About the Conference

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 close-up look at the publishing process. The day is capped off with a happy hour, with free food and drinks for everyone.

On Day 2, 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, 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.

You may sign up for just Day 1, for $245

Or you may sign up for Day 1 and Day 2, for $595

If you wish to participate on Day 2, 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 Day 2. 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 Day 1 only.

Why must we apply for Day 2? 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 Day 2, you will still gain valuable insight into the publishing process on Day 1.

What is needed to apply for the Pitching Roundtables on Day 2?

Novels and memoirs: a finished book. Nonfiction books (excepting memoir): a mostly finished book proposal and sample chapter.

An enticing query letter.

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, nonfiction.

Each table will have two agents who specialize in the table’s field and up to nine 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?

Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26, 2019
New York City
Ace Hotel, 29th St and Broadway

What’s the deadline for applying?

You can apply for Day 1 as long as spaces are available. You must apply for Day 2 by September 24th (if spaces are still available). You will be notified about acceptance for Day 2 within 30 days of applying.

Space is very limited for the writing conference, so the sooner you register the better.

Can I see a timetable of events for this writing conference?

Yes, on the Conference Schedule page.