The Business of Writing > Conferences/Groups/Conventions

Algonkian Writer Conferences

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Lance Charnes:
Has anyone been to one of these? If so, was it worthwhile?


I've never heard of it, but I'm highly dubious of it's effectiveness.  I'm basing this on what they present to you when you click on "About". This is usually the area where the 'whatever' is explained as to what it is and why. If you notice the entire first paragraph is devoted to slamming other conferences.

That is followed by an invitation to click on FAQ to find out more about who they are making it harder rather than easier to find out about them. Completing the page is yet another bashing complete with names of other writing conferences.

To me this says they can't think of anything good to say about themselves. In the advertising world it is considered that naming your competitors only sends your readers to them.

I'm sure if I poked around their web site I'd find out more about them, but why would I want to?

IMHO I wouldn't unlock the old pocket book just yet,

Sir, I did not get the impression Elena did, rather interpreted as an attempt to show how they are different from the other writer events; and besides, the few comments made about the other conferences on the "About" page are true, very true.  Is it "bashing" if you're just telling the truth?  I and many others I know have felt like prodded cattle at places like Maui, etc.,

Also, I've been to two of the events noted on the FAQ page in question (where I don't see any more "bashing" at all???) and they perform as promised.  I had no complaints and was helped tremendously by the huge study guide, the quality of the editors and agents, and the whole program.

I encourage anyone to read the FAQ, etc., for themselves before coming to a conclusion:



John Arnold:
I've been to three of these Algonkian Writing Conferences, including both writing conferences and a Pitch Your Book session in New York City and on the whole they provide good education for a reasonable price.  The moderator, Michael Neff, works to hold the cost down for each writer by holding conferences near hostels, etc.  He's familiar with what sells and what doesn't sell and has many contacts in the business, including many West Coast agents and NYC editors.  A novelist himself, he works to make everyone he accepts--and he doesn't accept everyone--move their project forward toward publication.  As the publishing business gets more and more difficult, I'm not convinced agents and editors have the time to read queries very easily.  Being in front of them is a definite way to improve your odds of at least getting decent feedback.  The Agonkian Writing Conferences provide, IMHO, far better value than some of the 'bigger' conferences where the interactions are increasingly staged and short-lived.

Michael Neff, who manages the Algonkian Writing Conferences, has abilities that include being a judge of a writer's platform, credentials, and talent, and moving that writer's project toward completion and publication. 

I also think it is a good idea to check out writer conferences before investing your money and time in them.  I have been to the Algonkian Writers conferences in Virginia and in NYC. 

As a beginning writer, I was looking for technique training and how to develop a good story that I would enjoy writing and that would sell.  I found that and more at the Algonkian conferences.  The Virginia conference is 5 days of intense discussion, writing exercises and pitch development.  I learned a lot about these topics from this conference, and so much more.  I also made incredible writer friends who continue to support me and my writing every day.

The NYC conference was amazing in that I was able to meet one on one with very well known and creditable publishers and agents.  Each agent and publisher took their time with me and gave me some extremely helpful advice on my plot development and pitch.

I don't think I could say enough good things about the Algonkian conferences.  Each time I finished one, I was more inspired to reach my publishing goals and become a better writer.  When I am ready to start the process of publishing, I feel confident that my manuscript will be professionally completed with a story written to the best of my abilities. 

Thank you,


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