Algonkian Writer Conferences - Reviews by Authors/Agents
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.
Write to Market Conference New York Pitch Algonkian Workshops
I'm excited to be working with Paula. After spending four days with her at the conference, I'm very comfortable having her represent me, and feel as if I know who she is, which is a tremendous bonus for any writer looking for an agent. The workshop gave me a chance to represent my work multiple times with Paula as my support person, while receiving valuable feedback from her and the visiting editors.
- Barbara Conrey, Signed by Talcott Notch Literary Agency
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
The Algonkian Conference prepares serious writers for the realities of the publishing world. It's not enough to write a good manuscript. You need a strong query and succinct pitch to convince agents you're the real deal. They teach you what published authors already know, that preparing a manuscript for the marketplace is not for the faint of heart. This is the conference that separates the determined professional from the wishful hobbyist. Trust me, when it's over, you'll know who you are.
- Michael Hagan, Signed by Frances Goldin 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!"
- Best Selling Author Carla Norton
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. I have over a dozen requests for my manuscript now!
- Kim Boykin, author of The Wisdom of Hair
Interview with Kim Boykin
Algonkian offered me the opportunity to be part of a real writers group where my ideas and evolving characters were first introduced to other writer 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!
- Roberta Gately, author of Lipstick in Afghanistan
Suite 101 Review
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
NY/PRNewswire: "On Maggie's Watch" NY/PRNewswire: "Lipstick in Afghanistan"
This conference helped me 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 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.
- Will Lavender, author of Obedience
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 often a cut above the rest.
- Elise Capron, agent at Sandra Dijkstra Agency
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, editor and writer
It's true that you don't have to live in NYC to make an impact in the publishing world, if you get the right advice and learn how to network. Algonkian gave me that.
- Ann Wertz Garvin, author of On Maggie's Watch
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
- 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
- From Algonkian Writer Conference alum, Gillian Royes: "Did you get my news about being signed by Simon and Schuster after the workshop in 2009? I followed the advice and, voila, I sold the rewritten novel! It will appear in October 2011. Thank you, thank you for the miracle! I couldn’t have done it without you [Michael] and editor Ginger Buchannan, I swear!"
- Tamara Linse has just been signed for representation by the Dystel & Goderich agency. Her novel, DEEP DOWN THINGS, is a work of women's fiction, restructured and polished at an Algonkian Park workshop and later edited by an Algonkian staff editor. According to Tamara, "Thanks to your help with the novel, the query, and also for hooking me up with a great editor. I was able to get everything in tiptop shape."
- From NYC Pitch alum, Talia Carner: "The 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, will be published by HarperCollins in June 2011!"
- Viking has recently acquired pitch conference novel (and Amazon Contest Placer), IN MALICE QUITE CLOSE, by Algonkian vet, Brandi Lynn Ryder. And she won't stop thanking us! Well, she will, but we're not sure when. MQC is due for publication in early 2011.
- NYC Pitch/Algonkian veteran, Amy Satterfield, just had her novel, IS THAT ALL THERE IS PEGGY LEE?, picked up by literary agent Victoria Sanders. According to Amy, "Your conference gave me a sense of how to proceed, a really good pitch letter (it was the first thing Ms. Sanders commented on), and the confidence to go forward ..."
- Berkley Books now informs us they have two books under contract from the NYC Pitch. The latest is an upscale fiction by by Katharine Britton (the title currently in flux). Thanks to agent Jennifer Unter for representing this fine novel to Jackie Cantor, Berkley editor.
- "A small misstep derails several lives ..." David Klein's debut novel, Stash, from Broadway Books by way of the New York Pitch Conference. Now available from Amazon. This kind of success is habit forming. Thanks to David for his kind words in the acknowledgements.
- The hits keep coming! Algonkian Writer Conferences alum, Ann Garvin's novel, ON MAGGIE'S WATCH, was bought by senior editor Jackie Cantor at Berkley--a member of the NYC pitch faculty. NYC staff connected Ann with agent Eve Bridburg of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, and following rewrites, the manuscript was reintroduced to Ms. Cantor, and the rest is history. Our huge congrats to Ann for all her talent and tenacity and we look forward to helping her promote her new work!
