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Old 09-08-2011, 04:36 AM   #251
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Hi John,
Welcome aboard!
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:07 AM   #252
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Writers' conferences

Greetings everybody!

I'm kinda a conference newbie and I'm headed to the Algonkian Writers Conference in Toronto in Canada. (Oh joy, oh joy). I would like to know if there is a necessary kit that you guys have taken, such as printed queries, a bible for prayers, manuscripts, etc.


I would love to hear your opinions.


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Old 05-24-2012, 10:16 PM   #253
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Hi Bernard,
I checked out your website. The facebook button doesn't appear to do anything, FYI.

I hope that you had a chance to read through the somewhat long and sometimes controversial thread. I figured I'd chime in since originally I was a staunch supporter and now, as my writing has progressed, not so much.

Disclaimer: I have attended the NYC one and the VA one. Both were a little different.

Just bring your story along and use your free time to make friends and work on the story.

Take everything that comes out of work shopping your pitch with a grain of salt. My opinion is the application process isn't much of a filter. I won't cite examples, because there are actual people involved.

If your story is not deemed "high concept" enough, you'll be cajoled into changing it. I ended up with a completely different story than I went in with. In retrospect, I should have stuck to the original idea. It's not that the second one was bad, but I have learned a whole lot in the last two years.

You'll make friends. I keep in touch daily with one of the ladies I met. It didn't help my writing at all and I have since found out how bad it was when I started. The only good thing is potential feedback from the editors. You won't sell the story here, but you may get some of their insight into what they like/ what is trending.

I don't want to go into details on my current thoughts on the conference as a whole since that isn't what you asked for, but I would recommend a couple of things:

1) You have short stories on your website. If you are still elligible, start entering Writers of the Future: writersofthefuture.com
2) You will get more out of something like Uncle Orson's Literary Bootcamp. Even the 2 day version which is open to everyone contains enough information that it is worth going to.

Good luck. Have fun. Keep Writing!
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:46 AM   #254
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Francis Bruno, you are a find. Glad to hear you're still in the game.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:42 AM   #255
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Still lurking. Much too busy to actively contribute much.
I've been doing pretty well entering Writers of the Future. 1 Semi-Finalist and for Q1 I'm looking at the same or better. I'm in the hold pile due to K.D.'s passing. I'm hoping to attend VP paradise this year, I just need to send in my application.

Oh, and I went to Uncle Orson's Literary Bootcamp and Superstars Writing 2012. So I've seen what more "informative" conferences are like

Nice to pop in and say hi occasionally. I did get the secret handshake at superstars so now I'm sure to get published. I guess I can share it here for everyone:
1) Write a lot.
2) Write well.
3) See #1.

There are a few more steps, but I hear they are incidental.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:29 PM   #256
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Francisbruno;


thanks for your response. It's really helpful to have opinions like yours.

I've been looking to develop the pitching process of my book, instead of an editorial/creative analysis of my book. I feel that I have worked enough on this throughout 2011 and 2012 (of course, I might be wrong, hehe).

I would like to ask you about the Writer's Digest conference because it's on the same date as the Algonkian. I've been balancing both and still don't know which one to go to. I was pretty much convinced that I'd go Algonkian but ended up getting the invite to WD just a week ago.


For someone looking to pitch, which would you recommend?
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:05 PM   #257
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Hi Bernard,
I can't speak to WD since I never went to that conference. Perhaps someone else can chime in.

As for the pitching aspect, you may be better off with the share your work section of the message board to have people judge your pitch. I got some good feedback on query letters from there. I fear that what you'll get from Algonkian is a thumbs up or down from one person and then a group of writers at various levels of experience trying to help you out. Also, if they don't like the story they will push you to change it and then you will have wasted your time.

