Agents and Writers Talk About Our Events - Reviews and Commentary
Algonkian offered me the opportunity to be part of a real writers group where my ideas and evolving characters were first introduced to other writer and potential readers. That critique allowed me to tweak my characters and storyline to perfection. Algonkian's approach in fine tuning my pitch helped me to tighten my manuscript as well. As a result, my manuscript sold to the very first publisher who saw it!
- Roberta Gately, author of Lipstick in Afghanistan
I attended your Algonkian Writer's Conference at San Francisco's Fort Mason back in May of 2010. I thought you'd be happy to know that after a year of sending off query letters and partial and full manuscripts, I finally found representation with Sam Stoloff of the Frances Goldin Literary Agency in New York. I'm very happy. Sam is great! We submit my YA manuscript to publishers this September. Thanks so much for all the information I learned from your conference! It was very helpful and worthwhile. How have you been and how are your conferences going? Any other success stories?
- Writer Michael Hagan
I've yet to leave without requesting manuscript pages from participants. What's more, the manuscripts deliver. I recently signed and sold Gina Damico's YA fantasy in a two book deal to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt after hearing her project pitched at the conference. Serving on the Algonkian faculty has also been tremendously gratifying. Not only does the conference attract a wide variety of writers working in many different genres, it also has a great vibe--supportive, friendly, fun. I highly recommend it.
- Tina Wexler, agent at ICM
This conference helped me TREMENDOUSLY. I changed the title of my manuscript after it was clear that our group didn't really care for it, and the title change helped me realize some of the book's themes; I was asked to submit my manuscript to an editor at Penguin (something I put on my query letters); and I tightened my query to the point where I was 90% successful in terms of agents asking for partials or fulls. I also met some good people and some good writers there. According to their website, three of the writers in the group I was in have made deals. I'm with Shaye Areheart; another writer is with Plume; another is with Knopf.
- Will Lavender, author of Obedience
I know I already sent a quick note thanking you for the opportunity to attend the Algonkian conference in March, but I just have to again. This morning, Paula Munier offered to take me on as a client. We had a great talk and the contract is in the mail. I'm looking forward to signing it and getting it back to her so we can start on revisions. Granted, my current manuscript is much better than my prior manuscripts. Still, NONE of the exciting things happening to me now would be happening if I hadn't attended your conference. The importance of meeting face-to-face with editors (and in this case, an agent) can not be overstated. The feedback throughout the weekend on how to improve my pitch--and consequently, my story--was priceless. I wallowed in hundreds of slush piles for twelve years, and then I went to the Shop and Pitch Conference, and my life changed.
- Joe Siple, Dedicated Writer
Algonkian Workshops take one's work to the next level. With an intimate, supportive, focused atmosphere and rigorous schedule, writers can set realistic goals and get projects to the place they need to be to take them to a wider market. As an agent, I appreciate that Algonkian writers have an established sense of what works and what doesn't. Their projects are often a cut above the rest.
- Elise Capron, agent at Sandra Dijkstra Agency
I got two invaluable things out of the recent Algonkian Writers Conference in San Francisco. One was the repeated admonition to utilize all the tools of the craft. Even those of us who've written for a living forever can always use this reminder. A carpenter wouldn't attempt to frame a house without tools and neither should a writer ever sit down without his or her full arsenal at hand. Michael Neff is relentless in this regard and his course workbook is a terrific repository of techniques, devices, tricks and clear advice. Secondly, The Algonkian Writers Conference is a no-nonsense primer on all that need be done to prepare a manuscript for presentation. It consistently underscores the fact that publishing is a hard-hearted racket driven solely by the profit motive. Agents are deluged with thousands of MS yearly and only a few are ever advanced to a publisher. Hence, a pitch, a log line and a synopsis must be absolutely sensational to garner even the slightest attention. In that regard, this is not a feel-good seminar. Some hearts were broken and some treasured ideas were trashed by the agents who attended. But from the first hour of the first day Michael emphasized the cold facts and discouraging numbers of the trade, urging us to beat the odds by avoiding the errors and pitfalls of the amateurs. Now, there is some unavoidable tedium associated with such a gathering, when people are working on projects that seem silly or meaningless to you, but I found it helpful to pay attention to everyone's presentation in order to hone mine to a better polish. In doing so I discovered that the focus of my project needed to be compressed and a new angle of attack implemented. Honestly, I'm returning to work energized by the five days spent with Michael Neff and the aspiring writers I befriended.
- Burr Snider, Dedicated Writer
Thank you for all your great insights and frankness. I don't think I've ever been as excited about my novel project as I am now. I'm taking the month of April to do all my additional research and I've already cleared my summer schedule to write the damn thing! This conference was a great experience for me and I feel I have a much better understanding of the world of publishing as well. If you ever need a quote or recommendation for the program or Algonkian website, please let me know because I'd be more than happy to offer one.
- Tracy Causley, Dedicated Writer
All writers - especially beginning writers - need a well-meaning mentor and editor to praise what they're doing right, point a finger at what they're doing wrong, provide them with the tools they need to fix the problems, and open their eyes to the art, craft, and business of writing. This is what I had done for countless nonfiction writers over the years in my job as a magazine editor. It's what I needed when I decided to start writing fiction. And it's why, after shopping around for a suitable fiction-writing workshop, I chose Algonkian.
- Diane Tonnessen, editor and writer
It's true that you don't have to live in NYC to make an impact in the publishing world, if you get the right advice and learn how to network. Algonkian gave me that (and more!).
- Ann Wertz Garvin, author of On Maggie's Watch
I recently attended the Algonkian Writers Conference in San Francisco and found the experience to be invaluable. Michael Neff led the conference with ethics and integrity. He clearly explained the tools needed to successfully write and publish including reviewing tension, plot outline, character development, dialogue, and perfecting a pitch and synopsis. Michael carefully and relentlessly worked with each writer to assist them in polishing their pitch for agents and troubleshooting the novel in general. This was exactly where I needed to be. Some of the feedback was, indeed, sobering, but I wasn't promised the conference would be a string of feelgood sessions. The work we accomplished was real and the feedback was real. My thanks goes to Michael for his patience and attention to detail in designing a writer's conference that was truly meaningful.
- Sally Henry, Dedicated Writer
Most effective for me was learning how to write (and rewrite) the pitch based on feedback from those in my group, and the editors. In the process, I really dug into the book - what it was about, what I was trying to say, what the strengths and weaknesses were - discovering elements of it that I hadn't noticed before.
- Writer and editor Chris Stewart