Sunday, July 23, 2006

Q & A 77 Pitch Fest

Have you heard of the Algonkian and New York writer's workshop NYC pitch and shop conference? As an editor, what do you think of it and is it worth the money for a newbie writer? Since I am not in NYC (although originally from there), cost of registration ($595), transportation and hotel would take me over a grand not even factoring food and play money. I know the writer's workshop for Algonquin is a good one, I just don't know if the pitch fest is worth the investment. Words of wisdom from the master, please?

Let's see, $600 to attend, 60 attendees . . . It's definitely worth the investment . . . to someone.

If your book is superb, a face-to-face meeting with an editor who's interested has to be better than a snail mail submission. But if your book is mediocre, no editor is going to buy it just because you forked over $600 to talk to them for a half hour. You'll be paying $600 for four rejection slips you could have gotten for the price of a few stamps.

The list of pitchees (catchers?) is not unimpressive. Are there any stats on how many of the pitched books get published by the pitchees? Or is this the first year of the event?

Have you run your query letter past the Evil Minions to get their reaction to your book? Since you describe yourself as a newbie, I'm leaning toward suggesting you get some free input from us and/or a critique group this year. If the event is a success it'll be back next year, and you can pitch an improved book. And you can save a hundred dollars by beating the early registration deadline.


Anonymous said...

Thanks EE!

I'm about 3 months away from even being ready to try and write an effective query letter (still trying to complete my novel for now), which I absolutely would love to submit for slaughterfest - I meant critiquing! ;o) This contest came up in my writer's group as something we wanted to fing out more about for next year. Given your reaction to it, I think that this might be a good investment - but only when I'm ready.

Thanks again oh masterful one!

Obsequiously yours,


Anonymous said...

I attended one of the NYC Pitch and Shop conferences and I have to say that a point is being missed here. It's not just about pitching an editor.

Writers like myself attended to learn about the novel market by talking to pros, but also, to improve the quality of the manuscript. The pitch workshop editors actually went out of their way to help willing writers hone their plot, characters, and other elements by using the pitch synopsis as a means of discovering what was happening in the novel.

I found the approach effective. A few of the writers in the group made changes to their story in midstream and repitched to editors who then wanted to see the whole ms.

I wasn't one of those, but I have my fingers X'd.



Anonymous said...

I attended this workshop and thought it was probably the biggest waste of money I've ever spent. You have less than 5 minutes with editors who are not interested in anyone's book. The editors seem to have to the idea that they are there to help you shape your pitch. They don't go anywhere near the actual ms. No one does! So it isn't like someone actually can judge your writing. There are many conferences you can go to that offer great workshops and the opportunity to have an editor that specializes in your genre to at least read the first ten pages of your ms and then sit and talk with you about it for at least 10-15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" is posting all over the net in a vendetta frenzy. Why doesn't she tell us who she is? She never attended a pitch conference because her info is always wrong. This conference is as close as you'll ever get to the publishing industry and the editors are authentically searching for new voices, but the market is brutal and extremely selective. Everything has to be clicking.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add ... The point of the pitch conference is to pitch, not read the prose. If the pitch and discussion of the ms prove to demonstrate commercial potential to the editor, they will ask to see it the ms, then they will read the prose.

Prose quality doesn't matter if the premise and substance of the novel isn't there. They are not looking for rewrites of Ulysses.