- Sujatha Hampton's new novel, As it Was Written (formerly Evermore), is now available from Amazon. Congrats to Sujatha and Thomas Dunne Books. NYC Pitch take a bow! Read her views on GalleyCat concerning the NYC conference. Congrats Sujatha!
- Randy Meyer's new novel, Murderer's Daughters (once Adopting Adults), is now available from Amazon. Congrats to Randy and her editor Hilary Teeman. HUGE CONGRATS to the NYC Pitch!
- A flash from Loretta Marion, NYC alum, who has recently signed a contract with a major agent: "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 is invaluable."
- Algonkian Writer Conferences veteran, Amy Satterfield, just had her novel, IS THAT ALL THERE IS PEGGY LEE?, picked up by literary agent Victoria Sanders. According to Amy, "Your conference gave me a sense of how to proceed, a really good pitch letter (it was the first thing Ms. Sanders commented on), and the confidence to go forward ..."
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
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. And here's why:
I just got in the mail (not so coincidentally) a book called The Creative Process - a bunch of essays, letters etc from creative people from Mozart to Poincare to Henry James. Their remarks converge on an interesting point, which is that you work away at a problem on a conscious level without much success, give it up for a while, and at some point your unconscious shoots up this spark by which you envision the whole solution (and then you have to work some more). I figure the work I did at workshop was the first stage, working on the conscious level. Now I can feel my unconscious cooking up a storm, and that something good will come of it. I knew instinctively that it didn't really matter that I made a poor showing, but it's always nice to have confirmation from Amy Lowell & al.
Helene ("L.N.") Sproules
In keeping with our mission to set writers on a realistic path to publication, the following writers attending events held by Algonkian Writer Conferences have signed contracts with major publishing houses as a result of their attendance: John Ford [THE MORGUE AND ME - Viking], Kate Gallison [THE EDGE OF RUIN - St. Martins], Christina Meldrum [MADAPPLE - Knopf], Will Lavendar [OBEDIENCE - Shaye Areheart], James Hayman [THE CUTTING - St. Martins], and Susan Breen [THE FICTION CLASS - Plume].
As a result of attendance at Algonkian events over the same time period, the following conference attendees are now represented by top literary agents: Rosemary DiBattista with Kim Lionetti at Bookends; Rachel Willen with Levine Greenburg Literary Agency; and Amy E. Fischer with Emily Kim of the Prospect Agency.
After working with conference faculty, Amy Hanson has signed with Atchity Entertainment in Los Angeles, and most recently, Joan Baril and Susan Sands, veterans of the same workshop, have signed with the Larsen-Pomada Agency in San Francisco as a direct result of networking with Algonkian Writer Conferences. Congrats!
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.
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
From John Ford (five figures for young adult fiction -
THE MORGUE AND ME - Viking)
The New York Pitch and Shop Conference offered direct access to major
publishing houses, great mentors, and a community of supportive writers. The
editors drew me to the conference, but the bigger benefit for me was the
invaluable instruction in honing my pitch. 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 ...
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
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:
The Rights Factory (Toronto)
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.
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
From Susan Breen (five figures for women's fiction -
THE FICTION CLASS - Plume)
I am the person who sold my novel at the NYC Pitch and Shop 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.
Let me just share my experience here. Before I went to the NYC Pitch and Shop conference, 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 and Shop, 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 and Shop.
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
From Will Lavender (six figure deal for his thriller - OBEDIENCE
- Shaye Areheart)
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.
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 went to the Algonkian Novel Workshop with a mostly complete novel. We worked on issues particular to the novel form including drama theory,
plotting, structure, and character development. I returned home with many helpful notes, particularly about structural elements. Within six weeks, I
had a revised novel, and two weeks later, a literary agent.
Stephanie Anagnoson, California
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 NYC Pitch and Shop)
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.
THE NEW YORK PITCH CONFERENCE
Algonkian Park Novel Workshops- One of our best for writers serious about publication. Craft and market shops led by Neff, Shannon O'Neill, Howard Yoon, and Bob Bausch.
Fisherman's Wharf Novel Workshops - During 45+ hrs of actual workshop time, writers engage in realistic narrative and complication/plot exercises necessary to produce a publishable manuscript. |
THE NEW YORK PITCH CONFERENCE
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."
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. "
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…inside people at both ends of the political food chains heads. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time."
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."
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.
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."
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."
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."