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The New York Pitch conference


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#1 tdl

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:13 PM

Did abybody here attend the New York Pitch Conference" or heard from somebody who did?
Would you recommend?

#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:59 AM

I have attended a fiction pitch in New York, but it was a different organization. For what it's worth, I was impressed by the caliber of ideas that were pitched. The manuscripts had been workshopped and the pitches had been rehearsed many times -- I mean that as a good thing. These writers were ready to have questions asked about the characters' motivations and to hear honest critiques about the conflicts in their stories.

I've not been through a specific pitch development program myself, but I think it could be worthwhile.

#3 tdl

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:39 PM

I have attended a fiction pitch in New York, but it was a different organization. For what it's worth, I was impressed by the caliber of ideas that were pitched. The manuscripts had been workshopped and the pitches had been rehearsed many times -- I mean that as a good thing. These writers were ready to have questions asked about the characters' motivations and to hear honest critiques about the conflicts in their stories.

I've not been through a specific pitch development program myself, but I think it could be worthwhile.


Thanks. I think I will go for it. Hope it will be worth the investment!

#4 writermom23

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 04:39 PM

I attended the New York Pitch Conference. It was an amazing experience. We learned how to perfect our pitch and got one on one face time with publishers. I made great contacts in the industry and would highly recommend anyone to attend. Be aware, however, the panel is brutally honest.

#5 Cat Woods

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:11 PM

Thanks so much for the update. I'm glad you enjoyed your time--brutal honesty and all!

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#6 AprilS

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:01 PM

I had a truly valuable experience at the New York Pitch Conference. At first, I thought I was taking a chance given my disappointment in general as a result of being tainted by the agent search business, then I read on the conference website: "The New York Pitch Conference is held four times a year and features publishing house editors from major houses such as Penguin, Random House, Henry Holt, and many more, who are looking for new novels. It focuses on the art of the novel pitch as a best method for having your work taken seriously, and as a diagnostic workshop method for exploring the elements of the story itself to determine the quality and marketability of your novel."

So I took the chance and experienced the miracle of workshop leader and author Susan Breen (whose novel was published as a result of the conference--Ave Susan! Hugs!), as well as the professionalism of the entire New York staff. And as they say at the event, the pitch tail wagged the novel. Due to Susan's expertise, dialogue with the publishers, and the smart prep work prior to the conference, I was able to use the pitch model in all its complexity as a means for improving the rest of the novel, and as a result, it went from being mediocre and nearly hopeless to a gleaming story that editors actually wanted to read! Three publishing house editors asked to see my work, and after edits weeks later I queried at least five agents and received requests for partials and fulls from four of them, having added in the query that actual publishers had asked for my work. That made a huge difference in response. Prior to that I didn't get the time of day, so no more hopelessness.

I recommend highly!

#7 AprilS

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:09 PM

I forgot to add this interview with Kim Boykin linked off the New York conference site. She was in Susan's group with me. It pretty much sums up and builds on what I was saying.

You go Kim! Hope you get six figures in auction!

#8 Lawrence

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 02:07 PM

Authors talk about their experience at the New York Pitch Conference

I have already had a novel published by a major publisher, but getting the second book out there has turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I asked my agent what she thought about taking the new book to the New York Pitch Conference. She thought it was a fine idea, so I went for it. It turned out to be a great experience. I got lots of help refining my pitch and the opportunity to pitch my book to four editors. Where else can you tell your story to four editors who are actively looking for books to buy? I think the answer to that is "Nowhere else." But the icing on the cake, I think, was that the workshops gave me new insight into the very essence of my book. I had lots to think about when I got home, and revised accordingly.

- Author Natasha Bauman

My novel became a higher concept project because of the New York Pitch Conference experience. I was also encouraged to think of it in broader terms and consider developing a series.

- Author Pamela Binder

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!

- Author Roberta Gately

The New York Pitch Conference sessions sharpened my focus considerably. They train you to look at your work in a certain way. And of course, exposure to the frank opinions of people in the publishing world is priceless ...

- Author Kate Gallison

First write a good book; if you're not sure about that, attend one of the other Algonkian Workshops. 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!

- Author Kim Boykin

#9 Late Bloomer

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 08:51 AM

Wish I could have been there too, but New York is a little far for me at the moment. Tell them to bring it to Denver!

#10 Mastro RJ

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:07 PM

Yeah, bring that conference down to the ATL pleeeeeeze.
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#11 RSMellette

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:11 PM

I got my agent at a pitch fest.

They do have traveling shows. I'm sure there's one in your region at some point.

