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Author Topic: Algonkian Writers Conference  (Read 25637 times)

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Algonkian Writers Conference
« on: August 15, 2013, 06:29:23 PM »

Administrator's Note: This is the only post the OP made on this forum, and they express an extremely low and not very objective opinion of Algonkian Writers Conferences in general and the AWC founder specifically. Michael Neff recently contacted me regarding this post, and I've offered him the opportunity to respond directly to the OP's statements.

If you're considering spending money on a conference, you are strongly encouraged to do due diligence and carefully research the conference. You should never rely on a single unsupported review of anything, either good or bad.

A second note: After further consideration, I'm editing the OP. The poster made only a single post here, and hasn't revisited the forum since then. I understand having bad feelings about having attended an event, but the other person involved in this dispute tells me the poster never attended the event. I know that people still read this thread, and so I'm going to use it as a tool to help folks learn how to read reviews objectively.

Thinking of going to an Algonkian Writers Conference?
Think again!  It’s a scam!  The director of the conference is an ego maniac and he just wants your money.  He has no real ties to the current publishing industry.  His “book” is out of print and was not published by a major publishing company.  Think about this before you invest your money in attending an Algonkian Conference.
This paragraph isn't the best way to start off. It starts off with personal and subjective comments, then moves on to other comments that are easily shown to be untrue. Neff's book is in print, and these days, "major publishing house is relative, and almost irrelevant. "No real ties" is highly subjective as well.

Here’s how it works: You will get accepted into the conference through a form email that is sent to several people all at once.  They will pressure you to register and pay ASAP so that you don’t have any time to think about it. 
Form emails are the norm for conference registrations. I haven't seen the emails sent by AWC, but any conference is selling you something, and has to pay for the product (the venue, the speakers, etc), so of course they want you to pay soon. That's why so many conferences offer early bird specials.

If you dare ask questions about the conference, the response you will get in return will be so rude, you will be shocked.  This is done because they don’t like to give details about their “process” because it’s a scam!
This paragraph is addressed below by Mr Neff.

When you arrive at the conference, you will soon find out, it’s merely talking to other desperate people who are trying to be writers and finding out their opinion on your “pitch.”  The “industry” people that are there are not agents.  They are editors.  Heck, anyone can be an editor.
Yes, technically "anyone can be an editor." All one has to do is come up with a catchy company name and tell the Internet "Hey, over here! I'm an editor!" That's why every article I've ever read about choosing an editor urges the reader to carefully vet their choice. Do your research!

It's also not clear here which event the OP is talking about, as AWC offers 4 types of events, and even classifies them from mild to intense, and only some of the events have agents in attendance. Read conference materials carefully.

The editors are there because they are being paid to be there. They aren’t there to get your book published.  You will not be discovered at Algonkian. In fact, this has never happened in all the many years of this conference.  There is one book that claims it was found at Algonkian, however, it is not published by an American publisher even and she conveniently works for the Algonkian writers conference. 
Of course the editors are being paid to be there. Few in this business can afford to be at these events out of the goodness of their hearts. The statement that "you will not be discovered at Alkgonkian" is a universal statement, and those are rarely true. In fact, the materials at AWC's website give you a great way to discount this comment. Again: read the conference promotional materials, and do your research!

You are forced to give your pitch about your novel to the editors in front of a large group of people.  This is a waste of everyone else’s time and really awkward.  The editor will respond with a vague one line, “Sounds promising,” if you are lucky.  Other times, they look bored and will quickly respond, “Not for me.”  They do not give you meaningful feedback.
Neff advised the OP never attended an AWC event, so this paragraph rings untrue. Even if it is partially true, editors are people, and can be bored. Our job as a writer is to make sure they're not bored. If the editor is bored, the reader will be as well.

Sometimes, they dole out requests to a few people that ask to see more of their pages.  This is done so that it gives people false hope.  No one ends up getting published, it is just done so that reviews show that there is false hope and people continue to shell out hundreds of dollars for a scam.
This also sounds untrue. The AWC website lists testimonials, as does any good promotional website. Start there, and research the people who post there. AWC makes it easy, with links to various agencies. There are also sites like Preditors & Editors that report on scams and unscrupulous people in the industry.

