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New York Writers Workshop

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epullins

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I am just curious if anyone has ever attended a writer's conference held by a company called New York Writer's Workshop? I am interested in attending a conference held by them where you are supposedly allowed to pitch your manuscript in front of three editors from major publishing houses. I wanted to make sure that this was legitimate because I'd hate to attend this and it was just a hoax to get your money. My daughter wants to become an actor and we attended a conference for actors and models from a company called proscout and it was a hoax. So if someone could let me know what I am getting myself into I would appreciate it.Thanks
 

alleycat

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I don't know anything about their conferences, but I have a book on writing from them:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1582973504/?tag=absowrit-20

I can't really even give you much of a review of the book since I never read much of it (that's not a criticism of the book itself).

You will probably get an answer here; if not, do a Google search (use the full and correct name) and see if there is anything positive or negative posted about the workshops.

You have done one thing right. You have bothered to check before signing up for anything. There are any number of scams and semi-scams that target writers. Always check first.
 

Old Hack

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epullins, save your money. You can invest it in wiser things than this conference.
 

akaria

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Yowza! Seems awfully expensive for what you're getting. I mean you can workshop your pitch for free with a critique group or in QLH. Is it worth $425 to stand in front of an agent along with 100 other people and possibly flub your pitch because you're nervous? I dunno. I've never done a pitch face to face.

Who are the agents you'll be pitching to anyway? Like if you're a horror writer but none of the agents rep horror it'd be nice to know that before applying. The conference is in April. Shouldn't they have a list of participating agents by now? I've never gone to a conference but I do know that Backspace has a list of some of the agents participating on their website right now. Their conference is May 23-25.

All that to say I agree with Old Hack. Save your money.
 

Medievalist

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If I were going to attend a NY conference, I'd go to Backspace. It's run by people you've heard of, featuring agents and editors and writers of books you can find in just about any bookstore and library. So are most of the RWA conferences, and SCWBI conferences. Even a genre convention is likely to be more practical than a Neff production.

I'd avoid anything to do with Michael Neff who makes his money talking to naive writers about publishing, rather than actually doing it. This conference looks a lot like one of his, run by these people.
 
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LindaJeanne

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Off-topic, but: @alleycat, does it show my age that the cat in your avatar looks to me as though he's break-dancing? :)
 

epullins

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yes old hack I think we talked about this in a different forum. I think I am going to save my money... aside from the cost that is a quite the distance away from where I live. When (like Akaria said) I can just stick with QLH which apparently has proven effective because someone I remember reading her query and critiquing it has now received offers. Problem solved No Conference. Glad I joined here guys thanks.
 

akaria

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Welcome to AW! Glad to have helped you make a decision epullins.

I took a look at the site (before seeing Medievlist's link) and it would cost a grand total of $2.25 plus twenty minutes on the subway to attend this thing and I still thought of better things to do with my money.

I can't imagine someone coming from out of town attending this and having to deal with NYC hotels rates. You wanna blow a weekend in New York working on your pitch? Come to Brooklyn. I got a sweet little spot in Sunset Park where we can workshop our hearts out over dim sum. I guarantee you it'll be less than $425.
 
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epullins

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Thanks Akaria glad to be here and like you said the cost of the conference and yes I'm coming from Louisiana so I'm quite the distance away, hotels, either gas or airfare (I don't know which is the lesser of two evils) and food. Ill pass. Just like Old Hack said it will go right into the slush pile anyways.
 

Medievalist

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You know there have been several highly reputable genre conferences in New Orleans. I'd write and revise and read and revise and write some more, and watch for one of those.

And by then, you'll know a lot of writers in your genre and can hang out and talk writing, and find crit partners . . . . and you can do that here too.
 

francisbruno

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I laughed a bit looking at the website. This is the Algonkian model. Essentially, the same one I advocated 2 years ago first joining AW and have since learned the error of my ways. It's also timely as I recently met someone who attended a NYC Pitch & Shop a few years prior to me. More on that a little later. This one looks like it might have a little more in the form of panels, but even the venue (Ripley Greer Studios) is the same.

1) You will likely get in if you have a pulse and can write a check.
2) Likely no one will ever ready your pitch that you submit prior to attending, or if they do, they will only bin you with similar genre writers.
3) You will likely be working your pitch with people who have no idea what they are doing either. Some will write and write well, others were able to write a check.

The good:
You can get some feedback from industry pros on your idea.
You will make friends.
*That's it*
*Both of which you can do on the message boards here for free or at a conference like Viable Paradise, Uncle Orson's or dozens more and actually learn stuff too*

The Bad:
You will likely re-write your idea based upon questionable suggestions. Now this is the part that bothers me. You wrote a novel, you are pitching an agent or editor, but you are changing your pitch which now means you are pitching something you don't have to send them if they ask for it.

From personal experience, it is not really worth it. As others have mentioned there are much better conferences.

I recently ran into someone who went to a NYC Pitch and Shop a few years before me. At first he told me how great it was until we started talking and the cognitive dissonance broke down. He went to the Pitch Conference thinking that this was how you sold a book. He has spent three years perfecting his pitch and perfecting his query because he thought that is what you had to do. I asked why he didn't just write a second book and try to sell that. He wasted three years (his words, not mine).

I then realized the real danger of a conference like this, which is some people think this is how the industry works. Don't fall into that trap.
 

rac

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Everyone has given good advice here!

There are some aspects of the "conference business," however, that haven't been mentioned. Some agents--one in particular that I'm thinking of who has a book he pushes on how to write a bestseller--attend weekend conferences as often as every month or two. The conferences are nice income producers, particularly now when it has become more difficult for agents to sell to traditional publishers. Naive first-time writers are ripe for the plucking.

