What has changed now that the Conference is on Zoom?
Not that much. Since COVID has made large gatherings impossible, the big change to the Conference is obvious—we just won’t be meeting in person. But the timing of the conference and the content remains largely the same. Rather than have five panels in one day, we’ve dispersed six panels across two days and added a Write-In. All happening on Zoom.
And the Pitching Roundtables will still bring you unrivaled face time with top agents in your genre. Rather than sitting at a table together, you’ll be sitting in a Roundtables together—still four hours long, still plenty of time to talk about your projects and learn about your genre.
The pricing is cheaper as well. Since all the in-person amenities have been taken out of the equation, the pitching portion of the Conference is now $395 and the panels/presentations are $145. But if you sign up for both at once, it’s $495 total.
Zoom panels and roundtables are very much like our in-person version, but everything happens via videoconferencing rather than everyone meeting in the same room. Zoom replicates the experience of being together at a writing conference with other writers and agents.
Just like a “live conference,” a Zoom conference takes place in real time. The panels, presentations, and roundtables will meet via videoconference using the simple-to-use Zoom software. (All times listed are for Eastern Time.)
The only technical requirement for Zoom is a device (computer, tablet, phone) and good wifi. If you don’t have good wifi, there is also a call-in option. Tech support will be available.
What’s special about the Gotham Writers Conference?
This writing conference works in a unique way.
On Day 1 and 2, there are six 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. Friday is capped off by a virtual Write-In just for Conference goers.
On Day 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 Roundtables.
If you wish to participate in a Pitching Roundtables 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 Roundtables, 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 roundtable will focus on a type of book: literary/mainstream fiction, genre fiction, young adult/middle grade fiction, picture book, nonfiction.
Each roundtable will have two agents who specialize in that roundtable’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.
Are there any discounts or scholarships for the Conference?
If you’re a person of color, you may apply for the “Manuscript-to-Market” Fellowship. If chosen, you get a free spot at the Conference, plus other benefits.
When and where does this writing conference take place?
October 16-18, 2020.
Can I see a timetable of events for this writing conference?
Yes. You can see the schedule listed here.