New York Pitch Conference Reviews by Successful Writers, Attendees, and Authors

Independent interviews, commentary, and reviews concerning the NYC Pitch and Shop Conference.
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New York Pitch Conference Reviews by Successful Writers, Attendees, and Authors

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 13 Dec 2018, 03:04

Contracts, Comments, and Interviews at

Hi Susan. I thought I'd check in and let you know the latest. I have signed with agent Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. She was actually one of the first agents I queried last year after the conference but things didn't come to fruition until just the last month... For numerous reasons and numerous times, I have appreciated attending the Pitch conferencer. I continue to be thankful to have attended the conference and for you as our instructor.

- Rebecca Fujikawa

My debut novel TELL ME LIES will be published by Simon & Schuster (Atria Books) on June 12, 2018. The NY Pitch really helped me refine the selling details of my pitch, market position the story with the right genre and comps while also giving me needed query leverage (I had some MS requests from editors/agents I met at the conference) when querying agents at several top agencies, incluing Janklow & Nesbit, who later provided me with great representation.

- Carola Lovering

The weekend I spent at this conference was transformational for me, and one of the best experiences of my life. It challenged my thinking, improved my craft, and helped me as a writer. Best of all, it made me feel like a writer for the first time in my life, and introduced me to a community of fellow writers with whom I am still friends today. If you ever had the desire to write professionally, and if you're willing to hear hard truths and do some serious work, I highly recommend it.

- Ben Keller

I just wanted to share my amazing news with you. I attended your workshop in September '15, 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 in June 2015. 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

"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."

Sujatha Hampton

Agent Query Dialogue Regarding NY Pitch: ... onference/

"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: ... raden.html

"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."


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

I am the person who sold my novel at the NYC Pitch 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, 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, 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.

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 Conference)

Will Lavender and I were in the same small group of 16 writers. 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% successful 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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Re: New York Pitch Conference Reviews by Successful Writers and Authors

#2 Post by WritersBlock » 28 Jun 2019, 03:18

We went to the conference excited about the idea of pitching our book to editors. But we realized the much more beneficial aspect was the ability to see what our pitch, and therefore book, was lacking. After reworking everything, we have a story that not only generated editor interest, but also one about which we are confident and passionate.

We will forever be grateful to the New York Pitch Conference for making us pump a lot of awesome into our book.

Bill & Karen Burton




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Re: New York Pitch Conference Reviews by Successful Writers, Attendees, and Authors

#3 Post by LUKEC7BLANCHFORD » 29 Jun 2019, 08:31

The pitch workshops with Gina were exceptional. My initial pitch strived to present visionary aspects and theme, and then Gina guided me to drive toward the bones of how the underlying narrative worked. Also, she encouraged me to bring out memoir aspects of the narrative, and this gives me a lot of runway to expand the book. So, while I thought my book was done and complete, the pitch method helped me to tune into where an audience response was, and also, new transformative possibilities for bringing in additional materials. I am writing extensively as we speak, lots of new ideas to enrich the book for a more commercial and larger audience.

Also, it was wonderful to hear everyone else's pitches, just to hear the diversity of story, and to have a sounding board. Everyone was very helpful, supportive, optimistic, and clearly talented, with a lot of promise to their ventures. I am privileged to have been privy to their stories.

Hearing the feedback of the editors was certainly humbling, but essential. I love this pitch method for starting new projects, and it gives me an idea how to vet an approach for a follow-up book.

Thank you Gina, Michael, Paula, the editors, and thank you all my workshop mates.

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