Do not go by the fact that you were "accepted." I submitted my jacket copy and when we did the roundtable discussion of pitches, my story was deemed unsaleable. It was very upsetting that I could have been told this ahead of time if someone had really read the submission. (My conjecture of course)

Good luck and I hope you get a positive experience from wherever you go.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:31 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by bmadsen View Post

For someone looking to pitch, which would you recommend?
You didn't ask me, but I'm going to point out.

So you shell out $$$ and go to a conference with a goal of pitching.

If you succeed, you know what you get?

An invitation to submit.

Which you paid $$$ for but will in fact go through exactly the same process you would go through if you hadn't pitched, paid $$$, and gone to the conference.

Your submission is still going to be looked at by an assistant. It's still going to go through the same process as all the other submissions in the slush because an ability to pitch doesn't equal an ability to write.

If you're determined, you might read the FAQ on Pitching.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #259
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I'm not sure which editors and agents Jim has talked to, but several of the ones I've talked to have told me that if they request material at a conference then the writer can write 'Requested Material' in the subject line of their email or on their envelope. This brings the requested material to the attention of the agent or editor and they read it sooner than if it were in the ordinary slush.

This can be a distinct advantage over sitting in a regular slush pile for months or years. Of course, there are editors who take months or years to read even their requested material.

The other advantage to pitching at a conference may be that the agent or editor does not take submissions *except* those pitched at a conference.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:12 AM   #260
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Medievalist: thanks a lot for your response. All opinions matter, and yours is pretty valuable. Your take on the monetary aspect of things is pretty valid and does affect the perception of what the idea of going to a conference is, at least for me (I have to travel internationally to get to one, being from Costa Rica)


Francisbruno, thanks for checking my site out! That site has a long story, the webmaster and I have been bickering about changes that he doesn't want to do and stuff I want added, so the site is pretty much outdated. I'll definitely check on that fb and a LOT of other things I need to do to it.


Karen, your point on having an agent requesting only material pitched at conferences is one of the reasons one I'm winging and heading to a writers' conference. Being in such a small country doesn't usually lend itself to many big opportunities for an English writer (I've been published in Spanish here in Costa Rica).

Alas, I must think about this in a very thorough and I'll let you know about my decision.

Thanks everybody! This is why AW is so valuable.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:28 AM   #261
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I think you should have an elevator pitch for your book. I recently attended Superstars Writing and they specifically said to have one. This is from big name authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Kevin J Anderson. You never know when you may find yourself next to an editor at a con and have a minute to run your idea by them.

That said, I wouldn't go to a conference specifically geared to developing a pitch and using it. You can learn to write a pitch by poking around here or other sites and using SYW you can get feedback.

Pitching might save you a step, but it would cost you a lot over simply querying. If you are determined to pitch in person, you are probably better off going to a convention with strong writing tracks, especially if you can find out if agents or editors who you would be interested in pitching to are attending. You will hit a lot more than at a targeted conference like Algonkian and have an opportunity to network with other authors.

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:33 AM   #262
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Bernard -- it might be a good idea to check the agents' websites before you make your decision. If you can submit to them without the expense of international travel, that may be a better way to go. There are no guarantees that an agent will request your manuscript, even if your pitch is perfect.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:35 AM   #263
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:megusta:

Thanks, man!

In fact, working here and having my worked critiqued has been very valuable. The elevator pitch for my book is still in progress and, judging by your opinion, is a must. I will definitely work on it.


I saw the WOTF contest. I am at work right now (responsible I know), and I'll see if I'm still eligible for the contest.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:52 AM   #264
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen Junker View Post
Bernard -- it might be a good idea to check the agents' websites before you make your decision. If you can submit to them without the expense of international travel, that may be a better way to go. There are no guarantees that an agent will request your manuscript, even if your pitch is perfect.

Haven't I known what you are on about You're right, it's better to see the conference experience with different eyes.
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:05 AM   #265
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I once worked at a house with an open submission policy. When I went to weekend conferences, one or two or six writers would corner me at awkward moments and want to talk about their manuscripts. "Please," I'd say, "just send it to me at the office. We have an open submission policy. The address is in the front of all our books."

