be able to put names and faces to my fellow rookies, and have at least one common experience to look back on. And meeting one-on-one with four real live editors helped me gain a little perspective on this business; the four of them, and all the rest of you, are much more human to me now than before. For me, the conference was worth the price tag. I think most of the other writers in our group would agree.

From Will Lavender (six figure deal for this thriller)

This conference helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Tremendously. I did a few things in New York that were of help: I changed the title of my manuscript after it was clear that our group didn't really care for it, and the title change helped me realize some of the book's themes; I was asked to submit my manuscript to an editor at Penguin (something I put on my query letters); and I tightened my query to the point where I was 90% succesful in terms of agents asking for partials or fulls. I also met some good people and some good writers there.

According to their website, three of the writers in the group I was in have made deals. I'm with Shaye Areheart; another writer is with Plume; another is with Knopf. There were 16 in the group. That tells you that, while these writers may not have landed deals with editors during this conference (I didn't; the manuscript was eventually rejected by Penguin), there is some legit talent in the groups you pitch with.

I can only speak for myself: it was well worth the money I paid.

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