Also, don't buy into the assumption that big-name writers are good teachers. Not so. Some of them are dreadful teachers, although their work shines. The novel, The Writers' Conference, takes a close look at aspiring writers' expectations and the reality they find when they attend a conference.
 

epullins

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Medievalist, Hmm Ill have to look for one locally on New Orleans, and yes I think I have come to the conclusion that I will be passing the conference up because I am definitely not looking to be purchasing book by some "self help" author and true enough I can seek CC here at AW thanks
 

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Well, despite everything I've read here, I have just pushed the pay button for the San Francisco Write to Market in three weeks. Why? First, I'll go over all the why-not's you've posted. Wow, Neff is a tremendous ego and sort of a one-man-show. He can't get his own book published. You have to go to page 8 of the google search to find anything about Algonkian that's not a sock-puppet for him. You can get more info free on the internet, and there's no querying advantage from the conference.

Now, before I nay-say those concerns, let me tell you why I'm going. Sterling Lord Literistic has had my full MS for 6 months and not responded. I met their agent, Robert Guinsler at a very expensive conference (cause it was in Boston and I live in California) and when he asked for the full, I was ecstatic. But now I need to get out of my psychological slump and serious about querying. I am way beyond being a push-over for criticism, I just need to be inspired to start doing it. I have a free place to stay and the 3-day conference cost is $395. So why not.

So, about the criticisms leveled on this board, of course I will know more after the conference. But I think you're being unfair to Mr. Neff personally. I frankly don't know many editors or agents who have written a book, yet they judge books all the time - some are even good at it. (I have sat down with agents in high-powered agencies that were wet behind the ears and only look for a certain "brand".) I started to read Neff's book, and I'm liking it very much. I imagine it's too much of a political screed to get published by anyone but him, and I admire him for putting it out there. As for ego and over-pushing in the market, well yeah. But he's succeeding at doing what he apparently loves, and he's probably managed to help/inspire a few people along the way. If his classes aren't worth anything, most books aren't either. That doesn't mean that those who do believe in them shouldn't offer them. Does he accept anyone with a paycheck? Most conferences do, and he at least seems to require/request that you have a completed manuscript. Anyone who completes a book is a class act anyway, IMHO.
 

francisbruno

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Does he accept anyone with a paycheck? Most conferences do, and he at least seems to require/request that you have a completed manuscript. Anyone who completes a book is a class act anyway, IMHO.

From someone who has been to a variety of conferences, including two of the Algonkian conferences, let me wish you a good time. You'll make friends and it will be enjoyable.

I do take issue with the last statement. There are many conferences that will take anyone, some are even worthwhile:
Uncle Orson's (non bootcamp). You'll hear someone who is a master at character & viewpoint.
Superstars writing seminars: More on the business of writing. They will accept anyone, but it's all business side, not craft.
There are probably others.

But there are many that will not take applicants who can simply sign their name to a check:

Viable Paradise (2013 class is wrapping up as I write this).
Uncle Orson's Literary Bootcamp.
Dave Farland puts on a bunch of classes (some you apply, some he'll take novices)

The difference is that the ones that you apply to, in general, are taught by people who are experts in writing, have published dozens of books and are paying forward.

Again, I hope you enjoy the conference. I hope you have a good time and get something out of it.
 

chickenma

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Thanks. I'm going with eyes wide open and bank account balanced. Sitting around on AW doesn't get me writing queries - I hope the conference will. At least I have to get out of my chair and get there - that's a start. I expect to regale you all with horror stories on my return.
 

HapiSofi

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I laughed a bit looking at the website. This is the Algonkian model. Essentially, the same one I advocated 2 years ago first joining AW and have since learned the error of my ways. It's also timely as I recently met someone who attended a NYC Pitch & Shop a few years prior to me. More on that a little later. This one looks like it might have a little more in the form of panels, but even the venue (Ripley Greer Studios) is the same.
He shoots, he scores. (Hi, Francis!)

New York Writers Workshop has a great many ties -- some might say an unseemly number of ties -- to Algonkian, the pitch conferences, and the rest of Michael Neff's empire.
 
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LindaJeanne

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Thanks. I'm going with eyes wide open and bank account balanced. Sitting around on AW doesn't get me writing queries - I hope the conference will. At least I have to get out of my chair and get there - that's a start. I expect to regale you all with horror stories on my return.
So how did it go? What are your thoughts on the conference now that you've attended in person?
 

cllcl

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Hey all!
I thought I'd 2017-up this thread.
Nothing new to report accept for that the prices of this conference has increased yet again, and that some personal recent interactions with the staff indicate they aren't the nicest people in the world.

[EDIT: redacted specifics]

I'm on a pretty decent path since turning away from attending, but do wish the best outcome on those who attend. :)
 
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popmuze

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I went to one of these a few years ago and it was very exciting. One agent responded to my query and two out of three editors asked to see the book. However, the agent switched agencies right after I sent the query and no longer wanted to see it at his new place. One of the editors never got back to me at all and the other finally gave me a form rejection after I pestered her at the six month mark. Now I wonder if the whole thing was on the level. When the editor requests your manuscript, you feel great. But that doesn't mean they ever intend to read it. Perhaps the conference requires the editor to request a certain amount of pitches, otherwise word would get out and people would stop signing up.
 

BrianY

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I too went a few years ago. One agent loved my proposal, took me on, and never sold it. Another offered ghostwriting work but never returned emails afterwards. Was it a waste of time and money? Pretty much. Was it fun? Yes, really. I enjoyed every minute of it and learned quite a bit too. It just wasn't the best way to move my career along.

Oh well ...
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away