They Won't Stop Talking!

Reviews, Commentary, and Book Contracts
Relevant to the Write to Pitch Conference 2024
Acquired From Emails, Web Commentary, and Interviews.


"It's hard to fathom that over a decade has passed since Rosemary DiBattista (Rosie Genova) and I attended the New York conference. There we were, two aspiring writer-hopefuls, and yet frozen in terror by how completely out of our element we were. One look at each other, and we realized we were both in the same aimless boat, sailing across perilous waters. Rosemary was my lifeline that week, and the bond was as immediate as it was lasting. It has been a long, sometimes thorny journey. But we made it to the other side, both of us having now published three books... So thank you for giving us the opportunity and the jump-start that we needed to launch."
- Loretta Marion
"My debut novel TELL ME LIES was published by Simon & Schuster (Atria Books). The NY Pitch really helped me refine the selling details of my pitch, market position the story with the right genre and comps while also giving me needed query leverage (I had some MS requests from editors/agents I met at the conference) when querying agents at several top agencies, incluing Janklow & Nesbit, who later provided me with great representation. "
- Carola Lovering
"I received a contract from Harper Collins in 2021 as a result of an agent I met at the NY Pitch Greatest Show on Earth circus. I say "circus" not in a derogatory way, but as a good metaphor to utilize when describing the creative and delightful social chaos of the event itself.

The studios are the equivalent of circus rings, each with their own culture, ringmasters, and applause. The hallways brim with entertainment art like a maze between the tents, echoing with the sounds of audition. Mouths are open, eyes are big, tears and laughter are real, and I'm going again, even if just to watch. And on top of everything else, I learned more about good fiction writing than in three years of groping for an MFA."
- Marion Clark
"I just wanted to share my amazing news with you. I attended your workshop and earlier this month, sold my YA novel and a sequel to Delacorte/Random House. I just wanted to say thank you for the great advice and tough critique you and the editors shared with me... I'm incredibly grateful. "
- Kelly Coon
"I know three people who've attended [the pitch conference]. I went to one of the after parties with one of those people. It's definitely worth doing. One of those people got a six-figure book deal out of it, the other two got very serious offers. Prepare yourself to have to rewrite the book, though. The people there will tell you what edits you'll need to make in order to sell the book to them."
- Eleanor Konik
"There are many such conferences, but this one is the most prestigious and to be accepted is a great honor that scared the hell out of me... Work began at home with pre-conference assignments: among many requests, we identified the protagonist and the antagonist, the precipitating event, different levels of conflict and described the location where the story occurred. I pitched my book about my one thousand mile walk on El Camino de Santiago across southern France and northern Spain. I was the protagonist... It was a Jobian time of my life."
- Jeff Kendall
"The insights and learnings from the Algonkian NYC Pitch conference that I attended were instrumental in helping me find a top literary agent (Red Ink) and resulted in the publication of the very book that I arrived at the conference with. This book, now titled VICTIMS FOR SALE, was published and released worldwide by HarperCollins in 2018 and has recently been long-listed for the Bombay Film Festival awards."
- Nish Amarnath
"Hi Susan. I thought I'd check in and let you know the latest. I have signed with agent Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. She was actually one of the first agents I queried last year after the conference but things didn't come to fruition until just the last month... For numerous reasons and numerous times, I have appreciated attending the Pitch conferencer. I continue to be thankful to have attended the conference and for you as our instructor.
- Rebecca Fujikawa

"This is my honest review. I was in Susan Breen's women's fiction and upmarket group a year ago... I'm not sure if anyone else reading this has been to other writer conferences, especially the big ones, but it's impossible given long pitch lines, scheduling, and extra cost involved to pitch every single person that's listed on the website, and you wouldn't anyway since they're not all asking for your genre. At most, you get to talk to five or six, and perhaps rub elbows at the bar if you're lucky. I tried that actually at a Writer's Digest conference and the agent basically told me to F off. I have also been to "speed pitching" sessions where I pitched more than five agents and all less than 25 years old, but the darn thing was hurried and the agents were grumpy after hours of getting pitched. Two of them weren't even really listening. In the end, it seemed like a huge waste of time.

I concur with the review on the subject of feedback that made lots of productive editorial changes possible. One of the editors I pitched became an agent and I'm still working on a rewrite with her. Another person in our group is working on a TV proposal with a producer in Hollywood. Netflix and Amazon Prime have asked to see it. And another is being published by an imprint of Random come 2021--I forget which one."
- Frija Benteen
"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"
"In the group, there were a number of neat writers with good work under their belts, no one ups-man-ship, no snarkies, just plain good and very intelligent people with a common purpose. I had never talked to an agent or publisher before. But they exhibit all the attributes that qualify them as direct, caring, and compassionate, although they are to the point because they have a lot of people to work with within a very short time. But we learned the ropes!"
- Jerry Mollenhauer
"I attended The New York Pitch Conference via Zoom. The conference exceeded my expectations. The conference leader and associate went above and beyond in their creative generosity, willingness to be available at ungodly early hours to help with reworking the novel and sharing professional insights as to what worked and didn't work in the pitch.