And pitches are definitely worth practising for two reasons: First, to sell your book; second, to escape from people you don't want to talk to at cocktail parties who ask, "what's your book about?"

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#12 bob cohn

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:04 PM

I went to the NY Pitch Conference. It was my first writer's conference, so I have nothing to compare it to. I hoped to leave understanding a little more about the labyrinth that the book business and getting published seem to be. And I did! Big time!
I had no idea what 'the pitch tail wags the novel dog' meant, and I now see how the pitch guides the writer toward publication. I met and spoke with real live walking talking acquisition editors and an agent, got a lot of tremendously valuable feedback and insight and two requests from acquisition editors for a sample of my manuscript.
I also met and worked with fourteen bright, passionate, aspiring authors, eager to help - great people with whom I am eager to stay in touch. (It can get lonely out here!) The experience was enlightening and energizing. I suppose I could ask for more, but I can't imagine what or how.
One last thing. This conference is not for the faint of heart. The feedback is dead on and no punches pulled. If you are not willing, even eager, to do whatever it takes to give your book commercial value, this is probalby not the conference for you. If you are, sign up - This one is not to be missed.

#13 Dominique Schwartz

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:09 PM

Did abybody here attend the New York Pitch Conference" or heard from somebody who did?
Would you recommend?


I recently attended the New York Pitch Conference. It was AMAZING. To give you a basic idea of exactly what it does for you, let me outline what we did during the four days I attended:

First day: we divided into groups based on our genres. This is not to say that your group will be solely comprised of writers in your exact genre, but more that paranormal, science fiction, fantasy will be grouped together, etc etc etc. During this first day, we each read our "pitch", which is essentially what you send as a query to the masses of agency firms you hope will represent you. From there, each and EVERY ONE OF US had our pitches torn apart and reconstructed. This process helped us all make our concepts tighter, more high-concept, essentially... more appealing.

Second day: after re-working our pitches based on the constructive criticism(s) we all received, we did a "group" pitch. This translates to again dividing into our respective groups and sitting in front of a major player of some sort within a publishing agency, who took turns listening to each of our pitches and again gave us constructive criticism, and in some cases, requested pages or manuscripts. This was huge. I not only got a feel for what this industry is looking for in general based not only on my own feedback but from every other pitch and the feedback given in response, but I also got to wade into the waters of the business end of the writing world. Everyone there in my group was there for moral support! After that first pitch, we all sat together again and discussed reworking pitches or concepts, making things even tighter.

Third day: I attended two private pitches, with myself, my workshop leader, and the editor I was pitching to in attendance. It was huge- the opportunity to get FACE TIME with actual decision-makers in the industry, to hear some of their thoughts, to have an opportunity to set myself apart from the hordes of faceless writers besieging their firms with queries.

Fourth day: I attended one final pitch and a final workshop where we all discussed a game plan, a strategy, and in the case of my particular group, exchanged contact info with the promise to keep in touch and offer support/advice/help as needed.

In summary, the NY Pitch helped me to CONSIDERABLY tighten my concept. It made it better, it helped me to understand and recognize some of the "generic" or "overly done" concepts that I was flirting with, and helped me get an idea for how to sell my ideas to industry professionals. I would HIGHLY recommend it. Michael Neff, my workshop leader and the man behind the scenes of these pitches, is a genius, whose smart sense of what works and what doesn't is only surpassed by the genuine desire he has to see each and every pitch attendee succeed. As a writer himself, he knows what it's like to try to traverse the waters of the publishing world. I can, I believe, safely speak for my group when I say that he did everything he could for every SINGLE PERSON in our group to make us as polished and prepared as possible for our individual pitches. The conference was well-organized, well thought-out, and everything I'd hoped it would be and SO MUCH MORE.

So to answer yours and anyone else's question of whether or not to attend, whether or not this Pitch experience is "too good to be true"- YES attend... with the knowledge that it is EXACTLY what it advertises at the very least.

#14 Kati T

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 05:34 PM

Did abybody here attend the New York Pitch Conference" or heard from somebody who did?
Would you recommend?

:biggrin: I just got back and can't say enough good things. It's a reality check for sure, and it's definately
geared for commercial fiction. If you want to know if your story is marketable, this is the place to go. If
it's not marketable the way you wrote it, you will learn what needs to be changed in order to sell it.
You will learn how to pummel your 90-odd thousand word book into 150 words or less that make editors want to read
it. You then pitch it to people who are actually have the power to do something with your story. I walked away with two acquisition editors and an agent requesting my manuscript as well as a huge sense of validation.
Like I said, it's a reality check, and not for the faint of heart, but working with a group of incredibly
talented, creative people was really magical. Incredible things happened in that room.

