When and where does the Gotham Writers Conference take place?

October 14-16, 2022. On Zoom.

Can I see a timetable of events for the conference?

Sure. You can see the 2022 schedule right here.

What’s special about the Gotham Writers Conference?

This writing conference works in a unique way.

On Days 1 and 2, there are ten panels and presentations, each designed to give you a peek behind the publishing curtain. You’ll hear from agents, editors, and writers, all offering their insight into the process of getting a book out to the world.

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, graphic novels/graphic memoirs, nonfiction). You’ll be pitching your book project to the agents, but rather than sweating through a very quick pitch (as done at most conferences), you’ll 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 to the Pitching Roundtables.

(You can also enroll/apply for both the Panels/Presentations and Pitching Roundtables, at a special price.)

If you wish to participate in a Pitching Roundtable, 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’re accepted, then we’ll ask for payment within 48 hours of acceptance. If you’re not accepted, then you may choose to attend the Panels and Presentations only.

Why is the conference only virtual?

We switched to a virtual conference in 2020 because of Covid. The health risks of mingling with people in person have thankfully diminished, but they haven’t quite gone away. So virtual is still safer.

More than that, however, we found that hosting the conference on Zoom enables people from around the world to join us, without the time and expense of traveling to New York City.

Also, putting the conference on Zoom has brought the price down because we are spared the expense of renting space and serving refreshments.

While there are obvious benefits to meeting people in person, the content of the conference is very much the same as it would be in a New York City setting.

Please note that all the conference events meet in “real time” on Zoom, the time based on Eastern Time. But we will be recording the Panels and Presentations so conference goers can have access to any of these they were not able to attend “live.”

The only technical requirement for Zoom is a device (computer, tablet, phone) and good Wi-Fi. If you don’t have good Wi-Fi, there is also a call-in option. Tech support will be available.

Why do you have two Panels/Presentations in each time slot?

This allows us to offer more topics. You can only attend one Panel/Presentation per time slot “live,” but we will record each Panel/Presentation and give you access to the ones you missed or even ones you may want to re-watch.

Interestingly, there are two “tracks” of Panels and Presentations. One track will be panel discussions. The other track will be presentations given by a single expert. Then Days 1 and 2 both culminate with a single special presentation: the Featured Author Interview and the Story Slam.

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, graphic novels/graphic memoirs, 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 session, 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 session, the writers will read the first two pages from their book or, if a picture book, the entire thing. 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.

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’ll 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’re qualified to determine if your work has a viable chance with agents at this stage.

Will the agents read my materials ahead of time?

No, we don’t ask them to. The way the conference is formatted, we are replicating the process of cold querying, but with a personal touch. First impressions are everything and we believe you can learn more from a first impression than from a formulated response. As such, the agents will be seeing your materials for the first time, and you’ll be able to get their genuine first impressions.

Do I have to stay for the entire roundtable, or can I just pitch and go?

We ask that you stay for the entire roundtable unless there is something pressing, in which case please communicate that with Gotham ahead of time. You'd be surprised what you can learn from listening to the pitches of other writers in your genre. Remember, these agents are here to talk about the genre you're writing in, so they’ll be offering insights throughout the session. It's worth your while!