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Algonkian Writer Conference Reviews by Authors


The reviews, comments and success stories noted below by writers, authors, and agents who have attended workshops and events held by Algonkian Writer Conferences are a representative sample of the total positive responses. All of the material is the result of various articles, interviews, comments made in Internet forums, as well as mails sent to us. NOTE: we do not simply list writers who have been published following attendance at our events unless we have received a communication from them advising us of the connection.

Interviews With Authors Who Have Attended Algonkian Events


    Algonkian talks with author Randy Susan Meyers : click here.

    Algonkian talks with bestselling author Pamela Binder : click here.

    Algonkian talks with new author Kim Boykin : click here.

    Algonkian talks with mystery series author Julie Kaewert : click here.

    Algonkian talks with series author Kathleen Gallison : click here.





MURDERABILIA By Carl Vonderau will be published by Midnight Ink Publishing come July, 2019. The Algonkian New York event honed his story and pitch so perfectly that he snagged an agent at the San Francisco Writers Conference. The agent turned out to be Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary, a frequent contributor to the aforementioned event in NYC. Michelle provided him with excellent representation and an eventual sale to a terrific publisher.




The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur by Charlene Dietz is now available on Amazon. Char wrote to tell us, "I want you to know how those five days at the Monterey Writer Retreat impacted my writing adventure. Paula Munier shoveled lots of stuff my way, helping shape my soon to be debut novel: put another murder right up front, don't kill a main characters while still on stage, be sure to have a USP, change the length, change the pacing, pay attention to where act one, act two, and act three happen... The Retreat helped choreograph my novel to the point that when I delved back into the revision process real magic happened. Thought you might enjoy reading these Kirkus starred reviews for my debut mystery novel (2016) and also for its prequel (2017). Thank you for the Monterey adventure!"











TELL ME LIES by Carola Lovering will be published by Simon & Schuster (Atria Books) in 2018. Carola owes a significant portion of "getting over the top" to the NY Pitch, not to mention the fact that editor interest gave her needed "query leverage when querying agents at several top agencies" including Janklow & Nesbit, who later provided her with great representation. Carola Lovering comments.









RIGHT OF ANSWER by Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas, a historical fiction about the first woman imprisoned in the Tower of London (who was the author's ancestor) was signed in contract to Trident Media literary agency, to be represented by Mark Gottlieb. Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas comments.





- Kelly Coon




With Susan Breen as my workshop leader, our group was collaborative and supportive. Hearing how other writers in the group improved their pitches was inspiring. 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. Susan followed up, interpreting the editors' feedback to be sure each writer got the most out of the encounter. Whether or not my manuscript had been requested, I would have learned if my novel had commercial appeal and how to best pitch it. Leaving the conference, I felt confident that my novel did have potential and that I could effectively query an agent or editor.

I got lucky. My novel was requested by four of the five editors I pitched. Tessa Woodward at Harper Collins quickly made an offer for it, and Paula Munier, who had read my first page at the conference, represented me to negotiate a contract. After getting Tessa's notes, I am now working on 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 Algonkian 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 event 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.


- Kim Van Alkemade, signed by Harper Collins




The very first day, I was told I needed to rethink the plot of my novel, and work through quite a different story from the one I wrote. I was initially devastated, but intent on keeping an open mind. I returned home wiser about the publishing industry and had to go through the stages of grief over the loss of my 400 -page baby. This was not a conference for writers with thin skin. It is a conference for those interested in the almost impossible goal of publication with a major publisher.

- Gregory Renz




Over the course of a week at the St. Augustine Author-Mentor, you pitch, rewrite your novel, hone your presentation with some of the best credentialed pros in both publishing and Hollywood. Course materials help you see where you are as a writer, and what your need to work on. You get to know your fellow writers and realize that you are not alone in the confusion of today's fast changing markets for fiction and non-fiction. And as a bonus, you are in a huge suite overlooking the Atlantic and one of the biggest beaches in Florida.

- Author Catherine Clark







I got two invaluable things out of the recent Algonkian Writers Conference. One was the repeated admonition to utilize all the tools of the craft. Even those of us who've written for a living forever can always use this reminder. A carpenter wouldn't attempt to frame a house without tools and neither should a writer ever sit down without his or her full arsenal at hand... Secondly, The Algonkian Writers Conference is a no-nonsense primer on all that need be done to prepare a manuscript for presentation. Agents are deluged with thousands of MS yearly and only a few are ever advanced to a publisher. Hence, a pitch, a log line and a synopsis must be absolutely sensational to garner even the slightest attention. In that regard, this is not a feel-good seminar. Some hearts were broken and some treasured ideas were trashed by the agents who attended. But from the first hour of the first day, faculty emphasized the cold facts and discouraging numbers of the trade, urging us to beat the odds by avoiding the errors and pitfalls of the amateurs.

