March 17-18, 2018

New York Writers Workshop's Small / Independent Press Pitch Conference gives the unconventional, the quirky, the literarily ambitious, a fair hearing. It’s a chance for first novels or memoirs, graphic novels, story collections or work that defies industry norms, to have viable options other than major houses. The conferences are offered twice a year, in the spring and fall. 

  • Polish your pitch with the help of a New York Writers Workshop Conference Leader
  • Present your pitch to three different editors from established independent/small press New York publishing houses, such as Akashic BooksSkyhorse, Soho Press, and Bellevue Literary Press
  • Meet and learn from other writers


Conference Info

Date: March 17-18, 2018

Location: Ripley-Grier Studios (NY Spaces)    520 Eighth Ave (btw West 36th/37th), 16th Floor

Cost: $395 (Early-bird Discount $365 through 2 weeks before conference) for 2-Day Small / Independent Press Pitch Conference: One day of workshop; one day of three pitches


Day 1 - Saturday 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Participants workshop their pitches with a workshop leader from New York Writers Workshop. Attendees are assigned to a group (usually 10 people) with a conference leader. The NYWW instructor provides guidance in revision for clarity, concision, and impact. In true workshop fashion, you'll be able to learn from the leader's and other participant's feedback on your pitch, as well as the pitches of everyone else. 

Day 2 - Sunday 10:00 am – 11:45:

Pitch #1 The first pitch is public, meaning participants pitch to an editor in the presence of their group. Objective: everyone pitches, everyone observes, everyone hears editor's comments.

LUNCH 11:45 – 1:15

1:30 pm – 4:30: Pitch #2 & 3 Participants pitch one-on-one to editors in private setting.

4:30 – 5:00: Final Gathering

Recap and suggestions on next steps.

Your Homework Assignment

Before arriving at the conference, prepare a draft of your pitch. It should begin with a working title and include a succinct summary of your plot, setting, characters -- whatever best captures what is unique about your book. Be aware of comparable books (not necessarily bestsellers), since editors might ask you about this. If you want ideas for preparing your pitch, it sometimes helps to look at the flap copy of other relevant books.  

Your pitch will be made orally, so practice saying it out loud. You’ll be able to have notes or your computer when you meet the editors, so don't worry about memorizing. Aim for two minutes, tops. There’s no need to send us your pitch in advance—just have it when you arrive. You won't need copies of your manuscript or proposal at the conference.

When You Arrive

We’ll be meeting at Ripley-Grier Studios, on the 16th floor of 520 Eighth Avenue, between West 36th and 37th Streets.

Many people bring their laptops and use them to revise their pitches during the conference. There’s free wi-fi, and there’s a Staples nearby. Ripley-Grier also has a printer for a nominal fee.

There’s a snack bar right on the 16th floor at Ripley-Grier, and also one in the building lobby, where you can purchase snacks, sandwiches, and drinks.

How to Apply

If you'd like to attend a conference, send an email following these five steps:

  1.  Subject: Small Press Pitch Conference
  2.  Send the email to Tim Tomlinson: and/or Charles Salzberg:
  3.  Contact information (mail address, phone)
  4.  What you do for a living
  5.  A brief description of the project (up to 150 words)

We'll get back to you as soon as we can to let you know if your application has been accepted.