What’s special about the Gotham Writers Conference?
This writing conference works in a unique way.
On Day 1, there are five panels and presentations, just one at a time, each one a gem, each designed to give you a peek behind the publishing curtain. You’ll hear from agents and writers, all offering their insight into the process of getting a book out to the world. The day is capped off with a happy hour, with free food and drinks for everyone.
On Days 2 and 3, there are pitching roundtables where pre-selected writers spend the day at a table with two agents who specialize in the field that matches the writers’ book projects (mainstream/literary fiction, genre fiction, middle grade/young adult fiction, picture book, nonfiction). You will be pitching your book project to the agents, but rather than sweating through a very quick pitch (as done at most conferences), you will spend four hours with the two agents, presenting your query and first pages, listening to others do the same, and getting in-depth feedback from the agents about your work and the publishing process.
If you don’t quite have a book ready for publication, but want to prep for the day you do, you may sign up for just the Panels and Presentations.
If you have a book that you’re ready to present to agents, you may apply for a Pitching Roundtable.
If you wish to participate in a pitching roundtable, then you must apply by sending a query letter, 10 pages of a manuscript, and answering some questions. You will be notified within 30 days of applying if you are accepted or not for the table. If you are accepted, then we will ask for payment within 48 hours of acceptance. If you are not accepted, then you may choose to attend the Panels and Presentations only.
Why must we apply for the Pitching Roundtables? Most writing conferences let anyone who pays come pitch to agents.
It’s a fair question.
Put simply, we don’t want to take your money if you’re not quite ready to hook an agent. We are looking for writers who have a query and pages that are good enough to make an agent honestly say, “Yes, I’d like to see that book. Yes, I might be interested in representing you.” It’s also important that your novel is finished or that your nonfiction book proposal is mostly done.
If you’re not chosen for the Pitching Roundtable, you will still gain valuable insight into the publishing process during the Panels and Presentations.
What is needed to apply for the Pitching Roundtables?
Novels and memoirs: a finished book. Nonfiction books (excepting memoir): a mostly finished book proposal and sample chapter.
An enticing query letter: Query Guidelines, Sample Query Letters
A well-written first ten pages.
When you submit your query and pages, your work will get careful consideration from the Gotham staff. We are qualified to determine if your work has a viable chance with agents at this stage.
What are the pitching roundtables exactly?
Each table will focus on a type of book: literary/mainstream fiction, genre fiction, young adult/middle grade fiction, picture book, nonfiction.
Each table will have two agents who specialize in the table’s field and up to eight writers with book projects in that field.
In the first half of the day, the writers will read their query letters, giving the agents an enticing glimpse of their books. The agents will discuss the merits of the query letters and book projects.
In the second half of the day, the writers will read a page or two from their book. The agents will give their take on your pages.
It’s a much richer experience than the typical pitch session at a conference. Those sessions usually last, at most, ten minutes, with a timekeeper hovering to remind you that your time is running out, pushing the agent and writer together in a rushed and awkward situation. Our pitching roundtables allow the agents to get to know their writers and their projects in an in-depth and unhurried fashion.
The pitching roundtables give the writers the best possible chance to interact with and attract representation from an agent. In fact, this method of pitching was suggested to Gotham by the agents themselves.
When and where does this writing conference take place?
October 2020. Further details coming.
Can I see a timetable of events for this writing conference?
We don’t have this worked out yet, but you can see the 2019 lineup right here.
Can you recommend a place to stay in NYC?
Sure, here’s a short list of suggested hotels.