Now, there is some unavoidable tedium associated with such a gathering, when people are working on projects that seem silly or meaningless to you, but I found it helpful to pay attention to everyone's presentation in order to hone mine to a better polish. In doing so I discovered that the focus of my project needed to be compressed and a new angle of attack implemented.

- Burr Snider, Algonkian Veteran










J. P. Gownder's novel, THE TWILIGHT OF INVENTION, is now represented by Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media, thanks to the New York Pitch workshop that provided him with everything from a new title to helpful plotting advice. J.P. found one of the top agents in the business after sending out only eight query letters.

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




The New York Pitch Conference focused attention on a fairly major gap in the early versions of The African Groundnut Scheme which was the lack of a strong female character to help carry the story. The follow up Algonkian conferences helped focus attention on the necessity of making sure every scene in the book is part of the seamless plot. The Algonkian conferences also pointed out the need to structure the story more clearly along the lines of a classic three act play with an opening, middle and conclusion. There is a Greek myth about the god Hermes boring a giant to death with an endless story that is all middle with no beginning or end. So this is not a small matter.

Also, the New York Pitch Conference and Algonkian showed me how to present a book to agents. The technique is somewhat arcane and unsatisfactory, but, hey, that's the system we've got. If you don't know it, it is hard to get off ground zero.

- Interview with Alex Keto










I recently attended the Algonkian Writers Conference and found the experience to be invaluable. Michael Neff led the conference with ethics and integrity. He clearly explained the tools needed to successfully write and publish including reviewing tension, plot outline, character development, dialogue, and perfecting a pitch and synopsis. Michael Neff carefully and relentlessly worked with each writer to assist them in polishing their pitch for agents and troubleshooting the novel in general. This was exactly where I needed to be. Some of the feedback was, indeed, sobering, but I wasn't promised the conference would be a string of feelgood sessions. The work we accomplished was real and the feedback was real. I concur with the review submitted by Burr Synder on February 28, 2011. My thanks goes to Michael Neff for his patience and attention to detail in designing a writer's conference that was truly meaningful.

- Author Sally Henry





I've been to three of these Algonkian Writing Conferences, including both writing conferences and a Pitch Your Book session in New York City and on the whole they provide good education for a reasonable price... As the publishing business gets more and more difficult, I'm not convinced agents and editors have the time to read queries very easily. Being in front of them is a definite way to improve your odds of at least getting decent feedback. The Agonkian Writing Conferences provide, IMHO, far better value than some of the 'bigger' conferences where the interactions are increasingly staged and short-lived.

- Veteran Writer John Arnold





Robin Stewart's techno-thriller, "Kill Signal," was pitched at the March 2016 and soon signed by Talcott Notch Agency--represented at the New York Pitch event by agent Paula Munier. The ms is now undergoing edits with Algonkian staff. Congrats to Robin. This thriller is going to be a bestseller, we're certain! We love you Robin!!!




From Publishers Marketplace: Sandi Ward's "The Astonishing Thing" pitched as "The Art of Racing in the Rain" meets "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a two-book deal, by Stacy Testa at Writers House. Congrats you old pitch conference! [more by Sandi]




Amanda Greenfield says, "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. [more]









Roger Johns, an alumnus of the September 2015 New York Pitch Conference, wrote and told us: "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."










Algonkian alums Tracee Hahn (on left) and Britt Tisdale (right) signed recent contracts as a result of attendance at the New York Pitch Conference. Tracee's novel, SWISS VENDETTA, was edited and sold by Algonkian NYC agent faculty to Elizabeth Lacks at St. Martins. Britt's women's fiction novel, DAUGHTERS OF ROSA LA ROUGE, found home with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency: "I re-vamped my pitch, also revised the book to reflect new emphasis. 18 agents requested the ms..." [more]




At last count, an estimated 51 total manuscripts are currently in the process of being reviewed by publishing house editors. More than 63% of total ms presented and discussed at length at our last events were requested, and 75% of all ms requested were requested by more than one editor. This high percentage is a result of intelligent project screening, great projects, attentive editors, and liberal applications of superb pitch craft.














I have to echo what Skate and Eir and John Arnold said about Algonkian Conferences... Neff's approach is simple and pragmatic - he teaches the writer to understand the perspective of the agent or editor, whose job to sell your novel. In my case, I showed up at the workshop with a completed novel. In the workshop, we had to write a pitch and rewrite it, then we got to practice it on a real, live agent who gave us feedback. Bad pitch? Rewrite it and try again a couple days later on MORE agents. I will add that everyone brought their laptops and at one point I passed my laptop to Neff so he could vet my pitch, and he added a sentence or two, and he did this for any of us who asked. So the conference is your basic Pitch Laboratory. This is not to say it was easy. I found it tremendously difficult to switch gears like this, from hardcore novel-writing to hardcore market analysis - but once I got it I felt great. I realized I can use this very pitch in a query letter. Or I can go to another conference and pitch a bunch of other agents in person. Another thing we got to do was to ask questions of the agents - and this, again, de-mystified the whole process. Totally worth the price of admission, and I won't hesitate to go again.

