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Calla Lily
02-26-2007, 07:12 PM
Anyone ever done this? It's cheaply flyable for me, but rooms are outrageous (natch, it's NYC) and it's $495 for 4 days. BUT it's aimed at one thing: writers pitching to editors--and there's a wide variety.

Sounds like a no-brainer--BUT I'm a cheap...er...frugal broad and I need to know laying out that kind of cash will be worth it.

Thanks!

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 07:18 PM
I haven't been. I signed up for the April one but I'm having second thoughts... anyone who can chime in here will have my appreciation as well.

Calla, there are rooms within walking distance (five to eight blocks) that are more reasonably priced at $99 - $120 a night. I've been to NYC a number of times and managed to locate the studio. And OMG, you're in Buffalo!! I'm in Syracuse (well, sort of).

I've heard roommates make things cheaper... :D

Calla Lily
02-26-2007, 07:22 PM
It's a small world--where in Syracuse? I lived there till I got married! My folks still own a gas station on the North Side.

I've been to NYC a few times (I hate it, but we must suffer for our art, right?). Tell me you're female and this room-sharing thing is a definite possibility, LOL.

victoriastrauss
02-26-2007, 07:22 PM
Here's Evil Editor's take on this (http://www.inblogs.net/evileditor/2006/07/q-77-pitch-fest.html#c116189737165058726). I have to say I agree.

- Victoria

Calla Lily
02-26-2007, 07:27 PM
Thanks, Victoria. You're invaluable!

But I think I fall within Evil Editor's parameters. I've had requests for partials, so my query seems to work. I know the marked I need to aim for (NOT Christian, where I thought I needed to be).

Gotta chew on this some more.

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 07:27 PM
Calla - sweet! What's the gas station? I lived on the South Side (yeah, yeah, I'm a bad-a**) but had friends all over, and a few on the North Side.

I've moved to the "country" (Mexico, about 45 minutes north of Syracuse) but my sister's still down there and my husband works in Syracuse.

which answers the gender question, eh? :D

I'm gonna PM you...

Histry Nerd
02-26-2007, 09:48 PM
Calla -

I went to the one back in September. I thought it was a good experience, if only because I got to meet face-to-face with other writers (which I don't get to do very often). I'm still in contact with a few of the folks I was there with. A couple of them now have contracts as a (direct or indirect) result of the query/pitch polishing sessions we did.

It also did a lot to humanize the publishing industry for me. It was useful for me to sit across the table from some Big Bad Editors and realize they really are just folks, after all. Most of them, frankly, seemed more interested in critiquing the pitches than in considering the books, but Tom Colgan of Penguin requested my full ms, read the whole thing, and sent me a personal rejection a couple of months later.

That, and it was an excuse to spend a weekend in Manhattan with my wife. We didn't have a whole lot of free time, but it was enough to go to some good suppers and catch a show one evening.

Let me know if you want more specific information. I'll be happy to help.

HN

Will Lavender
02-26-2007, 09:58 PM
I enjoyed it. My query was so much better when I left New York than before I went. The other students gave me ideas, the mentor of the class gave me ideas, the editor gave me ideas.

One of the editors requested the manuscript, and I put that in my query. (It was a fudge, of course, because they essentially requested the pitch. But still, it was Tom Clancy's editor.)

I'm pretty easy to please, but it was well worth the money I paid.

Will Lavender
02-26-2007, 09:59 PM
Calla -

I went to the one back in September. I thought it was a good experience, if only because I got to meet face-to-face with other writers (which I don't get to do very often). I'm still in contact with a few of the folks I was there with. A couple of them now have contracts as a (direct or indirect) result of the query/pitch polishing sessions we did.

It also did a lot to humanize the publishing industry for me. It was useful for me to sit across the table from some Big Bad Editors and realize they really are just folks, after all. Most of them, frankly, seemed more interested in critiquing the pitches than in considering the books, but Tom Colgan of Penguin requested my full ms, read the whole thing, and sent me a personal rejection a couple of months later.