For my specific genre, I had the opportunity to pitch six times, each time learning how my pitch was or wasn't of interest to the agent. I came away from the conference with a better understanding of the publishing world, a sharper picture of what will potentially make a novel commercial, and a submission request. If you are interested in selling your manuscript, I highly recommend attending the New York Pitch Conference."
- Maureen Meegan
"Dear Michael and All,

Thank you for a great conference. I feel empowered to go forth, rewrite and query. I know this was extremely difficult to put together virtually, and that there were many issues as we went along, with people getting lost in the ether. I was impressed with how these were handled calmly and efficiently. A shout out to Bud, who rescued many a waylaid writer. The experience of meeting with so many agents, and getting their feedback and various perspectives was extremely useful. I also enjoyed hearing what they had to say about everybody else's query. An education in four days.

Many thanks for all of your hard work, attention to detail, and extreme care as you shepherded us through this process. I can see what you meant by "no writer will be left behind." I will certainly recommend your conference!"
- Alison Hubbard
"I recommend attending the conference if you're open-minded about your work and, most importantly, willing to change it. The four-day event is an emotional rollercoaster. Be prepared for honest feedback. Comments about your novel will not be sugarcoated. You may be asked to add characters, ditch a point-of-view, or even switch genres... You'll be peppered with questions. Don't defend. Rather, listen to ideas from those in the industry."
- Tracey Kathryn

"The weekend I spent at this conference was transformational for me, and one of the best experiences of my life. It challenged my thinking, improved my craft, and helped me as a writer. Best of all, it made me feel like a writer for the first time in my life, and introduced me to a community of fellow writers with whom I am still friends today. If you ever had the desire to write professionally, and if you're willing to hear hard truths and do some serious work, I highly recommend it. "
- Ben Keller
"Thank you again for an exhilarating experience at the Algonkian Pitch Conference in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have 3 of the 4 editors to whom I pitched ask for more material from me. I followed up on their requests, and, as you recommended, I referred to their interest in my newly-revised query letter to prospective literary agents. Success! I thought I should let you know that today Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group has agreed to act as my agent. I'm delighted, and so excited about taking the next steps towards (I hope) publication. Thank you for helping me embark on this adventure."
- Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas
"Although I had a strong manuscript already, the Algonkian Writer Conference played a crucial role in helping me develop commercially viable marketing materials. During the conference, I wrote a much more coherent hook, changed the title of my manuscript, and composed a much more agent-friendly query letter. I also learned how to structure the plot for commercial fiction, which will benefit me in subsequent books. The result? In less than three months, I accepted an offer of representation from Mark Gottlieb, one of the top ten literary agents in my genre, which is fantasy."
- J.P. Gownder
"As the better days grew farther apart, I decided maybe there was something wrong with my story that I couldn't see. So, I spent more money that my book wasn't earning on the Algonkian Writer's Conference. The New York Pitch proved the best decision of my fiction writing career--though it didn't feel that way at first. I was assigned to a small workshop with the woman who would become my agent, Paula Munier. She critiqued our query letters and first pages explaining what sells and what makes industry professionals ship things to the slush pile. Afterward, we had the opportunity to pitch real editors.

My future publisher, then an editor at St. Martin's Press, was first up. He walked into the room and out went all the confidence I'd built up during small group critiques. Here was my version of the Nursery Magic Fairy. I was a velveteen writer and he could make me a real one. My stomach clenched. I felt mildly ill. My underarms were moist despite the blasting air conditioner. My future agent asked who wanted to go first. I volunteered. Better to go before I turned green."
- Cate Holahan

