FAQs about Pitch Week

How should I format my sample manuscript for consideration?

Submit the first 10 typed, double-spaced pages of your manuscript, along with a one-page, double-spaced typed synopsis, to our manuscript submission email address . Use standard MS formatting: 1-inch margins all around; include your Name, Book title, Phone number, email address, book’s approximate word count (rounded to the nearest thousand words) and page number in the header area of every page. Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font only. Do not indent paragraphs or add extra spacing between paragraphs. Send us the first 10 pages of your manuscript only. Send your sample submission as an email attachment, in Word document format.

Who is eligible to apply for Pitch Week?

Authors who are residents of the United States, District of Columbia or Canada, who are either 18 years of age or older and who are not contractually prohibited from accepting all three components of the winner’s prize (publisher, agent and national publicity campaign) may enter. The author also has to submit the first 10, double-spaced pages of his/her manuscript as well as a typed, double-spaced Synopsis (max length: one page) that contains a compelling overview summarizing the content/arc of the book. We need to receive these materials at least one-to-two weeks before the author is scheduled to arrive at the retreat.

How will applicants be Evaluated?

We evaluate applicants on several criteria. These include: the strength of the writing; the commercial appeal of the books; the author’s likelihood of completing a final draft in time for the next Pitch Week (April of 2014, for Pitch Week #2 (June); July of 2014 for Pitch Week #3 (September) and April 2015 for Pitch Week IV (June). We also consider the author’s knowledge of book marketing and his or her demonstrated ability to effectively communicate and present the substance of the book.

What Kinds of books will you consider for Pitch Week?

We accept all fiction and non-fiction prose books, including some Children’s Picture books. We do not currently accept short-story anthologies or adult books that are “primarily” pornographic in nature.

Is there a fee to apply for Pitch Week?

Not directly. We do not charge a fee to accept or process applications — or for our two book coaches to listen to you read your sample pages and then deliver their assessments the following day, in private, face-to-face meetings at the retreat (normally, a $200 charge.) However, you must visit the retreat for a 3-day, 2-night stay, to read your sample submission — and to be individually evaluated, as a potential Pitch Week contestant.

When would I need to come to the retreat if I want to apply for Pitch Week IV?

The application and manuscript assessment period for Pitch Week IV (June, 2015) ends on October 31, 2014. Semi-finalists are selected, on a rolling admission basis, until we have 25 authors/manuscripts that make our “short list.” We estimate it will take up to 100 applicants to yield our 25 semi-finalists. Because of the “rolling” nature of acceptances, it is in your best interests to visit the retreat as soon as possible. (If your manuscript needs more work, this also gives you additional time to modify the work and resubmit it before the application period ends.)

How much does a three-night stay at the retreat cost?

Our all-inclusive room/board packages for one guest start at $183.75 a night for our standard rooms; $225.17/night for our premium rooms and up to $318.91/night for accommodations in our top-of-the-line deluxe room, the F. Scott Fitzgerald. But we are currently offering Pitch Week applicants single occupancy, 3-day/2-night stays in our standard rooms for just $199.99! (For more information about rooms, available dates and any seasonal specials you may wish to take advantage of, please call Jon at 443-413-1596.)

How much is the room reservation deposit — and when is the balance due?

We require a 50% deposit to reserve premium or deluxe rooms — and the full $199.99 amount for a standard room at our special rate. Any balances are due one week prior to your arrival at the retreat.

What’s included in the meal service and why is it “built into” the package price?

The goal of When Words Count Retreat is to make our guests as productive as possible, by freeing them from routine chores and responsibilities and by placing them in a quiet facility surrounded by inspiring countryside. Consequently, we do all the housekeeping, food purchasing, food preparation and post-meal cleanup for our writers in residence. Our daily food service includes: all-day coffee and tea service; gourmet meals prepared on site that include: a two-course country breakfast; a buffet-style farm lunch, (for instance: a salad, protein portion and soup or cheese board); cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner. The raw cost is $55 per person per day or $69.30 after including VT sales tax and a 17% service fee in lieu of gratuity.) Our retreat’s “quiet” comes from its off-the-beaten-path location. We are located 5 miles outside of Rochester and even further from other area dining establishments and many have limited, daylight hours. Guests rave about our food and will tell you its well worth the price.

What is the selection process?

We anticipate that approximately 100 authors will apply for each Pitch Week competition. From this group, we will “short list”/pick up to 25 semi-finalists, whose material we will forward to our judges as “strong, potential contestants.” We then send the submittals to the judges on an ongoing basis, as we accept applicants into the program and they complete any desired revisions (of the sample pages.) One to several months after the last submittal is forwarded, the judges will complete their individual evaluations and send us their scores. The top six scores become our finalists. The seventh and eighth highest scores become alternates.

How do I reserve a room for Pitch Week?

To reserve a room for Pitch Week, call us at 443-413-1596. We will review the available rooms and dates with you over the phone and process your deposit. Because we only have 9 rooms available, we must accept reservations on a first-come, first-served basis and rooms for any specific date (particularly popular ones) may disappear quickly.

What’s Your Cancellation Policy?

To receive a refund of your reservation deposit, you must cancel your reservations at least 22 days prior to your scheduled arrival date. All other cancellations are handled in the form of a full credit for the amount of the deposit paid. Credits are good for one year from the date of cancellation. Guests who fail to show up at the retreat, and who do not notify us in advance, forfeit their deposits.