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New York Pitch Conference Reviews II

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A week ago today, I began the first day of a 4-day pitch conference in NYC organized by the Algonkian Writers Conferences and attended by about 50 writers, male and female, Gen-x'ers to retirees, separated into 3 groups by their genres.

space.gif- Donna Rubino (The Camaraderie of Conference)

When I got home from the New York Pitch Conference last year, I started some pretty fierce revisions on my manuscript based on the feedback I had gotten. I took it from 150,000 words to less than 100,000 over the next few months and entered the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest. I got a call saying I was a finalist and so I decided to attend the PNWA conference that summer, which ended up going very well. Everybody I pitched to requested the full manuscript. I also sent out a new batch of query letters, leveraging the fact I had a couple editor requests from the NY Pitch Conference as well as a first place ribbon from PNWA. So I'm represented now by Katie Reed from the Andrea Hurst Agency!

space.gif- Halie Fewkes, signed by Andrea Hurst

Congratulations to you and your staff on an outstanding conference these past few days. I want to also let you know that my Team Leader, Paula Munier, did one heckuva job. Her innate enthusiasm and exhaustive knowledge of the writing and publishing business was a constant source of help and pleasure for all of us on her team for the entire four days.

space.gif- Jim Smith, 9/14 Pitch

The Pitch Conference is everything it claims to be and more. Because the conference participants are screened, editors know they are not wasting their time. Each editor I pitched listened carefully, giving suggestions and asking questions that improved my pitch, as well as my novel. My workshop leader followed up, interpreting the editor's feedback to be sure each writer got the most out of the encounter. My novel was requested by four of the five editors I pitched. Tessa Woodward at William Morrow quickly made an offer for it, and Paula Munier, who'd read my first page at the conference, represented me to negotiate a contract. After getting Tessa's notes, I began a significant re-write that will expand and improve my novel more than I ever could have on my own.

Just so you know, I spent five years researching and writing my novel before I went to the Pitch Conference. For the past year, I had been querying agents and submitting to small presses. One agent requested it then didn't even bother to email back to reject it. Two other small presses rejected it and all other agents and presses didn't even reply. I owned a copy of Writer's Market, I had written what I thought was a good pitch, I researched each agent and press so I could tailor my query. Still, nothing was happening.

Attending the Algonkian Pitch Conference was an investment in my career as a writer. For me, it paid off beyond my wildest dreams. No matter what, though, it would have been worth it for what I learned.

space.gif- Kim Van Alkemade, signed by Harper Collins

I am a hardened cynic and I will admit the pitch conference won me over. Do NOT attend the conference however if any of the following are true: 1) You have thin skin. Your novel is unlikely the end all and be all of novels. Out of our entire group not a single person didn't need to do a rewrite, and 75 percent had to do massive rewrites.
2) Are too attached to your manuscript. Along with thin skin if you do not think you can make major changes in your manuscript then do not attend. I am adding 2 new villains, scrapping one beloved major character, and changing the setting of my novel.
3) You do not enjoy working in a group. Had I not been selected by publishers, I still would have left happy as I gained a valuable group of people to bounce ideas off of and that share my passion as a writer.

space.gif- Christopher Lee / Criminal Defense Attorney

The New York pitch editors, especially Lyssa Keusch and Michelle Richter, were the most helpful professionals I've ever spoken to at a writer conference. Their advice helped me considerably, improved my hook and fortified my plot. After a long and often tiring trek through the world of New York Publishing and literary agents, the reality check worked. Thank you.

space.gif- Bonnie Carlins, writer and author

The Algonkian conference was pivotal in moving my career forward. While I went there thinking it was just a really cool way to meet publishing editors, it turned out to be a portal into so many other avenues of the publishing business. Because of the conference, I've signed with the agent of my dreams!

space.gif- Dave McMenamin, Signed by Talcott Notch Literary Agency

I wanted to pass along the good news that I signed with Writers House this week, and they'll be representing my novel Tiny Dancer. I'm certain that I would not have gained their attention were it not for the vastly improved pitch I crafted at the NY conference in June. Susan, I remembered that you are with Writers House as well, so I was especially excited to tell you.

Thank you both so much for all of your help and invaluable advice! I couldn't be happier with the results thus far!


space.gif- Kelley McNeil, signed by Writers House

None of my progress would have been possible without the kind, honest, and useful criticisms from workshop leader Ann Garvin. She has gone above and beyond her role as group leader to give me helpful feedback on my manuscript, making it immeasurably better. She has a gift for seeing what isn't working and pointing you in the right direction.

My experience with Ann helped me so much, I've been telling my fellow women's fiction authors to attend your workshop with the hope they will benefit from Ann's guidance too.

Thank you,

space.gif- Amy Reichert

I was not one of the fortunate individuals to catch an editor's notice. However, my group was very supportive of my work and have been a great help. I learned so much during the coference, and I would like to thank the NYC workshop leaders and my fellow peers and friends for their advice which I take to heart. I went home sulked for a few days, and now I'm back to work, searching for agents, possibly revamping my large 141,000 word MS to a three part series, and further crafting my Query letters basing them on the Pitch.

If not for the Conference, I would not have garnered the experience and knowledge of my mentors and peers. There are not very many opportunities like this in Michigan.

space.gif- Sandra Glynn



You may remember me participating then: I was in Charles' group - the cloak and dagger brigade - and my pitch was about a mystery set in WWII Sarajevo. I made a couple of successful pitches, one of them to Tom Colgan at Penguin, and I thought you'd like to know that I've since been offered a two-book deal with them. The first book should be coming out in June next year.

I thought it important to write to you because, without the opportunity afforded by the conference, I wouldn't have made the contacts I did.

space.gif- Luke McCallin





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