"I am writing to thank you for whatever sacrifices you had to make (virgins, volcanoes, first born, fatted calf) to get Paula Munier to guide a group at your March 9-13 Pitch Conference this year! She was wonderful!!!!!! She offered practical, streetwise advice, gentle editing hints, and she was marvelous at encouraging our group to bond and help one another. In addition, she was a workhorse! I figured editors and agents would go out every night and drink themselves silly. Instead, she went back to her hotel room and read and responded to revision after revision of our pitches. She even helped me with my synopsis."
- Carman Curton
"The NY Pitch was an amazing experience. A previous Algonkian workshop started me on the journey from writing for myself to writing for commercial markets while Author Salon helped me fine tune my "voice." By the time I hit the NY Pitch, I felt ready and receptive to the coaching I received by the impressive faculty of industry insiders. The results were read requests from every agent and editor who heard my pitch. Ultimately I signed with Talcott Notch Literary."
- Robin Stuart
"The small group format ensured I had the chance to fine-tune my query over several rounds of feedback. Susan Breen was right on the money with advice on the best comps, the genre description for my book, and how to simplify my pitch. Two of three editors I met at the Conference requested the manuscript. After the querying process I had an offer of representation from Writers House, and now a 2-book deal with Kensington Books."
- Sandi Ward
"Because of your conference I had 2 editors, one being Tessa Woodward, ask for my MS and/or pages and another forward my info to one of her associate editors at St. Martins. I was able to cross reference that with information on Publishers Marketplace and sent a query to an agent that worked with Tessa Woodward at Harper Collins. I sent her the first 50 pages and she was really excited about my work. She read the rest of it the next day and immediately sent me a contract. She is incredibly passionate about romance and my story. She is currently awaiting an answer from Rose Hillard at St. Martins. She thinks I have a long career ahead of me in romance writing and I am very excited to say the least. Her name is Emily Sylvan Kim and she is with The Prospect Agency."
- Amanda Greenfield
"I am now the biggest believer in the New York Pitch Conference. Post-conference, I re-vamped my pitch in keeping with workshop feedback. Also, revised the book to reflect new emphasis. Voila! Immediately I had 18 agents requesting the manuscript and ended up with four offers of representation. I signed with Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon this week, and couldn't be happier. This would not have happened apart from my experience with Susan at the Pitch conference in June. Thanks so much to you both. I am indebted!"
- Britt Staton

"This is Roger Johns, an alumnus of the September 2015 New York Pitch Conference. Just wanted to let you know that Paula Munier, my group leader from the conference, took me on as a client and negotiated a deal for my book - DARK RIVER - with St. Martins. Announced tonight on Publishers Marketplace. Thanks for a wonderful experience. The conference was superb. I'm spreading the word among my critique groups in Atlanta."
- Roger Johns
"Hope all is well! I'm writing to let you know that I signed with Michelle Richter from Fuse Literary as my agent for my debut novel, whom I met and pitched to at your conference! She is lovely and I think we will be a great fit. Just wanted to thank you and keep you in the loop. When it is published, would be happy to write a testimony for the conference or whatnot :)"
- Stacy Suaya
"A week ago today, I began the first day of a 4-day pitch conference in NYC organized by the Algonkian Writers Conferences and attended by about 50 writers, male and female, Gen-x'ers to retirees, separated into 3 groups by their genres."
- Donna Rubino
"When I got home from the New York Pitch Conference last year, I started some pretty fierce revisions on my manuscript based on the feedback I had gotten. I took it from 150,000 words to less than 100,000 over the next few months and entered the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest. I got a call saying I was a finalist and so I decided to attend the PNWA conference that summer, which ended up going very well. Everybody I pitched to requested the full manuscript. I also sent out a new batch of query letters, leveraging the fact I had a couple editor requests from the NY Pitch Conference as well as a first place ribbon from PNWA. So I'm represented now by Katie Reed from the Andrea Hurst Agency!"
- Halie Fewkes, signed by Hurst Agency
"The Pitch Conference is everything it claims to be and more. Because the conference participants are screened, editors know they are not wasting their time. Each editor I pitched listened carefully, giving suggestions and asking questions that improved my pitch, as well as my novel. My workshop leader followed up, interpreting the editor's feedback to be sure each writer got the most out of the encounter. My novel was requested by four of the five editors I pitched. Tessa Woodward at William Morrow quickly made an offer for it, and Paula Munier, who'd read my first page at the conference, represented me to negotiate a contract. After getting Tessa's notes, I began a significant re-write that will expand and improve my novel more than I ever could have on my own.

Just so you know, I spent five years researching and writing my novel before I went to the Pitch Conference. For the past year, I had been querying agents and submitting to small presses. One agent requested it then didn't even bother to email back to reject it. Two other small presses rejected it and all other agents and presses didn't even reply. I owned a copy of Writer's Market, I had written what I thought was a good pitch, I researched each agent and press so I could tailor my query. Still, nothing was happening.

Attending the Algonkian Pitch Conference was an investment in my career as a writer. For me, it paid off beyond my wildest dreams. No matter what, though, it would have been worth it for what I learned."
- Kim Van Alkemade, signed by Harper Collins

"I am a hardened cynic and I will admit the pitch conference won me over. Do NOT attend the conference however if any of the following are true: 1) You have thin skin. Your novel is unlikely the end all and be all of novels. Out of our entire group not a single person didn't need to do a rewrite, and 75 percent had to do massive rewrites.

2) Are too attached to your manuscript. Along with thin skin if you do not think you can make major changes in your manuscript then do not attend. I am adding 2 new villains, scrapping one beloved major character, and changing the setting of my novel.