-Annette Stanley




"My novel was requested by four of the five editors I pitched. Tessa Woodward at Harper Collins quickly made an offer for it, and Paula Munier, who had read my first page at the conference, represented me to negotiate a contract. After getting Tessa's notes, I am now working on a significant re-write that will expand and improve my novel more than I ever could have on my own."

Read More Kim Van Alkemade, Author of ORPHAN 8



Read More 275 queries later, I attended the New York Pitch and by lunch of the first day I knew exactly why my novel had failed. By the end of the day, I had changed the title, made editorial changes to the story, and later, when time came to query, I employed the strategy recommended at the conference: research agents on Publisher's Marketplace and use the editors from the conference who requested manuscripts as leverage. Within one hour I received an email requesting a full manuscript from an agent at Trident Media. Six days later I received another email about my novel, THE ENIGMATOLOGIST, and requesting to discuss representation. Using what I learned at the conference, I was able to do in what week what I couldn't do in three years. I'm absolutely convinced that everything I learned at the conference is responsible for my success.

- Benjamin Adams, signed by Trident Media Agency



Cate Holahan's DARK TURNS pitched at the NYC in Paula Munier's NYC mystery/thriller workshop and sold to Matt Martz at Crooked Lane, the new crime fiction imprint of Bookspan--two book deal. Publication set for 2015. Paula Munier, NYC faculty, representing Cate and DARK TURNS.

Read MoreCate Holahan's DARK TURNS



Read More Algonkian helped me develop a discipline around the creative process, enabling me to write with a clear intention to publish. It has been a year since the program and I continue to refer to the workshop material. From the story analyses I learned to examine my own work with rigor.

- Sheela Sukumaran, PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow



"I went to an Algonkian writers workshop in the heart of the Berkshires at a pivotal time in my pre-career. I'd been trying to get published for five years, and was stuck. The Algonkian instructors offered sage advice and exposure to the industry so that I came away with a much more realistic understanding. But even more than that, the Algonkian experience brought together writers in a close knit environment that has continued to inspire me eleven years later. Now with my third novel about to come out, I credit my time in the Algonkian woods with helping me get here."

Read More Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark Award Winner



Read More Algonkian Author Salon's Kate Cox has signed with JENNIFER LYONS AGENCY, and we couldn't be more pleased. Kate has attended several Algonkian events, been a member of AAS, and has worked periodically with Algonkian director Michael Neff on her novel, THROUGH CHAGALL'S WINDOW. Her new agent, Jennifer Lyons (the third agent she queried), represents numerous big name authors.

- Algonkian Author Salon



"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 started querying about September 20, and my agent, Sally Wofford-Girand of Brick House Literary Agents, made an offer of representation."

Read More Sujatha Hampton, Author of AS IT WAS WRITTEN



Read More The pitch conference gets tons of credit for my pending publication. Plus, your advice on querying to only a few agents at a time, and Caitlin's editing all contributed to my good news. Publication set for early 2016! Thanks for putting it on and for encouraging scared newcomers like me.

- Angela Pisel, novel sold by Jill Marsal to Putnam



"I must confess that it surprised me when folks at the New York Pitch Conference fastened on Thomas Edison's dark side as the most interesting aspect of the novel ... Once you define the book as being about the struggle between the Weisses and Thomas Edison's Motion Picture Patent Company, however, a lot of diffuse stuff falls into line. Then I came home from the recent Algonkian conference at Harpers Ferry, reread the manuscript, and realized I had thrown away a great opportunity in the second-to-the-last chapter to resolve the Edison/Weiss conflict in a meaty and dramatic way. In a word, it was lame."

Read More Irene Fleming [aka Kathleen Gallison], Author of THE EDGE OF RUIN



Read More The Algonkian Park workshop was one of the most useful and stimulating classes I've taken lately (OK, ever). The topics are very useful in themselves; most creative people tend to hide from the business aspects of what they're doing, and most workshops barely touch on this. (Also, thanks for telling us the truth and not coddling us.) And naturally the feedback of the agents was invaluable in its concrete, one-person's-point-of-view way. But also, the writing exercises and your methodology (e.g., PDQ) were right on. Frankly, I felt that I was floundering the whole time and didn't produce very good stuff. But, oddly, that didn't really bother me.

- Helene ("L.N.") Sproules



"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. 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 Algonkian's New York Pitch Conference."

Read More Susan Breen, Author of THE FICTION CLASS



Read More I want to say a little something about Algonkian Conferences here, because it was the tough-love teaching method of Michael Neff that made me a much stronger writer. And it was through his Algonkian Author Salon that I connected with Carla Norton... The other wonderful (and surprising) thing that came out of my association with AAS is that I've discovered another passion -- editing.

- Lois Gordon, Algonkian Passions



"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."