That is: they could have submitted their work any time to me or any other editor in the house. It said so in our submission guidelines and in every market resource in existence.

Inevitably, days or weeks after the conference, the manuscript would arrive with REQUESTED MATERIAL ENCLOSED written on the envelope. By bracing me at the conference, the writers had cleverly circumvented barriers that didn't exist. They went in the same stack as everyone else.
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:37 AM   #266
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Algonkian Niagara Writers Conference

Not sure if this is the right place to ask my question, but has anyone here ever attended, or try to attend this event?

http://algonkian-niagara.com/index.html

How difficult is it to get in? Did you go? Impressions, comments, thoughts?
Most importantly, how did your current work in progress fit into this conference?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:08 AM   #267
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Bukarella, based on what I've read here and elsewhere, and what I know about publishing and the submissions system, I wouldn't even consider attending the conference.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:37 PM   #268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bukarella View Post
Not sure if this is the right place to ask my question, but has anyone here ever attended, or try to attend this event?

http://algonkian-niagara.com/index.html

How difficult is it to get in? Did you go? Impressions, comments, thoughts?
Most importantly, how did your current work in progress fit into this conference?

Thanks a bunch!
If you can sign your name on a check, you're in.

However.

You're not going to find books by Michael Neff et al in your local library and bookstore, because they're not published by anyone you've ever heard of.

Save your money. If you have to go to a conference, look at a local / regional conference, a genre specific conference like RWA, or SCWEBI, or a conference with people whose names and books you know, like Backspace.

If running a conference is a principal source of income for the runners, it's not a good sign.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:52 PM   #269
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Point taken! Thank you very much for directing me to this thread. Answered all the questions I had about the event.
My project is not "high enough" of a concept for such a gathering.

However, I'd really like to attend a writing conference some time in October - November, maaaybe January the latest? It seems like it's a bit too late in the game? All I can come up with is done and over with for 2012.

I can't afford to be away for more than 4 days, and it would have to be somewhere in the driving distance from New England.

I have projects at just about every stage of development, and would love to get some feedback on writing, advice on pitching, querying, selling, and editing would all be the topics of interest. I'm most interested in YA/Fantasy, and looked into Odessey workshop, but they already closed their admissions for January. *sigh*

Advice?
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:45 PM   #270
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Advice?
At risk of horn-blowing, you could start reading here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...ead.php?t=6710

And drop down to Share Your Work (password: vista) to start critiquing others. Nothing teaches you more about your work than critiquing someone else's.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:55 PM   #271
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The Algonkian events shouldn't really be called conferences. The one I went to back in the day was more a series of hands-on seminars with a small group of people on writing and pitching. The seminars were more useful than some I've been to at actual conferences, less than others. I will say working with the same dozen people for a couple of days gave it the feel of a quickie writing retreat, which I did like.

Perhaps not an essential step in a writer's development, but not a rip-off either. Mr. Neff seemed to have an unforced, cordial relationship with the agent in attendance (who made it clear we shouldn't be sending her the projects whose pitches she reviewed).

I agree everything I picked up in the way of knowledge there could be acquired elsewhere.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:37 PM   #272
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Algokian Writer's Conference selection

I've read a couple threads about this conference in this very forum, but they were a little dated.

I am (obviously) looking to get published, but what I want out of the conference is also an honest critique of my work and kind of insight into the industry.

Where I am cynical about the process is that I was selected so quickly. I think my novel is good. I've put a lot of work into like (like so many other people on this forum), and I want to give it the dedication it deserves. I am just worried that the conference might have deteriorated in past years because of its popularity.

Any views from people who attended in the last year or two? Thanks and happy holidays! =0)
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:17 AM   #273
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I was accepted immediately 3 years ago:
1) My writing was poor at best. (at that time)
2) I was told my pitch was bad on day 1.

