Thursday, March 19, 2015

The New York Pitch Conference begins today

I’m in Manhattan to attend the New York Pitch Conference from early this morning through Sunday. My posts during this time will be about the Conference and what I learn there.

The Conference is limited to 65 participants who each have a completed manuscript in one of these genres: upmarket and literary fiction, general fiction, serious and light women’s fiction, historical fiction, military fiction, mystery/thriller and detective, historical romance, paranormal romance, all forms of adult fantasy/SF, young adult and middle grade fantasy/SF, memoir and narrative nonfiction.

Twenty-four acquisition editors are attending. They are from such publishing houses as Akashic Books, Berkeley/Penguin, Berkeley
Publishing Group; North American Library/Penguin and Penguin Group USA (Hachette Book Group), Sourcebooks, Inc., Del Rey Books (Random House Publishing Group), Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan), Tor/Forge Books (Macmillan), Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books), Kensington Publishing, William Morrow/Avon (HarperCollins Publishers), and Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster).

This morning we will be divided into workshop groups with individual leaders, all of whom are editors, agents or published authors. In these workshops, we will work to improve our projects as needed and to hone our “pitch” – that brief presentation about the manuscript, designed to pique the editor’s interest in acquiring it.

Each writer will get to meet with and deliver the polished pitch to four editors – all of whom are looking for projects in that writer’s genre.

Here’s the schedule: today – from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. “or as long as it takes,” will be devoted to reviewing and honing our pitches. In our assigned workshop, there will also be a “deconstruction and analysis” of each writer’s manuscript. The analysis will address the major fictional elements of plot, character, complication and resolution and there will be a discussion of changes which need to be made to make the project more “salable”.

On Friday morning, we will pitch to our first editor. In the afternoon, we will return to our workshops to recap and improve our pitches as necessary.

On Saturday morning, we will pitch our second editor and, in the afternoon, our third editor. On Sunday morning, we will pitch their fourth editor and, that afternoon, meet with workshop leaders for a final recap and strategy session. At the final session, workshop leaders will provide each writer with a plan for publication – “custom strategies and goals appropriate to guiding the novel toward publication.”

It all sounds both exhausting and exhilarating!

When I wrote to thank Michael Neff, the Director of the Conference, for accepting my application, I said I was sure I would learn a lot. He replied, “You WILL learn a lot.” I’ve tried to think of that as a promise and not a threat.  He does look a little stern, doesn’t he?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, and best of luck! I just know you'll come home with a contract or something very close! xoxoxo