Read More Luke McCallin, Author of THE MAN FROM BERLIN



Read More I had already sent my novel to an agent from Prospect Agency, telling her I was accepted into Algonkian and this was the ms I was pitching. When I returned, I was able to tell her I knew the novel needed a re-write (thanks to you) and that three publishing house editors were interested in seeing it when it's ready (also thanks to you). So she offered me representation! She's going to work with me on it over the next few months, and when she thinks it's ready, send it off.

- Jane Ann McLachlan, Signed by the Prospect Agency



"I'm writing to say a long-overdue thank you! Now that I'm getting into the more tangible aspects - copyediting, cover designs, etc. - it's feeling more and more that this is real and it's actually happening, and really, I have you and your workshop to thank for getting the whole ball rolling ... And even now, all this time later, I'm still using the pitch that I wrote and worked on that weekend - a large portion of the cover copy is based on it."

Read More Gina Damico, Author of CROAK



Read More It was tremendously effective to receive training in specific writing-enhancing techniques immediately followed by exercises that cemented that training. Ditto the pitch development; if we had developed the pitch but hadn't presented it repeatedly to both colleagues and the agents, the effect would not have been so transforming. I appreciated the intense focus of the conference; we did not waste time.

- Author Julie Kaewert



"At the workshop we read sections of classics and contemporary works demonstrating craft concepts, we wrote vigorously, brainstormed and critiqued sections of our works in progress, meditated, had readings, and got one on one editorial attention. Many of the connections I made at the conference remain with me to this day. Whether you've just completed a first draft of a novel or a tenth draft, the Algonkian Novel Workshop could be just the step you need to take your writing public."

Read More Erika Robuck, Author of HEMINGWAY'S GIRL



Read More I attended your Algonkian Writer's Conference at San Francisco's Fort Mason back in May of 2010. I thought you'd be happy to know that after a year of sending off query letters and partial and full manuscripts, I finally found representation with Sam Stoloff of the Frances Goldin Literary Agency in New York. I'm very happy. Sam is great! We submit my YA manuscript to publishers this September. Thanks so much for all the information I learned from your conference! It was very helpful and worthwhile. How have you been and how are your conferences going? Any other success stories?

- Writer Michael Hagan, signed by Frances Goldin Literary Agency



"Several weeks ago, I attended the Algonkian Write to Market Conference, north of San Francisco. I met amazing people, made friends with wonderful fellow writers, participated in some of the best live pitch critiques you'll hear on the West Coast, and on the first evening was ceremoniously sacrificed at the altar of upmarket fiction with two fellow authors as witnesses and a horse-size cobb salad to bury my face in. I emerged re-born..."

Read More Author Birgitte Rasine



I just wanted to let you know that the conference did me a world of good. I had not spent time with literary people in 12 years, since I left the world of journalism. I had never before been to a writer's conference of any kind ... I believe that once I make the recommended changes to these projects I'll be onto something. I always thought I could write well, but the peripherals of the publishing business were daunting to me and I had lost contact with them. Thanks for helping to bring me back in touch.

James Crawford

____________________________

I was beginning to get discouraged in the "find an agent game." I'd managed to wrack up a more than a few rejections on the queries I'd sent out. Then at the conference, with the help of an amazing workshop leader, I was able to improve my pitch. Three out of four editors at the conference requested my manuscript! That and the enthusiasm of my fellow attendees gave me heart. With an improved pitch and the editor interest to back me, I jumped back into the fray, Now, a few months later, I've signed with Emily Sylvan Kim of the Prospect Agency.

Amy Ester Fischer

____________________________

Despite my many years as a journalist and non-fiction author, the transition into writing good fiction was difficult for me. Upon taking the Algonkian workshop, it all came into focus. For the first time, I am aware of the techniques and craft it takes to write a competitive manuscript.

Dusko Doder, Author and Former Moscow Bureau Chief
for the Washington Post

____________________________

Read More 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!

- Dave McMenamin, Signed by Talcott Notch Literary Agency



"Rather than treating the writing and selling of fiction as two unrelated functions, Algonkian regards them as intrinsically linked. The workshops and reviews took blinders off and made me see, for instance, that the pitch is not an artificial construct to be reluctantly imposed upon your polished manuscript. It is instead a tool, with heft, that you must wield from the start. The writing business has no guarantees, but Algonkian conferences are uniquely suited to crafting work that can persuade a cynical agent to say the sweetest of words: "Yes!"

Read More Best Selling Author Carla Norton, Author of THE EDGE OF NORMAL



Read More All writers - especially beginning writers - need a well-meaning mentor and editor to praise what they're doing right, point a finger at what they're doing wrong, provide them with the tools they need to fix the problems, and open their eyes to the art, craft, and business of writing. This is what I had done for countless nonfiction writers over the years in my job as a magazine editor. It's what I needed when I decided to start writing fiction. And it's why, after shopping around for a suitable fiction-writing workshop, I chose Algonkian.

