Inside the NYC Pitch & Shop Writing Conference
Got a book to sell? If you’re looking for a writing workshop in NYC that’s focused on selling your manuscript, the Algonkian NYC Pitch and Shop Conference might be the best choice for you.
If you’re looking for a writing workshop focused on the craft of writing, check out this post for advice on Choosing a Writing Workshop or Retreat.
Held in the Ripley Grier Studios on the 16th floor of 520 Eighth Avenue in Midtown New York, Algonkian NYC Pitch & Shop is a workshop for writers who want to get their books published.
How is Algonkian Different from other NYC Writing Workshops
It’s a 4-day event which involves developing a synopsis, honing it with your workshop leader (and 15 writers) and then pitching it to an editor. If they like what they hear, they’ll request a copy of your manuscript.
Tips for Attending the Algonkian Writing Workshop in NYC:
1. Soak up the excitement. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with aspiring actors auditioning for Broadway shows, kids in tutus and sixty other writers. Get ready for an electric atmosphere charged with nervous energy and use it to fire your pitch.
2. Algonkian doesn’t attempt to create a “feel-good’ atmosphere. Expect criticism and use it to your advantage
3. Lessons begin before you arrive. Pre-conference assignments revealed problems in my book – structure, conflict/complications and characters– I didn’t even know existed.
Don’t believe the website. Bring your computer. You’ll need it to hone your pitch – over and over and over again
4. Be happy if you’re told — like I was — that your book isn’t literary. These editors are looking for books with commercial potential. Market-friendly is good.
5. If you’re looking for an agent, you won’t find one here. The focus is on editors. The best agent tip I got came from Single Gal in the City, the lovely and talented Melissa Braverman who referred me to Publishers MarketPlace, which lists all the best deals plus the agents who finessed them.
6. Stay positive – even if your name isn’t picked the first or second time.
7. Get inspired. You’ll be surrounded by talented people. I enjoyed meeting the quirky and fabulous Tanya Eby aka Blunder Woman, published novelist Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa ( Daughters of the Stone) and talented NASCAR cutie Raygan Swan. I hope we meet again on the shelves at the bookstores if not sooner.
8. Expect surprises. I won the book draw and learned a lot from Roberta Gately (LIPSTICK IN AFGHANISTAN) and her publicist, the irrepressible Susan Schwartzman. Her message? Hiring your own publicist is a must.
9. Forget about shopping. I know it’s NYC but between fixing your pitch and drinking at Cooper’s Tavern you won’t have time to score many deals – although I did manage to hit Macy’s dress sale, take a NYC culinary tour of Little Italy and try on 100 bathing suits. In that order.
10. Don’t be shy. You’ll have to pitch your book in front of 15 people. Think American Idol – manuscript style.
11. Never ever compare your book to Eat, Pray, Love. Just don’t.
I loved our workshop leader Susan Breen (The Fiction Class) – patient, tough, committed and kind, she even managed to keep laughing at my jokes even though she’d heard them a dozen times by the time my pitches were done.
Travel Planner for the Algonkian NYC Writing Workshop
Where to Stay: Given how busy the schedule is for the writing workshop, it’s important to stay nearby. I chose the art deco style Hotel New Yorker. It’s a 5 minute walk to the studios and home to Cooper’s Tavern. Free wi-fi was a bonus.
You might also be interested in the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.