Syllabus + Authors
Agent Interviews
Students Comment
The Literary Life


"Any first time author can be made to look "fabulous" -- it's all about how an agent, author and publisher present the author. Every author has a background and a story, which can be told to the book- sellers and public in a boring way or a way that is spectacular."

  Barbara Zitwer

"If an author is a terrific writer and has a voice or perspective or style that's not been seen before, there is a far greater chance it will have a place in the literary market. Though it's true that it can be tough to get a first book published, agents and editors are always looking for the next voice or story."

  Elise Capron

"The truth is that most publishing professionals needn't read further than that. They are trained to make instant decisions (they have to if they want to survive), and that means learning how to decipher what's wrong right away. Judging a book in five sentences might sound like an outrageous idea. But it's really not."

  Noah Lukeman

"It is not more difficult to sell first fiction today than it ever has been. What is more difficult is to sell a third or fourth novel. Unless an author today finds a sizeable audience very quickly, they will be washed out—and, thanks to computerized inventory tracking by bookstore chains, washed out without hope of a second chance with a new publisher."

  Donald Maass

"I love working with first time authors. I love the feeling of helping an author achieve their dream of getting published. We have assisted quite a large number of first time authors. Sometimes, not having a track record can be a good thing! Editors also like to discover new talent and it's better to be a terrific, untried author than to be a good author with a horrible sales history."

  Paige Wheeler

Learn More
About Algonkian

   Novel and Fiction Workshops and ConferencesPhone: 1-800-250-8290
   For New and Established Writers
 Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you hold conferences?

At several places around the country.


What Type of Writer is Algonkian Looking For?

Writers of all genres. We work with beginners, of course, as well as advanced writers, but we want students who are willing to shelve the ego and acquire the craft and market knowledge they need to realistically approach the creation or completion of a competitive novel manuscript.


How is Algonkian Different From Other Conferences?
  • Substantial time devoted to marketing the novel to major publishers via high-concept, query, and pitch.
  • MS/prose reviewed by pro editors, not attendees.
  • Comprehensive 86-page novel-and-fiction study guide.
  • Extensive pitch prep session before meeting agents.
  • No mobs - small groups that facilitate interaction and growth.
  • Unique and challenging pre-conference assignments that focus on all major novel elements.
  • The only writer conference on this planet with a syllabus.
  • Superior in-shop writing assignments and story dissection.
  • Less fluff and more work - seven hours per day of workshops as well as evening assignments (we do give breaks).
  • No inappropriate backslapping - emphasis on pragmatism and truth telling even if it hurts (the market is tougher).
  • No boring lectures or panels to attend.
  • No bells or lines - relaxed dialogues with faculty.
  • Faculty chosen for wisdom as well as compassion - no snobs.


What is The Purpose of Algonkian?

To enable writers in all genres a chance at becoming published authors by providing them with the craft skills, professional connections, and savvy they need to succeed in today's fiercely competitive market. Every writer leaves an Algonkian event with a detailed plan for working towards the publication of their novel.


What Genres Are You Willing to Work With?

Mystery/thriller/crime, historical fiction, SF/F, and literary mainstream (literary, general commercial fiction, and women's fiction). The agencies and editors we interact with handle all genres.


Do You Have a Syllabus?

Yes, a complete syllabus and a list of authors studied can be found here. We believe that in order to stand a realistic chance of getting a novel manuscript published, the writer must first learn the fundamentals and complexities of craft employed by the best authors. Secondly, and just as important, the writer must understand the publishing market.


Does Algonkian Run Workshops, or Conferences, or Both?

We schedule specific workshops during our conferences--daily interactive sessions with faculty wherein students study successive levels of craft and apply it to their novel manuscript (and short fiction, if appropriate).


How Does Algonkian Differ From An MFA Approach?

Algonkian emphasizes writing-to-get-published, creation in the context of market. We teach writers to think pragmatically about the development of their ms while retaining their core values for the work. Our motto is "From the Heart, but Smart." College MFA programs typically do not prep a writer for the cold reality of the current publishing climate. Many of our most grateful students are graduates of MFA programs.


How Do Students Interact With Agents?

Each student pitches his or her novel to the agent. The model for the pitch is a "book jacket" the student creates with the help of the workshop leader prior to the pitch session. The process is part of a longer evolution the student begins even before arriving at the conference. Once the pitch is accomplished, the agent interacts with the student in a Q&A session. The workshop leader then follows up with the student to create a plan for publication, i.e., a step-by-step post-conference process the writer must undertake in order to stand a realistic chance of getting his or her manuscript published.


Any Pre-Conference Work Involved?

Yes, and lots of it. Students are given written exercises, a pitch exercise, and several books to read. They are also required to conduct "protagonist sympathy analysis" on current literary sellers. All of this prepares the student before arrival.


What is a Typical Conference Schedule Like?

The first four days and nights of the conference are devoted to readings, discussions, and written exercises, as well as interactive meetings with faculty. Students have homework each night that must be complete by the following morning. The fifth day is dedicated to one-on-one ms consults and finalizing each student's publication plan. The conference begins the night of arrival, and then each day by 8:00 A.M. and on to 5 P.M. (or as necessary).


Where do the Conferences Take Place?

All current conferences can be found on our home page.



Web del Sol/Algonkian Workshops
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 443
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: 1-800-250-8290