- Diane Tonnessen



"Michael! Did you get my news about being signed by Simon and Schuster? I followed the advice and, voila, I sold the rewritten novel! Thank you, thank you for the miracle! I couldn't have done it without you and editor Ginger Buchannan, I swear!"

Read More Gillian Royes, author of GOAT WOMAN OF LARGO BAY



Read More I've yet to leave without requesting manuscript pages from participants. What's more, the manuscripts deliver. I recently signed and sold Gina Damico's YA fantasy in a two book deal to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt after hearing her project pitched at the conference. Serving on the Algonkian faculty has also been tremendously gratifying. Not only does the conference attract a wide variety of writers working in many different genres, it also has a great vibe--supportive, friendly, fun. I highly recommend it.

- Tina Wexler, agent at ICM




"First write a good book; if you're not sure about that, attend an Algonkian Novel Workshop. But if you do attend the New York Pitch Conference, be prepared for the fallout. I walked away with such a successful pitch, but realized I had to rewrite my book to make sure I delivered what I sold the editors. With workshop leader Susan Breen's help, I have three publishing house editors who want read my manuscript. Wanna write a successful query to an agent? Put that in your first paragraph!"

Read More Kim Boykin, Author of THE WISDOM OF HAIR



Read More Algonkian Workshops take one's work to the next level. With an intimate, supportive, focused atmosphere and rigorous schedule, writers can set realistic goals and get projects to the place they need to be to take them to a wider market. As an agent, I appreciate that Algonkian writers have an established sense of what works and what doesn't. Their projects are a cut above the rest.

- Elise Capron, agent at Sandra Dijkstra Agency



"So pleased to share this news with you and extend my thanks once again for the career boost from the pitch conference: "Rosemary DiBattista's (writing as Rosie Genova) MURDER MARINARA, first in a new mystery series featuring a quirky Italian-American family and their restaurant on the Jersey Shore, to Sandy Harding at NAL, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds."

Read More Rosemary DiBattista, author of MURDER AND MARINARA



Read More 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 novel and pitch I crafted at the NY conference in June.

- Kelly McNeil, signed by Writers House



"I attended Algonkian conferences in NYC and San Francisco in 2009 and 2010. They were among the best experiences in my writing life. I met some of the most powerful people in the publishing industry, both major publishers and agents ... I was offered a publishing contract by Harper Collins UK soon after my last visit to an Algonkian conference. I am now translated into 10 languages."

Read More Laurence O'Bryan, Author of THE MANHATTAN PUZZLE



Read More Two of the four editors I met with asked to see my work and the other two were very interested ... I credit the reception of all four editors to the pitch. It generated questions which helped me explain in more detail the vision of the project.

- Pam Binder, Best Selling Author



"Algonkian offered me the opportunity to be part of a real writers group where my ideas and evolving characters were first introduced to other writers and potential readers. That critique allowed me to tweak my characters and storyline to perfection. Algonkian's approach in fine tuning my pitch helped me to tighten my manuscript as well. As a result, my manuscript sold to the very first publisher who saw it."

Read More Roberta Gately, author of LIPSTICK IN AFGHANISTAN



Read More I am arrogant, manipulative and intelligent, but not unrealistic. The New York Pitch Conference was exactly what I needed - a reality check. I learned what publishers look for and shy away from, and gained a deeper understanding of the unlikely odds of becoming one of the few that get published. I walked away with a lot of work to do - reworking parts of my novel and studying my genre.

- Terri-Lynne Smiles



"My workshop leader at the NYC Pitch and Shop Conference, Michael Neff, believed in me. The careful advice, connections, and publishing savvy I received there made all the difference. Because of that conference, I was introduced to the woman who became my editor at Berkley Penguin, and later to the woman who became my agent."

Read More Ann Garvin, author of ON MAGGIE'S WATCH



Read More Agent Jill Grosjean requested to read my manuscript, ESCAPE TO LORELEI, one month ago. And today, I'm proud and excited to tell you that she is my agent ... Jill made a point of addressing the well written pitch and I was quick to mention the Algonkian event ... I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the NYC Pitch conference. What I learned from the experience was invaluable.

- Loretta Marion



"The Algonkian Pitch Conference helped me constructively in channeling the information into a focused pitch, which I used successfully, and as a consequence, my novel, JERUSALEM MAIDEN, was published by HarperCollins!"

Read More Talia Carner, Author of JERUSALEM MAIDEN



Read More The Algonkian Conference assignments helped me to refine the organization of my novel, and see it in context of the actual market. The intensive pitch workshops were brilliant for learning to see work from the publisher's point of view. The agents were very generous with their time and gave thoughtful feedback to everyone. I also attended the New York Pitch Conference and can say that these two conferences have filled in the blank left by my MFA: how to actually get published.

- Kari Pilgrim



"This conference helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Tremendously. 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 writers there. 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."

Read More Will Lavender, Author of OBEDIENCE



Read More Most effective for me was learning how to write (and rewrite) the pitch based on feedback from those in my group, and the editors. In the process, I really dug into the book - what it was about, what I was trying to say, what the strengths and weaknesses were - discovering elements of it that I hadn't noticed before.