3) You do not enjoy working in a group. Had I not been selected by publishers, I still would have left happy as I gained a valuable group of people to bounce ideas off of and that share my passion as a writer."
- Christopher Lee / Criminal Defense Attorney
"The New York pitch editors, especially Lyssa Keusch and Michelle Richter, were the most helpful professionals I've ever spoken to at a writer conference. Their advice helped me considerably, improved my hook and fortified my plot. After a long and often tiring trek through the world of New York Publishing and literary agents, the reality check worked. Thank you."
- Bonnie Carlins, writer and author
"The Algonkian conference was pivotal in moving my career forward. While I went there thinking it was just a really cool way to meet publishing editors, it turned out to be a portal into so many other avenues of the publishing business. Because of the conference, I've signed with the agent of my dreams!"
- Dave McMenamin, Signed by Talcott Notch Literary Agency
"I wanted to pass along the good news that I signed with Writers House this week, and they'll be representing my novel Tiny Dancer. I'm certain that I would not have gained their attention were it not for the vastly improved pitch I crafted at the NY conference in June. Susan, I remembered that you are with Writers House as well, so I was especially excited to tell you.

Thank you both so much for all of your help and invaluable advice! I couldn't be happier with the results thus far!

- Kelley McNeil, signed by Writers House
"None of my progress would have been possible without the kind, honest, and useful criticisms from workshop leader Ann Garvin. She has gone above and beyond her role as group leader to give me helpful feedback on my manuscript, making it immeasurably better. She has a gift for seeing what isn't working and pointing you in the right direction.

My experience with Ann helped me so much, I've been telling my fellow women's fiction authors to attend your workshop with the hope they will benefit from Ann's guidance too.

Thank you,
- Amy Reichert
"I was not one of the fortunate individuals to catch an editor's notice. However, my group was very supportive of my work and have been a great help. I learned so much during the coference, and I would like to thank the NYC workshop leaders and my fellow peers and friends for their advice which I take to heart. I went home sulked for a few days, and now I'm back to work, searching for agents, possibly revamping my large 141,000 word MS to a three part series, and further crafting my Query letters basing them on the Pitch.

If not for the Conference, I would not have garnered the experience and knowledge of my mentors and peers. There are not very many opportunities like this in Michigan."
- Sandra Glynn
"You may remember me participating then: I was in Charles' group - the cloak and dagger brigade - and my pitch was about a mystery set in WWII Sarajevo. I made a couple of successful pitches, one of them to Tom Colgan at Penguin, and I thought you'd like to know that I've since been offered a two-book deal with them. The first book should be coming out in June next year.

I thought it important to write to you because, without the opportunity afforded by the conference, I wouldn't have made the contacts I did."
- Luke McCallin
"So pleased to share this news with you and extend my thanks once again for the career boost from the pitch conference: "Rosemary DiBattista's (writing as Rosie Genova) MURDER MARINARA, first in a new mystery series featuring a quirky Italian-American family and their restaurant on the Jersey Shore, to Sandy Harding at NAL, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds."
- Rosemary DiBattista

"I attended Pitch and Shop in NYC in Dec. 2006, and I now have an agent for the book I pitched, Grace at War. At the conference I gained the current title from a suggestion by a fellow writer and discovered (from ediors' reactions) that my one pov character should be Grace, age 16. One editor, from Norton, liked Grace and my pitch more than the others; all were positive. I thank you for the conference & your invaluable help ... I am a friend of Wendy Eckel's--she met you through my proselytizing about Algonkian! "
- Susan Moger
"First write a good book; if you're not sure about that, attend one of the other Algonkian Workshops. But if you do attend the New York Pitch Conference, be prepared for the fallout. I walked away with such a successful pitch, but realized I had to rewrite my book to make sure I delivered what I sold the editors. With workshop leader Susan Breen's help, I have three publishing house editors who want read my manuscript. Wanna write a successful query to an agent? Put that in your first paragraph. I have over a dozen requests for my manuscript now!"
- Kim Boykin
"I have already had a novel published by a major publisher, but getting the second book out there has turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I asked my agent what she thought about taking the new book to the New York Pitch Conference. She thought it was a fine idea, so I went for it. It turned out to be a great experience. I got lots of help refining my pitch and the opportunity to pitch my book to four editors. Where else can you tell your story to four editors who are actively looking for books to buy? I think the answer to that is "Nowhere else." But the icing on the cake, I think, was that the workshops gave me new insight into the very essence of my book. I had lots to think about when I got home, and revised accordingly. "
- Author Natasha Bauman
"My novel became a higher concept project because of the New York Pitch Conference experience. I was also encouraged to think of it in broader terms and consider developing a series."
- Author Pamela Binder