Reviews of Algonkian Conferences : Author Randy Susan Meyers

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Reviews of Algonkian Conferences : Author Randy Susan Meyers

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 25 May 2013, 23:18

I just wanted to share my amazing news with you. I attended your workshop and earlier this month, sold my YA novel and a sequel to Delacorte/Random House. I just wanted to say thank you for the great advice and tough critique you and the editors shared with me... I'm incredibly grateful.

- Kelly Coon


Thank you again for an exhilarating experience at the Algonkian Pitch Conference in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have 3 of the 4 editors to whom I pitched ask for more material from me. I followed up on their requests, and, as you recommended, I referred to their interest in my newly-revised query letter to prospective literary agents. Success! I thought I should let you know that today Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group has agreed to act as my agent. I'm delighted, and so excited about taking the next steps towards (I hope) publication. Thank you for helping me embark on this adventure.

- Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas


Although I had a strong manuscript already, the Algonkian Writer Conference played a crucial role in helping me develop commercially viable marketing materials. During the conference, I wrote a much more coherent hook, changed the title of my manuscript, and composed a much more agent-friendly query letter. I also learned how to structure the plot for commercial fiction, which will benefit me in subsequent books. The result? In less than three months, I accepted an offer of representation from Mark Gottlieb, one of the top ten literary agents in my genre, which is fantasy.

- J.P. Gownder


As the better days grew farther apart, I decided maybe there was something wrong with my story that I couldn't see. So, I spent more money that my book wasn't earning on the Algonkian Writer's Conference. The New York Pitch proved the best decision of my fiction writing career--though it didn't feel that way at first. I was assigned to a small workshop with the woman who would become my agent, Paula Munier. She critiqued our query letters and first pages explaining what sells and what makes industry professionals ship things to the slush pile. Afterward, we had the opportunity to pitch real editors.

My future publisher, then an editor at St. Martin's Press, was first up. He walked into the room and out went all the confidence I'd built up during small group critiques. Here was my version of the Nursery Magic Fairy. I was a velveteen writer and he could make me a real one. My stomach clenched. I felt mildly ill. My underarms were moist despite the blasting air conditioner. My future agent asked who wanted to go first. I volunteered. Better to go before I turned green.

- Cate Holahan


I am writing to thank you for whatever sacrifices you had to make (virgins, volcanoes, first born, fatted calf) to get Paula Munier to guide a group at your March 9-13 Pitch Conference this year! She was wonderful!!!!!! She offered practical, streetwise advice, gentle editing hints, and she was marvelous at encouraging our group to bond and help one another. In addition, she was a workhorse! I figured editors and agents would go out every night and drink themselves silly. Instead, she went back to her hotel room and read and responded to revision after revision of our pitches. She even helped me with my synopsis.

- Carman Curton


The NY Pitch was an amazing experience. A previous Algonkian workshop started me on the journey from writing for myself to writing for commercial markets while Author Salon helped me fine tune my "voice." By the time I hit the NY Pitch, I felt ready and receptive to the coaching I received by the impressive faculty of industry insiders. The results were read requests from every agent and editor who heard my pitch. Ultimately I signed with Talcott Notch Literary.

- Robin Stuart


I attended the NY Pitch Conference. The small group format ensured I had the chance to fine-tune my query over several rounds of feedback. Susan Breen was right on the money with advice on the best comps, the genre description for my book, and how to simplify my pitch. Two of three editors I met at the Conference requested the manuscript. After the querying process I had an offer of representation from Writers House, and now a 2-book deal with Kensington Books.

- Sandi Ward


Because of your conference I had 2 editors, one being Tessa Woodward, ask for my MS and/or pages and another forward my info to one of her associate editors at St. Martins. I was able to cross reference that with information on Publishers Marketplace and sent a query to an agent that worked with Tessa Woodward at Harper Collins. I sent her the first 50 pages and she was really excited about my work. She read the rest of it the next day and immediately sent me a contract. She is incredibly passionate about romance and my story. She is currently awaiting an answer from Rose Hillard at St. Martins. She thinks I have a long career ahead of me in romance writing and I am very excited to say the least. Her name is Emily Sylvan Kim and she is with The Prospect Agency.

- Amanda Greenfield


I am now the biggest believer in the New York Pitch Conference. Post-conference, I re-vamped my pitch in keeping with workshop feedback. Also, revised the book to reflect new emphasis. Voila! Immediately I had 18 agents requesting the manuscript and ended up with four offers of representation. I signed with Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon this week, and couldn't be happier. This would not have happened apart from my experience with Susan at the Pitch conference in June. Thanks so much to you both. I am indebted!