- Writer and editor Chris Stewart



"The New York Pitch Conference offered direct access to major publishing houses, great mentors, and a community of supportive writers ... The intensive workshops force you to crystalize the appeal of your manuscript. That helps greatly in the pitch sessions, but also -- maybe more importantly -- in drafting query letters and in editing the novel itself. It's no coincidence that such a large proportion of our small group found publishing success."

Read More John Ford, Author of THE MORGUE AND ME



If they just gave you what you paid for at the New York Pitch and Shop conference - face time with serious decision-makers from the top publishing houses - it would be worth 10x what they charge. But they go further; personal guidance, encouragement, and honest evaluations of your novel.

- Ginger Lombardo




My weekend at the New York Pitch Conference was one of the few highlights in my beginning writing career. The tutoring from the workshop leaders, the support and encouragement of my fellow writers, and especially the feedback from the editors was well worth my time and money. Three of my children attend private universities and three others are enrolled in expensive athletic programs- (that's right- six children, one husband, a mortgage and a whopping grocery bill) pennies are precious, my spare minutes are few, but I considered the conference invaluable.

I shopped conferences extensively before choosing the New York Pitch Conference. Because I've a finished manuscript that has been extensively work-shopped, I wanted a conference where I received personal evaluation and critique by professionals who are top in their league. I got what I wanted and more.

- Kristine Tate




I went to the most recent conference worrying how to juggle four editors all wanting my well-written, professionally-edited, much revised story. That was not a problem, however. I learned that my masterpiece is going to rot until I learn how to pitch and market the theme (a.k.a. premise).

At another writer's conference, I had 15 minutes each with an agent and editor who, having previously read some of the manuscript, told me my writing was excellent, the humor great, etc. But they weren't interested. At the NYC Pitch & Shop conference, I learned why. If you cannot sell your novel idea within the first two minutes, the remaining time is for polite chat. That's the real world.

- Greg Bascom




The New York Pitch Conference, as rumored, is cool, and like someone said, a little like American Idol. Writers are real tense and anxious about their meetings and the responses they are getting.

Some of them cry and others storm around, but the pitch staff calm them down. They have too much stake in the process and want to quit their day jobs.

I don't blame them, but ya gotta have perspective.

One of the coolest things about the New York Pitch Conference is the venue at Ripley-Greer. Lots of art and cool theater people and ooooh la-la dancers of both sexes mingling and rubbing shoulders with the writers.

Never seen anything like it, really.

- David O'Keefe




I attended the most recent New York Pitch Conference and as a currently unpublished author found it to be well worth the time and expense. I travelled from North Carolina, paid for a NY hotel (at a reduced rate thanks to the conference sponsor) plus airfare. Not only was I able to refine my pitch and present it to interested publishers, but participants were able to sit in on early pitch sessions and benefit from the professional critique of other pitches.

Oh, and by the way, an executive editor who has worked with the likes of Tom Clancy is currently considering my mystery-thriller manuscript for publication. How much is that worth?

- Guy Forcucci




Before attending the conference, one ought to do one's research. From what I was led to understand, there were no guarantees. It was not advertised to be anything more than a conference for pitching to editors - face to face. I did not expect editorial help, except as related to the pitch, and I was given more than I expected. I was also given a peep-hole into the current state of affairs in fiction, and I saw what kind of a crapshoot it is - not just for writers but for editors, as well. I saw that editors who were known for taking a certain kind of fiction could be on the lookout for other kinds, so long as it met this nebulous criteria of seeming marketability. When I parted with my $500, I knew from outset that there was a chance that none of the editors might want to see my work, and even if they all wished to see it, that there was no guarantee any of them would take it. It was difficult, but it was an experience I'm grateful for. It was informative, as well as being a reality check, it was helpful in providing editorial contacts, and it was an opportunity for bonding with other writers. The people in my group and our facilitator were first rate human beings.

- Alice B.




I attended in March. Before applying, I studied the website. I made sure I was the kind of writer who might find the experience -- and hence the expenditure -- worthwhile. It was obvious that there were no promises made regarding contracts, fame, or fortune. What you were promised was face time with 4 editors, and what was promised was ABSOLUTELY delivered.

On the first day, participants were aided in developing their pitches -- a very different animal from the standard query letter -- and during the following days, we pitched and honed accordingly, all the while aided by the conference organizers and presenters. Personally, I came away with more than I initially expected. 3 of the 4 editors asked for partials and/or the entire manuscript. My novel is still under consideration by an editor I never would've reached via the slush pile. Other participants had similar success, while others still received a much needed reality check, or simply insight as to how the publishing world works. There were disappointments to be sure, but it wasn't due to the conference, it was due to the individual manuscripts. Writing is a subjective art form, like love, and like love, not everybody found a match during our "speed dating" sessions with the editors. However, everyone in my group -- regardless of their success level -- found the experience worthwhile.

