ThrillerFest XVII • May 31 – June 4, 2022 • Register Today!

ConsultFest FAQ

PitchFest and ConsultFest: Two of the Best Investments in your Writing Career

Dear PitchFest and ConsultFest Attendees,

I can’t wait to meet you in person this May!

I’m Jen Kreischer, PitchFest and ConsultFest Director, and I’m here to answer your questions and guide you through two of the best events that ThrillerFest has to offer. Whether you’re aspiring to become a published author or already a published author seeking an agent or wanting to meet editors (or even producers), each program is designed to assist both newer and experienced writers.

If You Are A: Then You Should Attend:
PitchFest ConsultFest
Writer with Completed Polished Manuscript to Sell X
Writer Not Yet Ready to Sell a MS and want Advice X
Writer Wondering if the MS is Ready to Pitch X
Writer Seeking Help on Query Letter X X
Writer Wanting to Check Out the Process Before Pitching Next Year X X
Self-Published Author Seeking Traditional Publisher X X
Self-Published Author Seeking Advice on What to Do with Self-Published Work X X
Self-Published Author Seeking A Sale of Movie Rights (Producers don’t always attend PF. Check website for confirmations) X
Self-Published Author Seeking Career Advice X
Published Author Looking for A New Agent or Editor X X
Published Author Seeking Advice on a New Manuscript X
Published Author Seeking A Sale of Movie Rights (Producers don’t always attend PF. Check website for confirmations) X
Published Author Seeking Career Advice X

Like you, I wanted to invest in a writing conference and make every penny count. PitchFest and ConsultFest allow that to happen. Uniquely designed to bring writers to NYC—the major hub of the American publishing industry—PitchFest is designed for writers with completed polished manuscripts and offers the best agents and acquiring editors who are ready to listen to you pitch your novel.

If you’re a newer writer who may not be quite ready to pitch or an experienced writer who might need advice on your career path, ConsultFest is for you. Editors and agents are available to review a sample of your work—either a query letter or the first two pages of your manuscript—and offer you personalized advice on how to improve your chances of getting published. These 15-minute sessions can also help better prepare you for PitchFest, improving your chances of making a good first impression on that agent or editor you’ve been eager to meet. This may also be a great opportunity to express how your work has improved since the last time you met with that agent or editor and seek further advice on next steps.

We are here to answer questions, allay your fears, and pass on suggestions to conference organizers under the guidance of our lovely ThrillerFest Directors, Jessica Saunders, at and Jeff Ayers at

To familiarize yourself with both events, please refer to PitchFest FAQ or ConsultFest FAQ.  If you can’t find answers to your questions in either FAQs, we have a team here to help you.

For questions from writers about PitchFest, my Assistant Director is Samuel Octavius, who can be contacted at

For questions from writers about ConsultFest, my Assistant Director is K.L. Romo, who can be reached at

And I, Jen Kreischer, will be focused on finding the best agents and editors in the industry for you to meet at both events. I’m at

Our team hopes to make your journey to success an easier one, so please know we’re here to help. We’ll do our best to assist or connect you with the appropriate expert who can answer your questions. Let us know how we can help you!

Jen Kreischer, PitchFest and ConsultFest Director


Q: What exactly is ConsultFest and when is it?

A: In 2019, we created ConsultFest, a new event for writers who weren’t yet ready to “pitch” a completed manuscript, and for agents and editors who had helpful information to share but didn’t want to take pitches. (Similar to the previous “no pitch zone” to accommodate experts who didn’t wish to take pitches).

ConsultFest allows new writers and emerging novelists to receive insightful advice on their first two pages, their query letter, and their synopsis from experts in the publishing industry. This event was created with a different focus than PitchFest, more educational in nature.

Q: Should I attend ConsultFest or PitchFest or both?

If you can do both, it’s recommended. PitchFest helps you network with the industry’s top selling agents and editors in very short bursts, hopefully making that special connection that will lead to a sale of your work. ConsultFest offers an opportunity to consult with experts in an effort to perfect your manuscript or query letter, improve the marketability of your writing, and field career path questions.