- Britt Staton


This is Roger Johns, an alumnus of the New York Pitch Conference. Just wanted to let you know that Paula Munier, my group leader from the conference, took me on as a client and negotiated a deal for my book - DARK RIVER - with St. Martins. Announced tonight on Publishers Marketplace. Thanks for a wonderful experience. The conference was superb. I'm spreading the word among my critique groups in Atlanta.

- Roger Johns


Hope all is well! I'm writing to let you know that I signed with Michelle Richter from Fuse Literary as my agent for my debut novel, whom I met and pitched to at your conference! She is lovely and I think we will be a great fit. Just wanted to thank you and keep you in the loop. When it is published, would be happy to write a testimony for the conference or whatnot :)

- Stacy Suaya

__________________

A Conversation With Randy Susan Meyers

Randy Susan Meyers has co-authored a nonfiction book and published short stories and articles. She was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom novel-in-progress competition. Her serious women's fiction is informed by years of work with domestic violence victims. Ms. Meyers taught fiction revision at Boston's Grub Street Writers' Center where she is an active member of the Master Fiction Workshop led by Jenna Blum. Several years of tending bar offered Ms. Meyers a unique perspective into the minds of men, solidifying the theory that in vino veritas.

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Selling a novel isn't like writing a novel. You have to leave the creative bubble. Face it, when you're in a bookstore, you rarely give books by unknown authors long to prove themselves—a quick scan of the book jacket copy, a look at the blurbs, and then maybe a read of the first few paragraphs. Why should editors or agents be any different?

- RSM
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NOTE: RANDY'S NOVEL WAS LATER RENAMED "THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS"

AWC: How would you compare New York Pitch Conference to other writer conferences?

RSM: This isn't a craft workshop, nor is it a giant mix and mingle conference. The focus is sharp. The critique isn't for the faint of heart, but is for those who truly want to hear where they need to work on their novel, how commercial their ideas are, and about the effectiveness of their pitch—which then translates into one's query letter. This isn't to say that one is discouraged, it's simply tough love. Selling a novel isn't like writing a novel. You have to leave the creative bubble. Face it, when you're in a bookstore, you rarely give books by unknown authors long to prove themselves—a quick scan of the book jacket copy, a look at the blurbs, and then maybe a read of the first few paragraphs. Why should editors or agents be any different? New York Pitch Conference offers an in-depth opportunity to learn the skills you need to capture the first tug of attention.

AWC: What inspired you to write ADOPTING ADULTS?

RSM: In ADOPTING ADULTS sisters cling to each other in the aftermath of their mother's murder and their father's imprisonment for the crime. The novel encompasses thirty years of their lives. My inspiration was threefold. First, when I led groups for batterers, I saw the men's fascination with themselves; when I spoke with their victims, they, of course, had to concentrate on survival. The children—the witnesses—their voices were too quiet. Second, I couldn't stop thinking about an article regarding a woman whose brother killed everyone in the family but her. That woman's dilemma—the one left behind—haunted me. Third, when my sister and I were children our family had an event quite similar to the opening to my book—except that my mother wasn't murdered. That was my 'what if.'

AWC: How has the story evolved?

RSM: The book grew from one sister's point of view, to both sisters narrating the story. It then became as much a novel about their entwined relationship as it was about their father killing their mother. For me, the largest evolution was finding out how these very different women dealt with handling their imprisoned father. In the end, I couldn't wait to find out what happened.

AWC: What made you choose to attend the New York Pitch Conference?

RSM: After I finished the revisions for ADOPTING ADULTS, I researched conferences where agents read and considered your work. When I came across the New York Pitch Conference workshop, I was attracted to the concept of learning about selling and presentation. I liked the idea of being in a small group with the same people for four days and became excited at the prospect of having editors consider my work.

AWC: Do you feel the novel is improved as a result?

RSM: My query and my pitch became more polished. The response to my novel gave me the confidence to move forward with selling my book. Let's face it; writing is solitary work. The conference offered a chance for me to get out of my sweatpants and work on my public face.

AWC: What did you find most effective about the New York experience?

RSM: Do I have to pick just one thing? The editors were extraordinarily generous with their advice on everyone's pitches and presentation. Much credit goes to the work we did the first day: polishing, cutting, and revising our presentations, as well as the pre-workshop email exhorting us to be ready on day one. Being allowed to hear other writer's pitch their work helped enormously. If you listened critically to your fellow group members, you quickly learned what worked and what didn't. I suppose we became each other's tutorials.

AWC: Where does ADOPTING ADULTS go from here?

RSM: Three editors asked to read it. I hope that it clicks, but if it doesn't, perhaps I can learn where I need to tweak or change. Meanwhile, I've started my next book, New Jersey Honor, so that I don't spend all my time checking email and praying.

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