Most importantly, I met a lot of great people who do what I do and are at the same place in their literary pursuits. I live in the Midwest. I don't come across many people who are aspiring authors. Writing is a solitary endeavor and to have met a few colleagues, as well as another writer with whom I now exchange work and have a real and lasting friendship is, as the Mastercard ad says, priceless.

- Amy Hanson




Like others, I came from quite a distance and found the workshop to be more than I had been able to imagine, because I had no idea that what we were going to learn was so labor intensive. I couldn't imagine how it could take three full days to perfect a one to three minute pitch. I can now, and really have a grasp of what I've taken on. This line of work--writing fiction--is no where near an easy task. Sometimes I wonder if I'm off the deep end, but I love the writing and so am willing to keep trying. I appreciated the fact that there were no punches pulled. The Shop staff were almost brutally honest when it came to my writing and that is exactly what I wanted. And, I was told what was wrong and what road to take to fix it. Again, exactly what I wanted. I was told from the first that only a certain level of writing was accepted at this 'conference', and I found that to be true. It was scary exciting and intimidating, as well as motivating to participate in this workshop. Like anything, no one thing works for everyone.

- Lisa Buie-Collard




I came from Canada, another from the Cayman Island, others widely from across the USA. The conference offered training in how to "pitch" one's manuscript, and it offered a face-to-face opportunity to pitch to four editors.

It delivered.

There were days of discussion on improving the pitch, rehearsal sessions, opportunities to discuss one's work and whatever else one pleased with fellow 'wannabees.' Reduced cost hotel accommodation across the street was also arranged.

I did not personally get a contract. Penguin did look at my book and rejected it -- I can't believe that was for any reason other than it didn't match their requirements.

Anyone signing up for this workshop should feel comfortable that they will get what they are told -- however, a guarantee of publication is NOT PART OF THE OFFER.

- Michael Hall




I attended the latest pitch and shop and found it to be tremendously helpful. If you have honed your craft and written a saleable product you should have no problem attracting an editor's attention. You learn how to pitch in one minute. I didn't understand how that was done. I do now, and I do it very well. I recommend it highly. It was the the best writing conference I've experienced.

- William Holland




These are my experiences with the Pitch Conference. I suppose in the back of my mind I went in hoping for some miraculous discover me at the soda fountain Hollywood story. This didn't happen but then I'm no Lana Turner.

The meat of the conference was preparing the pitch. This meant giving the pitch to others in a group of about fifteen writers and listening to their pitches. This helped me focus on two things: what was my novel really about and how could I communicate that effectively in as few words as possible? These may seem like simple matters but to watch fellow writers struggle to make a compelling summary of their works was fascinating and instructional. This process was repeated and the improvement in the presentations was apparent. The pitches were presented more confidently and they were worded more confidently.

We had a good group. I respected them as writers. Members of our group actively rooted for one another and we have kept in touch since. All of the ones I have communicated with shared positive stories. There are several I am hoping to see in print come some day.

I saw four editors. My pitch lasted two minutes followed by the editors asking about three minutes of to-the-point questions. One asked for my manuscript. After a couple of months of mulling it over, it was ultimately rejected.

The NYC Pitch Conference was an excellent experience for me. In a short time I learned how to see through an editor's eyes. I understand now how to present my creation in that one page query letter that seemingly every agent requires. Worth the money? Not if you are only hoping for that Lana Turner type moment. But it taught me what I needed to know to bridge the gap between art and business. I would consider doing it again - especially if I knew I was to have as enjoyable and affirming group as I had my first time. If I were to drop something in their suggestion box I would have the team create a conference for graduates of the first conference. If I were to return, a lot of the basics I would be learning would be redundant.

BTW - the Lana Turner story is a myth anyhow.

- Martin Hill Ortiz




I attended the June New York Pitch Conference and found it to be an amazing experience.

Right off the bat there were no promises of publishing contracts. There were promises of a reality check, help in perfecting our pitches and face time with four reputable editors from major houses. They delivered 100% and then some.

Our group leader, an established writer and teacher, took the time to work with us to hone our pitch, making himself available before our morning session began and it the afternoons. He sat in with us when we pitched to the editors. Our face time with the editors was not one minute, it was anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. The editors also provided helpful critiques.

An executive editor from Penguin requested my ms, I would not have had the opportunity to pitch to him if I wasn't at the conference and my pitch would not have been perfect if it wasn't for the guidance I received by my group leader.

Although not everyone was asked to submit their ms, we all gained valuable advice and critiques to better our work. No one in my group found the conference to be a waste of money.

I also agree the conference reminds me of American Idol. We were all very nervous and very tense, but we bonded together to cheer and support each other. Most of us still keep in touch and have gotten together post conference. I've made valuable friendships and have the support of other writers and that's priceless!