Please see the table above PitchFest/ConsultFest table for more specific guidance.

Q: Will the same industry experts at ConsultFest be attending PitchFest?

A: Because the two venues are so different, some experts will participate in both opportunities, although the majority choose one or the other. The editors and agents who want to meet authors with completed and polished manuscripts attend PitchFest. If they like your pitch, they will request a partial or full manuscript to review your writing and determine if they can take your novel to market.

At ConsultFest, a writer commits NOT to pitch to the editors and agents. Instead, attendees are there to ask for advice. It’s not that these agents and editors aren’t looking for talent, they just don’t want to hear a pitch. Instead, they prefer to review your query and/or manuscript pages and advise you on your work. ConsultFest offers an opportunity for the agent or editor to meet authors and review writing samples in advance. This allows many industry experts who prefer not to “hear pitches” to offer valuable advice to inexperienced writers and to others who are looking to move their writing in a new direction. But magic has been known to happen via ConsultFest with connections between writers and experts blossoming.

Q: How long is my time with an industry expert, and what does it cost?

A: Writers pay $75 for 15 minutes of consultation time at ConsultFest with the best editors and agents in the industry offering advice on ONE of the following:

  • • Advice on a one-page query letter where the topic of the discussion focuses on tips to improve the writer’s approach to an agent or acquiring editor.
  • • Advice on the first two pages of the writer’s manuscript to discuss how the writer could improve his or her craft before approaching an agent or acquiring editor.

Writers can pay $150 for two consecutive sessions with one expert to receive advice on both the query letter and the first two pages from that same expert during a single consultation lasting 30 minutes.

Q: What do I get out of a consultation?

A: We can promise you will get as much out of the consultation as you put into it. We’ve designed this event for you to get advice on ONE of the following:

1) how to better pitch your work to an agent or editor through a query letter.

2) how to improve your chances of selling your manuscript via a critique of the first two pages.

3) things you could do to better guide your career path. We suggest you prepare questions to ask the experts in advance.

Most writers who attend ConsultFest are amazed at how much help they receive in a short time. The agents and editors also offered suggestions on common submission requirements, in case they decide to read more about you and your work. Although it’s not required for them to read anything more than the query letter or first two pages of your manuscript, many of our experts do read more (which is great news for you!). We now require that you submit seven pages in total—a query letter, the first five pages of your manuscript, and the synopsis—as described below.

Q: What do I have to submit to attend ConsultFest?

A: To be eligible for a consultation, writers must submit:

  • • By no later than May 1 to assure experts have the necessary time to review.
  • • Seven pages in Word Document or PDF format titled with writer’s name (ie: “Jane Smith”) to include:
    • • One-page query letter addressed to “Dear Agent/Editor:” single spaced, letter format, 12-point font, 1” margins.
    • • First five-pages of a manuscript (NOTE: only two-page- critique guaranteed), double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins, noting writer’s name at top and working book title.
    • • One-page synopsis of novel or non-fiction work, double spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins.

Only one submission is required for any number of consultations you choose to purchase. When you register for a consultation, we will ask whether you’d like to have advice on your query letter or the first two-pages of your manuscript. If you sign up for more than one consultation, you may choose how many agents/editors will review the letter or the manuscript pages. We will let your advisors know.

Q: Can I pitch my work to the agent or editor at ConsultFest?

A: We ask that you commit to NOT pitching your work at ConsultFest. Most of the experts who volunteer their time for this event would prefer not to hear pitches and expect you to honor that preference. However, if they ASK you to pitch them, please feel free, but only if they specifically ask.

Q: Can I request the expert to focus on the query more than the manuscript or on the manuscript more than the query?

A: When you sign up for a consultation, we will require you to decide whether you would like the experts to review your query letter or the first two pages of your manuscript. If you sign up for more than one consultation, you choose how many agents/editors will review the letter or the manuscript pages. We will let your advisors know. Under no circumstance will we choose for you. If you do not decide in a timely manner, your agent or editor may not receive your submission for review in advance of your consultation.