#15 jurismanny

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 11:43 AM

I just attended the NEw York Pitch Conference this past weekend, September 22-25, 2011. And all I can say is... wow!!

One goal of the conference is to perfect the crucial pitch that is used to sell one's book to the editor - and ultimately - to the consumer as well. But another goal, equally important, was to use the pitch to recognize our respective novel's weaknesses. The premise was simple: if the pitch sucks, you will never get to present your writing. If the pitch is good, then the novel must match the pitch. Director Michael Neff (who also taught my small workshop group) calls it "wagging the novel"... Let the pitch wag the novel!

In my case, I came into the conference thinking I had a book loaded with conflict... only to realize how far I had yet to go! Michael spent much of our first day - the pitch boot camp, as we call it - stressing the need for high stakes in our manuscripts. We were forced to go back and examine just what is at stake for our characters, what they have to lose, and what they are trying to accomplish. In that critical element of high stakes, a lot of us were coming up short. And this is where the magic started happening!!

Through a combination of classroom time, time waiting for our turn to make out pitches, even time at the local watering holes, our group members rallied to each other and breathed new life into each other's pitches! My own pitch was radically transformed on Friday evening. We had, earlier that morning, made our first pitch, and many of us came away somewhere between discouraged and despairing. Yet over happy hour at Cooper's Tavern, my new friends helped me RADICALLY tighten my pitch, to the point that I was able to show it to Michael and have him say, "Yes, this is fantastic! Go with this tomorrow morning!"

And I was not alone by any means. Every one of us benefitted in some way from having so many other fresh, talented eyes combing over our respective pitches and identifying flaws that were perfectly invisible to the author. I can say with confidence that every pitch we presented on Saturday and Sunday included ideas garnered from our classmates. THAT, more than anything, is what made all the difference: how invested each of us was in each other's projects, and how invested Michael was in seeing us all suck it up, get tough, and sell our books... our babies... our passions!

I, for one, came away with 2 editors who have asked to see a sample of my manuscript. Many of us had 3 callbacks, and a couple in our group received the maximum 4! And ALL of us, with or without such callbacks, came away with priceless insight into the business of publishing, and with strategies for how to make it happen going forward.

Any serious writer would do well to consider the New York Pitch Conference: the insights, the self-examination, and most importantly, the community of fellow writers is an experience I would not trade in for anything! Thank you Michael, and thank you fellow Pitch members for a weekend to remember!!

Emanuel Ardeleanu

#16 Ingrid

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 12:35 PM

I attended the NYC Pitch conference in September 2011. The first day, the teacher listened to our pitches and tried to bring out the best in each one of them. The point was to see if our books had the elements that made them commercial and unique (high concept was the term used.)

If the elements were inside the novel to begin with, the teacher helped us find them and include them in our pitches. If they weren’t there, he encouraged everyone to push the limits to come up with them. The idea of “let the pitch wag the novel” became clear to all. Many rewrote their pitches, fully aware that they'd have to rework their novel. And yet, it was this ‘remodeled’ pitches which made their projects more appealing and allowed their authors to get nibbles from the editors. Everyone learned that to get published it's not enough to just write a book you love, but a book that can sell. To close that circle, we learned which elements editors think will sell. A huge eye opener!

It was a great experience. Personally, I got nibbles from one agent and 3 editor. I cannot complain. I would go again and I would recommend it to anyone.

#17 nancyinRI

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 12:58 PM

Would you recommend this to someone just starting out or is it mainly geared for people who already have their MS written?

#18 RushFellow

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:02 PM

Would you recommend this to someone just starting out or is it mainly geared for people who already have their MS written?


I've attended also, and it's geared for anyone wishing a reality check on their plot and/or story concept. What is the point of working years for a story that will get no commercial validation from the market?

The New York Pitch Conference website covers this issue here:
http://newyorkpitchc...articipants.htm

#19 nancyinRI

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:28 PM

Thank you for the reply and link to the answer of my question. Since I am so new and just starting out, it does look like I am not quite ready for this conference. It states that this is not for beginners who would benefit more from an average writers conference (whatever that may be).

#20 robertguitar

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:50 PM

I'm sold that the New York Pitch Conference is wonderful if you are pitching a novel, but what if you are pitching a memoir? I know that memoirists are welcome at the conference, but does anybody have any experience with either pitching a memoir at the conference or observing someone who did? Thank you for any replies.




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