April 11-13, 2014
Ripley-Grier Studios (NY Spaces)
520 Eighth Ave (36th/37th), 16th Fl
$425 for 3-day Fiction Pitch Conference,
including Agents Panel
FICTION PITCH CONFERENCE
Day 1 – Friday
9:30 am – 4:00 pm Participants workshop their pitches with a workshop leader from New York Writers Workshop. After people sign in, there are short introductory remarks, and you’re assigned to a group (usually between 10 and 15 people) and a group leader. From 10:00 till around 4:00, with a break for lunch, you and the other members of your group work on your pitches. Each participant reads his/her draft. The NYWW instructor provides guidance in revision for clarity, concision, and impact. In true workshop fashion, you’ll be able to learn from the leader’s and other participants’ feedback on your pitch as well as everyone else’s.
Day 2 – Saturday
10:00 am – 12:00 pm Literary Agents Panel: Literary agents discuss the current market for fiction: commercial, genre and literary. Is it possible, in this economic climate, to sell fiction? What are the current trends? How to query an agent? What do agents look for? What are the publishers looking for? How to market oneself? Q&A session follows the panel discussion.
1:30 pm – 5:00 pm Participants make two pitches to editors. The first pitch is “public,” meaning participants pitch to an editor in the presence of their group. A short Q&A session with the editor follows. The second pitch is private, one-on-one with an editor, with an NYWW instructor present. You’ll have some free time while others are doing their one-on-one pitches. (Ripley-Grier is a fun place to hang out, as many theater groups and dance companies rehearse there.)
Day 3 – Sunday
10:00 am – 12:30 pm Each participant makes one private pitch to an editor, again with an NYWW instructor present. The day wraps with a group conference with an NYWW instructor.
Your Homework Assignment
Before arriving at the conference, your “homework assignment” is to prepare a draft of your pitch. It should include a succinct summary of the major plot line and describe what makes your book distinctive. Be aware of other comparable books—even if you don’t include this information in the initial draft of your pitch, your group leader might suggest you add it or an editor might ask you about this. If your background is relevant to the story, include that. Remember that the purpose of the pitch is to persuade the editors that this is a book they should publish.
The pitches will be made orally, so you might want to practice saying yours out loud. You’ll be able to read your pitch from your computer or a piece of paper when you meet the editors, so you don’t have to worry about memorizing. We suggest aiming for two minutes at the most; the pitches usually end up taking one to two minutes by the end of Friday’s workshop. There’s no need to send us your pitch in advance—just have it with you when you arrive. If your book is aimed at the adult market, there’s no need to bring any parts of the book that are already written.
When You Arrive
We’ll be meeting at Ripley-Grier Studios, on the 16th floor of 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37thStreets.
Dress is casual—whatever you’re comfortable wearing.
Many people bring their laptops and use them to revise their pitches during the conference. There’s free wi-fi at Ripley-Grier, and there’s a Staples nearby (and sometimes a working printer at Ripley-Grier) if you want to print out your revisions.
There’s a snack bar right on the 16th floor at Ripley-Grier and also one in the building lobby where you can purchase snacks, sandwiches, and drinks. There is nothing scheduled after 4:00 on Friday, but many people use some of the time to revise their pitches for Saturday’s presentations.
Workshop leaders, editors, and members of the Agents Panel will be announced closer to the date of the conference.
How to Apply
If you’d like to attend a conference, send an email following these five steps:
- Subject: Fiction Conference
- A brief description of the project (up to 100 words)
- What you do for a living
- Contact information (mail address, phone)
- Send the email to Charles Salzberg firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll get back to you within ten days to let you know if your application has been accepted and, if so, where you should send your check.
Note: Please do NOT contact the JCC–while they handle registration for our writing classes, they are not involved with the conferences.