Q: Can I ask the expert to give me feedback on both the query and the manuscript?

A: Each 15-minute consultation is designed around either the query letter or the first two pages of the manuscript, but not both. We also offer the opportunity to sign up for consecutive sessions with the same agent or editor so one expert can review both query letter and manuscript pages, or to simply have more time to discuss career advice.

Q: Why do I have to submit a synopsis, a query, and manuscript pages if I only want advice on something specific?

A: Some of the agents and editors from the inaugural year of ConsultFest asked if they could receive more pages representing your work, although they are only required to read the first two pages. Some will read everything you submit just to give you advice on a single page, and others will focus only on your specific questions and won’t read anything other than that work.

Even if the agent/editor doesn’t review all 7-pages, it is in your best interest to submit enough of your work for the experts to read. If an expert is interested in your writing, submitting all three documents—query, manuscript, and synopsis—will provide them with more of your writing to evaluate.

Q: Where can I find information on creating query letters and synopses along with more guidance on writing?

A. Following are links to some wonderful advice from experts on…

Q: We learned from prior ConsultFests that there may be some things you are—or are not—expecting.

A: ConsultFest was designed to provide expert advice on your work. That’s it. Everything else is gravy.

If you’re ready to hear honest, direct feedback from agents or editors, this is the event for you. If not, you will probably walk away disappointed. Even if your writing is stellar, you can always learn something new.

Whether or not you agree with the advice you receive, please don’t argue with the experts about their opinions. It’s fine to clarify your intent or offer more information if it helps the expert understand your work in more detail, but arguing with them about their advice will just frustrate both writers and experts. Invest your time wisely and redirect the conversation with a pre-planned list of questions.

Remember, a writing journey is all about differing opinions on the same body of work.

Q: How do I sign up for ConsultFest?

A: When you register (link to registration) for Master Class, CraftFest or ThrillerFest, you will be eligible to sign up for as many consultations as you wish. If you have already registered, simply email the registrar at If you sign up for more sessions than agents or editors left with openings, we will contact you and provide a refund if you don’t want back-to-back sessions with any of them.

Q: Can I choose who I want to see during ConsultFest?

A: We are working to use a system similar to the one used for Virtual ConsultFest that will allow you to select your experts and consultation slots. More information will be available as ConsultFest draws nearer.

Q: Can I request back-to-back consultations with the same industry expert?

A: Yes, you can. You can register for up to 2 consultations back-to-back with the same expert and with as many experts as your maximum consultation limit allows.

Q: Should I bring anything with me to the consultation to give to the industry expert I’m assigned?

A: We recommend bringing a business card with your contact information. This saves time taken by the agent or editor to write it down and eliminates transcription errors. (We’d hate to have you miss an email from an agent or editor because of a misprinted email address.)

We also strongly advise that you bring copies of your 7-page submission, in case the expert is unable to refer to your submission due to a last-minute IT or printing glitches.

Q: Can I get the expert’s contact information to communicate with him or her after ConsultFest?

A: Sometimes the agent or editor shares their contact information and sometimes they don’t. At ITW, we are protective of the experts who volunteer their time to help you, so we do not give out any contact information unless they tell us to. Thank you for understanding.

Q: Has anyone ever received representation from an agent or a book publishing deal by attending ConsultFest?

A: Absolutely! A side benefit to connecting writers with agents and editors at ConsultFest is that sometimes the expert finds a writer particularly interesting. Connections certainly do happen, and the agents and editors are just as excited as you are when they do. Their job is to find you, that special talent, so be the best version of yourself at ConsultFest.

Q: If I’ve already registered for ThrillerFest events, how can I sign up for ConsultFest or PitchFest or both?

A: If you have already registered, simply email the registrar at Sign up for as many consultations as you choose and you’ll be able to choose your experts as long as they have appointments available. We will close registration for consultations on May 1, the deadline for submitting material to the experts. See you in 2022!

And one last note:

We love coordinating these events for our attendees, but please be patient with us—we’re all volunteers.