- Robin Tauber

____________________________

Dear Michael and Charles,

Some encouraging news since my return from our workshop, I've managed to garner a blast of new agent interest in reading my manuscript, a development I attribute to having fine-tuned my pitch there with you. The following agencies received my new pitch via email queries and are now reading the entire MS:

Levine Greenberg
The Rights Factory (Toronto)
Trident Media
Imprint Agency
Folio Literary

As to the chat forum, I did take some advice about smoothing out the first few pages, it can only help...but left my opening essentially as it was. I can see the value of mass response but a few of us are emailing each other with larger chunks of ms which answers my needs better right now.

Finally, the workshop was a good experience for me. I benefitted from hearing the refining process go on for others' work as well as my own. It was overall a great group of people and your own leadership was terrific.

Thanks again.

Victoria Costello

____________________________

I'm a children's writer hoping to break into the historical novel market. The Algonkian Workshop surpassed every other conference I've been to. It wasn't "rah-rah" pep talks that do little more than leave an unpublished writer frustrated. It was four days of intensive, down-to-business training and face-to-face contact with agents and authors who told us what we really need to know--and do--to get published. And the agents invited us to send our book proposals to them, first. That's more than worth the price of admission.

Kathryn Dahlstrom, Author of The Good News Club series

____________________________

Algonkian Workshop is an intensive nuts and bolts primer in learning and examining the techniques of storytelling and dialogue. It gets the writer focused on the ingredients that bring a story or a novel to life. Of the six workshops I have done in the past four years, Algonkian is by far the best.

Michael B. Miller, Translator, Virginia

____________________________

The motto and approach, 'write from the heart, but smart,' is pure genius. If you're serious about writing and getting published, an Algonkian conference is the way to go.

Peter Eichstaedt, Newspaper Journalist and Author of If You Poison Us

____________________________

I have returned to writing after a 20 year hiatus. The Algonkian workshop was instrumental in helping me focus and clarify my characters and story. The small size of the workshop encouraged interaction between attendees and with the facilitator. We all got a lot of specific feedback on our work; the feedback was constructive and specific. I highly recommend the Algonkian Novel workshop for anyone looking for new insights on his/her work.

Amy Roeder, California

____________________________

From H. Scott Dalton (attendee at New York Pitch Conference)

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.













- Algonkian Writer Events in The U.S. -








At the Algonkian Writer Retreat you can be as goal-focused or hesitant in approach as you wish. You can go to a workshop or two, discuss your novel with us, have your synopsis and writing samples read by our onsite mentors, or just clear your head and find your path, whatever works for you, whatever helps you grow as an aspiring author... [more]




It began at Algonkian Park and evolved into "The Fiction Class" by Susan Breen. Going into 2018, Algonkian events have assisted and networked writers into dozens of agent and publishing contracts. More information can be found on our commentary page.  

BOOKS AND CAREERS
LAUNCHED
BY ALGONKIAN EVENTS

















WRITERS AND AUTHORS
TALK ABOUT ALGONKIAN


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Julie Kaewert: "Because I was changing agents, I knew it was important to learn how to package the MS effectively ... When I saw the Seven Mountains Writers Conference on the website, it looked like just the thing. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations in every way."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian Writer Conference attendee, author Kate Gallison: "One way to lengthen your life is to stretch it backwards, and so I read a lot of history. Early movies fascinate me. They were both like and unlike stage plays of the time, borrowing actors and melodramatic plots, but developing entirely new techniques for portraying dramatic action. "   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Greg Haas: "I could tell a story about how the process works. Fiction gave me a chance to go where non-fiction wouldn't let me, i.e., inside people's heads at both ends of the political food chain. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Candy Somoza: "The preparation work got us thinking about the book in the store, how it got there, what makes it sell. While we read works and studied the writing, we also focused on the outside, so to speak, the marketing, and that was essential to prepare us."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian Writer Conference attendee, Barbara Marquart: I also wanted to tell a story that celebrates the deep bond between mothers and daughters - the struggles we all face to transcend our circumstances, forgive each other's failures and accept each other's limitations in order to find peace.   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Thierry Sagnier: "I was stuck, hadn't done any serious writing for months, and a friend of mine--also a writer--suggested I attend a workshop to kickstart me. So I looked on the net and found that there were quite a few places that offered what I wanted, but when I researched the Algonkian conference, I recognized the name of a reporter I really respect. He'd been there and was highly complimentary, so that sealed it for me."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Rae Bryant: "After completing the first draft of Ficklestick's , I wanted professional guidance and a community of writers to help me marinate the work. It was important to me as a first time novelist to seek feedback before finalizing the intricacies. By retaining a sense of early process malleability, I was able to really hear criticisms and then incorporate skills learned. Algonkian provided the perfect setting."   Read More...


Interview with Algonkian attendee, Alex Keto: "I've been to handful of other conferences and decided that if you find yourself in a large room with someone almost out of eyesight in the front talking at you, the results are what you would expect: generic advice that doesn't really help."   Read More...


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Washington, D.C. 20006








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