That, and it was an excuse to spend a weekend in Manhattan with my wife. We didn't have a whole lot of free time, but it was enough to go to some good suppers and catch a show one evening.

Let me know if you want more specific information. I'll be happy to help.

HN

Hey, I know you...

I just PM'd you.

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 03:05 AM
I wish it were a dinner. I would be infinitely more comfortable talking to editor(s) about my book if it were over a plate of Stroganoff, for example. I can't imagine just sitting across from the editor and saying "okay, my book is a James Joyce-esque look at the world we live in and what happens when a transsexual hypochondriac must deal with the living dead who have risen and are playing the graveyard version of musical chairs."

swvaughn
02-27-2007, 03:48 AM
Wow - okay, Pete, feel free to whack me one, but... is that really what your book is about? :D 'Cuz it does sound like fun...

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 04:08 AM
Wow - okay, Pete, feel free to whack me one, but... is that really what your book is about? :D 'Cuz it does sound like fun...

Silly, no. I just made that up as an example, and then posted it, and I thought "oh. Hey. That could be fun."

And then it turned into scenes in my head, and I guess I'll write it as a short story later tonight.

But if I pitch it to an editor, I would still like it to be over dinner.

CaoPaux
02-27-2007, 04:10 AM
IMHO, the behavior of the organizers casts an poor light on this endeavor.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52959

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008561.html

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 04:18 AM
I'd forgotten about PitchBitch. Her name always reminded me of "Shake N Bake" and I chortled.

She's on my list as an "absolute tit," and the list is starting to get heavy and I dont' think I'll carry it with me anymore.

I think that things like this could be useful, but I tend to approach these things based on whethe or not I think it'd be cool and fun to do.

If I read a short story to a crowd, for example, I'd do it consciously because I think it'd be fun and I'd enjoy doing it. The fact that it would help sell books is definitely a factor, but not one that would immediately occur to me.

I'd treat the Pitch 'N' Shop the same way. You could have fun, you could meet interesting people, you could learn a few things. It's not vital. You don't have to go in order to become a Real Published Writer! or anything.

popmuze
02-27-2007, 06:55 AM
What about the idea that the more editors see your book (and reject it) the less of a chance you have to get an agent? That's why I would tend to avoid something like this.

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 06:59 AM
You know, that's an interesting question, in that I'm not sure this sort of thing would apply to that general rule. (But the key words there are "I'm not sure.")

Will Lavender
02-27-2007, 07:01 AM
IMHO, the behavior of the organizers casts an poor light on this endeavor.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52959

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008561.html

That person is one of the organizers?

Disappointing. I only met one of the main people on my trip; he was the mentor of our group. Charles Salzberg. Very nice guy.

Will Lavender
02-27-2007, 07:04 AM
What about the idea that the more editors see your book (and reject it) the less of a chance you have to get an agent? That's why I would tend to avoid something like this.

Eh, you're only talking about three or four editors. Only one of them is going to ask for the manuscript, probably. The rest of them essentially critique your pitch and give sort of publishing world advice.

And by the time these editors look at your book, the agent process will be almost over. Unless you've got a really hot MS, it's going to take these editors 6-8 months to reject you. By that time, you probably will be well on your way to getting an agent.

By the time the editor from the Pitch-and-Shop rejected me, my agent had already submitted to publishers.

popmuze
02-27-2007, 07:21 AM
Since my pitch is attracting about a 50% response rate from agents to see the manuscript, in whole or in part, I'm thinking it's probably pretty good. If the pitch isn't the problem, then maybe this workshop won't help me find out what the problem is.

Beyond that, I've been looking for a new agent for over a year. So I don't need any more strikes against me.

Will Lavender
02-27-2007, 07:29 AM
Since my pitch is attracting about a 50% response rate from agents to see the manuscript, in whole or in part, I'm thinking it's probably pretty good. If the pitch isn't the problem, then maybe this workshop won't help me find out what the problem is.

Beyond that, I've been looking for a new agent for over a year. So I don't need any more strikes against me.

I was getting about 50% before the conference; around 90% after.