It’s a racket.  To boot, the director, Michael Neff, is extremely condescending and rude.  I felt ripped off.  At the very least, I would have liked some respect.
Unsubstantiated, subjective, and personal. Again, Neff reports that this poster never attended a conference, so how could she feel "ripped off?"
Good luck and if you truly want to be a good writer, save your money, work on your book, and send queries to agents.  That is FREE and the only way to get published. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 04:24:09 PM by Bob Mueller »

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Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 08:07:50 PM »

Well, that's not really the only way to get published. I hope. ;)

At any rate, we've already had a thread about the Algonkian Writers Conferences here, and I'd really rather we not rehash that one.

I'd strongly encourage anyone who's considering dropping money on a conference to do their due diligence and research, research, RESEARCH! Don't stop at one review or forum. Check out everything you can.

CourtneyLove, please make yourself welcome here, and tell us more about yourself and your work in the Chat Forum. There's a thread there with your name on it! :)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 08:17:04 PM by Bob Mueller »

Sometimes it takes therapy to put the past behind you. Other times, it takes a 20 gallon trash bag and a couple of cinder blocks.


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    • Algonkian Writers Conference
A Response to CourtneyLove
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 01:55:58 PM »

Thank you, Bob Mueller.

Two score or more of our writers have gone on to commercial publication, and that fact is obvious upon examining our main website, or the New York site, or googling "reviews." You will find comments and interviews with real people using real names. Any writer is free to contact us and ask as many questions as they like. This is not an issue.

As for the CourtneyLove post, the claims are transparently false, and even preposterous in some cases (all one has to do is visit our New York website to confirm this fact), demonstrating not only profound ignorance, but a willful intent to defame. Her real name is Rachel. This person applied for our NYC event then harassed our office with issues in such a manner as to indicate genuine neurosis. When one of our staff, Julie Field, attempted to rectify the situation, this person replied that "she was terrified" of her. To which Julie then replied:

Dear Rachel,
I offered to help you but you chose to become "terrified" though I did nothing to terrify you. Best to reconsider and perhaps some other time. It's not good to approach an event like this with fear and major doubts, and wondering whether or not people sit in circles, or whether you have to be a public speaker, etc. etc.  It's just not worth it.

Once Julie had made the call to reject Rachel's application to the conference, as noted above, the vendetta began. Rachel posted comments on Facebook attacking me personally, attacking the event, very similar to the post here, pretending she had actually been to an event when this was not the case, and the tone was always strident and malicious. Hell hath no fury. And this wasn't the first time. A fellow at one of our events flew into a rage and left the building screaming after two publishers failed to ask for his work. Predictably, he wrote us scathing denunciations laced with insults. Once, I was personally stalked at an event by a strange, vampire-like creature from Ontario. She later threatened all manner of living hell after shouting down two acquisition editors who wanted to work with her on her story. She was right, they were wrong. She knew it all and wouldn't listen to editorial suggestions.

However, people like this are .001 percent, and they will never go away. Anyone who has ever been a teacher or workshop leader knows what I'm talking about.

Regardless, if anyone attends one of our events in NYC, or anywhere else, and finds it lacking in any way, we will refund your money. You have my word. Please use this post as a reference. We do our best to create quality events for writers, and our approach is both realistic and unique. See our syllabus, and event comparisons page, and stop by our new affiliate, Author Salon.

As we note on our website:

"Our overall goal is to be nothing less than the most beneficial writer workshop and conference provider in the U.S. At all our events, the advice you receive regarding the various nuances of novel writing including manuscript critique, development of the story premise and characters, the resolution of plot issues, honing of a competitive narrative voice, and so forth, are provided by business professionals only. You also receive comprehensive, pre-event assignments, as well as a challenging reading list and syllabus, a study guide and reference manual, and access to an online assignment forum before every event. Only top literary agents and publishing house editors are selected as faculty, our registration fees are among the most reasonable in the business, and we brainstorm individual publication plans for our writers at the conclusion of all conferences and workshops.

The success stories noted on our website speak for themselves. Take a look at the event comparisons page to review a complete listing, as well as additional unique features that separate us from the writer conference competition. Our goal for you, quite simply, is to place you on a realistic path to publication."

For more information about me, please google me. I'm also an agent with a book and film production company in Los Angeles. We're looking for great projects. Give me a shout.


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