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"Any first time author can be made to look "fabulous" -- it's all about how an agent, author and publisher present the author. Every author has a background and a story, which can be told to the book- sellers and public in a boring way or a way that is spectacular."

  Barbara   Zitwer

Comparisons of Algonkian Events (from mild to intense)

Intensity Level = emotion present / # of tasks to accomplish
Mentoring Level = productive time for one-on-one mentoring with faculty

The Monterey and Algonkian Writer Retreats
Intensity Level: ** Mentoring Level: ******

The Monterey Writers Retreat is a five day retreat located on the Monterey Peninsula in California. The Algonkian Park Writer Retreat is in Virginia, on the Potomac, also five days. These two retreats will suit you if you desire a relaxed and inspirational atmosphere while surrounded by a naturally beautiful environment. Do you wish a review of your short stories or flash fiction? Do you need to discuss the reality of the market, or your novel project, plot and characters, or pehaps get feedback on the opening hook or a sample chapter? Or would you simply like a relaxed and productive dialogue about your goals as a writer? Whatever works for you. Our onsite mentors are all experienced professionals in the commercial and literary worlds of writing and publishing.

San Francisco Write to Market Conference
Intensity Level: **** Mentoring Level: ***

The San Francisco Write to Market conference is unique in the writer conference world. Why? Because, among other things, they also include the pre-event assignments and readings featured in the smaller Algonkian workshops. The events last for three to four days and allow up to 50 attendees. The event provides comprehensive, hands-on experience with everything the aspiring author must know in order to become realistically competitive in today's market. Lectures, assignments, and panels follow the Algonkian workshop format with emphasis on premise and plot, platform, market, and execution. Distinguishing general features as follows:
  • A set of novel-prep assignments and readings completed in the Algonkian online forum.
  • Separate pre-event assignments emailed to participants which include hook and marketing analysis.
  • Conference "pitch panels" wherein writers role play as agents and editors.
  • Feedback on novel structure, premise, and narrative from professionals, not attendees.
  • Pitch training in conjunction with novel workshopping.
  • The 86-page Algonkian Study Guide and workshop syllabus.
  • Creation of an individual publication plan with workshop leaders.
  • Interactions and one-on-one sessions with literary agents.
  • Competitive registration fees of $395 to $495 per event.

Port Townsend and Santa Barbara Workshops
Intensity Level: **** Mentoring Level: *****

Our Port Townsend and Santa Barbara Author-Mentor novel workshops last four to five days with an average of 12 attendees. Focus is on all phases of novel creation, as well as development of necessary platform (credentials, authority, etc.) and the art of marketing the ms to agents and editors (log lines, pitches, query letters, etc.) Distinguishing features as follows:
  • Small Group Environment.
  • Feedback on all novel elements from professionals, not attendees.
  • A set of novel-prep assignments and readings completed in the Algonkian online forum.
  • Separate pre-event assignments emailed to participants which include hook and marketing analysis.
  • The 86-page Algonkian Study Guide.
  • Workshop syllabus.
  • Relaxed meetings with workshop professionals (agents/authors/producer).
  • Creation of an individual publication plan with workshop leaders.
  • Lodging included in registration fee - $1095 for ANW (two meals per day also) to $2850 for SBAM

New York Pitch Conference
Intensity Level: ***** Mentoring Level: ***

The New York Pitch is the higher end event. Though all writers benefit tremendously, the event is more suited for those who are already working on commercially viable manuscripts. It lasts four days and allows up to 60 attendees divided into four workshop groups. Focus is on devising a pitch model for the novel, and using it to not only attract editors and agents in the publishing business, but as a diagnostic tool to determine the plot, story and premise needs of the novel itself. Advantages include:
  • An opportunity to have the novel manuscript selected and read by acquisition editors from major publishing houses. The odds are currently running 1/3 for selection based on the quality of pitches and writers in attendance (due to workshop efforts to create great pitches and manuscripts, vigorous screening of potential attendees, and the conference itself which attracts top talent). Please understand, however, that selection does not assure publication. The current fiction market is very picky and extremely competitive. We do our best to make that clear in a myriad of ways.
  • Novel deconstruction and analysis from the best qualified industry professionals (editors, authors, and teachers of writing) that addresses the major fictional elements of plot, character, complication, and resolution, among others--the purpose being to not only assist writers with creating competitive projects, but prepare them pre-pitch to receive maximum productive reaction from publishing house editors.
  • Knowledge of the latest bewares, trends, and needs of the book market at the source: the New York publishing world.
  • Ability to directly apply the above knowledge to the matter of the pitch itself, i.e., written and oral emphasis on logs/keynotes, premise/high concept, comparables, credentials, genre, and the composition of the project synopsis.
  • Networking opportunities with industry professionals and other writers in an artistic and relaxed setting. The conference screening process assures writers chosen for the New York Pitch Conference are a few notches above. In other words, writers will not be closed in a room with people who don't know a plot point from a character arc.
  • Opportunities, depending on writer and project, to interact with faculty following the conference for purposes of obtaining agency representation, or editorial assistance, as needed.
  • Project validation or plan for validation. The conference method enables writers to obtain either validation of their novel project (understanding the novel premise/plot is commercially viable), or knowledge of what they must do to create a competitive novel project in the context of today's market.


AlgonkianAlgonkian Port Townsend in WA - - A method workshop for writers serious about commercial publication. Plot, voice, pitch and market workshops led by M. Neff, Andrea Hurst, A. Banerjee, and Melanie B.  

AlgonkianAlgonkian Novel and Memoir Retreat - - This event is an evolution of our Algonkian Park Workshop, now enhanced with new pre-event studies as well as greatly extended personal consult time with business professionals. Professionals Caitlin Alexander, Michael Neff, and Robert Bausch consult with writers one-on-one on matters of plot, narrative, market, characters, memoir development, and all else.  

It started at Algonkian Park and evolved to "The Fiction Class" by Susan Breen. Going into 2014, Algonkian events have assisted and networked writers into dozens of agent and publishing contracts. More information can be found on our commentary page



Algonkian Writer Conferences
2020 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Suite 443
Washington, D.C. 20006

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