My experience was good because I like writing environments. I hadn't been in one since my MFA. I'm sort of on an island down here in Louisville. No crit groups, no writing groups. ANY writing experience/instruction at that point would have bowled me over, probably. It had been five years since I'd discussed writing with anyone.

Calla Lily
02-27-2007, 07:51 AM
:Hail: I bow before the glorious gift of the gods that is AW.

I clicked the links and read much of the blog. Ouch.

Y'all saved me from the clutches of PA the first time I logged onto here. I think I need to save my money and NOT visit NYC in April. P&S might be good for some, but I'm getting responses from my queries and proposals now.

Wow. Off to bed and nightmares of drowning in slush piles while being lectured by TPB and Miss Snark.

swvaughn
02-27-2007, 08:02 AM
Silly, no. I just made that up as an example, and then posted it, and I thought "oh. Hey. That could be fun."

And then it turned into scenes in my head, and I guess I'll write it as a short story later tonight.

But if I pitch it to an editor, I would still like it to be over dinner.

Woot! Bring on the transsexual hypochondriac zombies! :D

I didn't know the Pitch Bitch was associated with this. Erk. Think I'll be getting a refund and spending my money on printing queries instead...

*sigh* One of these days...

Calla Lily
02-27-2007, 08:07 AM
I've pitched to editors over a tiny little card table and over lunch. I prefer not involving food. I'm such a wreck that I get wicked indigestion--and I have a cast-iron stomach. But I was an actress for years before I had kids (augh, I miss it!) and I can still hide the nerves and bat my baby blues like the whole pitch thing is a walk in the park.

(And can I put any more cliches in this post?!)

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 08:08 AM
I think it's to a writer's great advantage to be poor and married, because when things like this (or AuthorHouse, or whatever) occur to you and seem like a good idea in a moment of madness...it doesn't matter. You can't afford it anyway, and if you forget that, your wife will remind you.

:)

Will Lavender
02-27-2007, 08:37 AM
I've pitched to editors over a tiny little card table and over lunch. I prefer not involving food. I'm such a wreck that I get wicked indigestion--and I have a cast-iron stomach. But I was an actress for years before I had kids (augh, I miss it!) and I can still hide the nerves and bat my baby blues like the whole pitch thing is a walk in the park.

(And can I put any more cliches in this post?!)

Sounds like you gave 110% in those pitches. ;)

Will Lavender
02-27-2007, 08:39 AM
I think it's to a writer's great advantage to be poor and married, because when things like this (or AuthorHouse, or whatever) occur to you and seem like a good idea in a moment of madness...it doesn't matter. You can't afford it anyway, and if you forget that, your wife will remind you.

:)

My parents paid for my pitch trip.

Seriously.

Note: I'm a 30-year-old grownaceman, as Cedric the Entertainer would say.

PeeDee
02-27-2007, 09:06 AM
Well, if it does something useful for you, then good.

payitforward
12-04-2007, 03:07 AM
Hi All:

I've been accepted to the NYC pitch and shop conference in '08. I know my query is already pretty dang good, since I've gotten some top-notch responses to it. My manuscript is sitting with 3 agents right now.

So, my questions for you all--is the conference worth my time and money? I want to do everything I need to get published. It's such a subjective business though, and I'm worried that if the agents don't take me on that I'll just be in the same boat as before.

Should I go with the goal of making contacts and networking? Or, can someone else tell me what they did or didn't get out of the conference? Were you with writers whose craft your admired?

Many Thanks!

Will Lavender
12-04-2007, 03:42 AM
There's a lot of differing opinion on the conference (some of it is indexed over in the Bewares board). Some believe the conference really doesn't polish any necessary skill (to wit: When is the writer ever going to be pitching anything to an editor across a table?). Others believe that it's worth the investment in that it gets you close to a major editor, and when is something like that ever going to happen?

It was worthtwhile, for me. I would do again in a heartbeat, and I know my editor at Crown was one of the editors there last fall. (I point that out to show that there are respected people running and helping with this conference.)