It was almost as if:
1) I could write a check
2) No one ever read the pitch/ summary I submitted. (If they did, they could have saved me a ton of heartache and a sleepless night)

I came out a stronger person and learned I can develop a new story line in no time. I made friends and had fun. What it didn't do was teach me anything about writing and it didn't help me publish anything.

If you'd like a crit of your work, it only costs 50 posts and you can use Share your work.

I'd also suggest (from experience):
1) Viable Paradise
2) Uncle Orson's Literary Bootcamp
3) David Farland's courses
4) meetup.org and find a local group or found one

Enter: Writers of the future. Costs nothing and if you manage an HM or higher, you know you're onto something. (Not placing doesn't mean you are necessarily bad)

I signed up for critters.org, but haven't really used them. I was accepted into Uncle Orson's. I am a codex member now.

Above all, keep writing. Find some writers at your level of experience and keep working at it. Have fun at the conference, but don't expect to learn what real publishing is like.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:30 PM   #274
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Hi, Francis. My name is Beth and I was in a different NYC pitch group a few years ago. My novel is now scheduled for publication by St. Martins in late 2014. I credit the NYC for helping me achieve this goal in one of several ways, but it was not the only thing that pushed me forward, of course. I can also credit my college English professor, among others.

I was going to share my thoughts and make it clear that you don't speak for those who had a very different experience from you, but I found this post by "AudreyInDC" who posted on another thread, and I wanted to share it, and since you already did your best to negate her positive post (which makes me wonder why you spend so much time on this board jumping around in an ongoing effort to share your negative experiences) I assume you won't have to repeat your previous attempt. I recommend you simply point to your many other posts wherein you appear to speak for all writers who attend these events instead of just speaking for yourself. You can't tell the world emphatically that the NYC pitch won't help them get published or provide useful knowledge about the publising world. That is a false statement. I'm not saying you are trying to lie for the sake of others on AW, just that your statement, based on my experience, is false.

Here is the post by Audrey I noted above:

I wanted to share my very positive experience with the NYC Pitch and Shop last month....

[Mod note: There's no need to repost another member's post entire; it's a copyright problem. The link is here: http://www.www.absolutewrite.com/for...&postcount=143 for those who wish to read the full post. -- JDM]

------

I agree completely with her opinion of the conference.

And one last thing--this silly criticism re "writing a check" ... well, I wrote a check for other conferences too. I had to pay for it. So what?

The fact that I wrote a check doesn't mean there isn't a screening process. The fact that you apparently feel you should never have been accepted is a Woody Allen effect, isn't it? What kind of conference can it be if it accepts a bad writer like you? That seems to be the argument you are making.

And your crit here re writing: "What it didn't do was teach me anything about writing ..."

I had writers in my group, good ones, who were there to learn about their novel and the business. They weren't there to workshop their actual prose. That isn't what this conference is about and it's not advertised that way. You know that. Complaining you didn't get taught anything about your writing? Well, you might as well you didn't learn anything about book store stocking. If you were a bad writer and learned nothing that helped you with your grammar, for example, that wasn't the fault of the NYC pitch.

You don't speak for me, Francis Bruno, or for anyone else I know who had a great experience.

Good luck with your werewolf novel.

Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 12-28-2013 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Remove full text of another member's post.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #275
Thedrellum
Grr. Argh.
 
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BabsWriter,

Mostly, I just want to say that the cardinal rule here is to Respect Your Fellow Writer. Although you couch some of your post in language that seems conciliatory, mostly you seem to be attacking francisbruno for things he's said here and elsewhere while he, on the other hand, is providing an asked for opinion to another member.

How is providing his opinion and relating his experiences equivalent to lying?

Also, why do you make that final dig about his werewolf novel? Whether you meant it that way or not, the tone comes off as both combative and dismissive.

All in all, your "defense" of the pitch workshops makes me think worse of them, despite how useful they may be.
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