My Adventures in New York 2009 …

I just got back from our own 2009 writers conference in New York. And wow. Everything was a blur. I was running here. Running there. Doing that. Answering questions and phone calls. Holy wow. I got in on Tuesday afternoon and visited a literary agency to meet some agents in person.

An actual NYC agent slush pile.
The real deal.


On Tuesday night I got to see a little bit of Brooklyn. Fellow WD staffer Zac Petit and I visited Brooklyn and had drinks at the Clover Club. That was fun because we suddenly decided to have an impromptu photo shoot with Zac’s awesome camera, and we used the bar’s many candles to light ourselves in different ways. It was very high school, which is probably why it was so much fun. Employees eventually asked us to stop.

Fun with candles in Brooklyn! Never
underestimate the sheer entertainment
of a camera and lighting equipment.


Wednesday was the conference itself. We had about 410 attendees. I got to sit on an editor panel first thing in the morning, and then the agents arrived for the “Ask the Agents” panel. Participating were Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary Agency, Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary, Ted Weinstein of the Ted Weinstein Literary Agency, and Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary. You can see them all pictured from left to right in this lo-res cell phone picture I took.


The agent panel had the whole place roaring. The
agents were cracking jokes while answering questions. 

Following lunch, I was supposed to give a 50-minute presentation on helping writers prepare for the monster Pitch Slam to follow. That is, I WAS, until agent Janet Reid told me ever so bluntly, that she “could do it much better” than me. So we agreed to split the session in half.  I took the first half and give some tips. Janet took the second half and listened to sample pitches then gave feedback on what worked and what didn’t. It all went smoothly.

Note from Janet: “What I said was ‘let’s give them some actual practice and examples, oh fearless leader!’ Smoothly? Chuck, I shrieked, fainted, cursed and carried on. Smooth is the last thing that ever describes moi. You on the other hand ARE full of awesome.”

Janet even posted about this whole pitch event and was in awe of those brave enough to face her in front of hundreds.

After that, people started to line up and flooded in the rooms to pitch 68 agents. Considering the insane logistics of this whole thing, it all went very well. I have to give mad props to all the WD staffers who helped run these crazy rooms. And also I should thank all the attendees, especially those kind souls who stopped to tell me how much they enjoy my blog/newsletter. You guys are the best.

Following the whole shebang, I had dinner with some agents and editors at Dos Caminos in Midtown (50th and 3rd) and it was soooo good. A great way to end the night!

Above is the big group of
agents and editors who
hung out at Dos Caminos. Below
you can see
Writer’s Digest
staffer Zac Petit and I hanging out
late when the restaurant offered
us all free champagne.



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5 thoughts on “My Adventures in New York 2009 …

  1. Judith Coughlin

    That pitch/slam prep was THE best part of the conference. It was like being front and center at some Writer’s Got Talent show. I was furiously taking notes. Not only were the pitches inspiring, but the immediate breakdown of where things went awry, where things were right on. I also learned how subjective it is. There were things I thoroughly liked that Janet gave a subtle nod to. Something she seemed very interested in, I didn’t get. Very interesting. Chuck was absolutely great, too. Very well spoken, professional, funny. Very good at speeding along the yammering and getting to the meat of things. Such a great time!

  2. Alicia Muhlestein

    I was there (I think I’m behind that guy talking to Michelle Andelman) and it was terrific. Janet Reid did a fabulous job critiquing pitches. She was hilarious and full of energy. I would have paid just to hear her. Does she do stand-up? She should. And you were great too, Chuck! How much money did she owe you by the end of the day?;)

  3. Janet Reid

    What I said was "let’s give them some actual practice and examples, oh fearless leader!"

    Smoothly? Chuck, I shrieked, fainted, cursed and carried on. Smooth is the last thing that ever describes moi.

    You on the other hand ARE full of awesome.


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