The first thing I noticed was how talented everyone in my small group was. Three of us went on to sell books to major houses, and there were quite a few other pitches that were extremely exciting. Also, you get to not only pitch to editors, but you also get a chance to hear them talk about publishing. Again, for me that was interesting.

Here's the thing, though:

Keep querying. Chances are, your manuscript is not going to make it through the gauntlet of the publishing world based on this conference. (AW's Susan Breen's book actually made it through, but I would say her experience is so fantastically rare that the odds are lottery-like.) Use the comments the editors give you to polish your query, and see the conference not as an easy way into publishing but as a learning experience. (Sounds like you're already doing that.)

If you see the conference as a quick way to the top, it'll disappoint you.

Will Lavender
12-04-2007, 04:00 AM
I said in the other thread that I think pitch conferences are good instruction.

I still believe that (even though a lot of respectable people have called them a waste of time).

But a caveat:

You have to see them for what they are, as I said above. It's unlikely that in a conference like the NYC you're going to find a home for your book. Possible, but unlikely.

But let me stress that you have to ackowledge that this conference, like every other conference known to man, is about learning. Instruction. And what's being instructed is not, contrary to popular believe, the ability to orally pitch your idea. (At least I don't think so.) The instruction is about weeding out the clutter of the query, locating themes in the book, and your ability to discuss marketable and saleable points in the novel. All of those things are essential to getting a book published, I believe.

When asked what we should be doing as writers to get ourselves published, an editor at the NYC Pitch-and-Shop said, simply, "Query agents."

Exactly. Know when you go to this conference that you've got a lot of work ahead of you, but if you pay attention to what you hear in New York you'll get a lot of valuable information that will make that work less demanding.

gerrydodge
12-04-2007, 04:56 AM
I got accepted last fall, but I never went. I thougt I was on the verge of getting an agent and so I thought it would be superfluous. Plus I'm a teacher and I just thought of all those conferences I've gone to where everyone sits around, their hands wrapped around coffee mugs deliciously happy to talk and have people listen. I'm sure it's not that way, there are major editors there, but ultimately I just couldn't make myself go to a place with a bunch of strangers and try and sell my writing. I think I'm just too thin skinned for that kind of exercize. If I remember though, I think we were to hole up in the Algonquin. I've never gone and Faulkner used to stay there. Now that was very tempting. Good luck whatever you decide.

Susan Breen
12-04-2007, 05:03 AM
I agree with everything Will says, including the part about the lottery-like odds of what happened with me, happening. I was in the right place at the right time with the right book (after many many years of being in the wrong place with the right book and so on). I do think, however, that luck is about putting yourself in those places. Also, you'll want to see what' happens with those agents who are reading your book. You may not need to do anything at all but sign a contract.

Tina
12-19-2007, 11:25 PM
Well, if it does something useful for you, then good.

I just returned from NY Pitch and Shop.

It was excellent.

There was a wealth of knowledge from both our workshop leader (Rachel - she was fantastic) and the editors I got to speak to.

The workshop identified a key area of my query that was lacking. The work I need to do on the query is very specific, and despite being pretty well-informed about the writing world, I would not have figured it out without the hands-on help.

I did not go expecting to land a big book contract on the spot (which is impossible because editors don't read your books ahead of time and Algonkian makes this abundantly clear). I went because I wanted to learn from those who are at the centre of English-language publishing - NYC.

Algonkian Pitch and Shop is VERY upfront about the challenges of publishing fiction today. They did not make a single promise they couldn't keep.

For those wondering (and I know you are) whether anyone is going to be reading part of my manuscript, the answer is yes. I managed to crack the 30% odds (which Algonkian always made clear) of getting an editor to review part of your work after the conference. This is in large part to the work on the query/pitch that we did.

No, they cannot make a bad writer good. They obviously pre-screened participants very carefully because I was among people with high credentials in the world of fiction, non-fiction, journalism and academia. Virtually everyone had already published something and some had big-name agents.

For those who want to argue with me and haven't been to Pitch and Shop, save your fingers the exercise.

Calla Lily
12-19-2007, 11:55 PM
Very glad it worked for you! Fingers crossed that you get an agent from it!