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

Success Stories

Read a sampling of the personal success stories of authors who connected with their new agents at PitchFest:

Not an Overnight Success Story
By B.J. Graf

An idea for a mystery novel bit me while working on my doctorate in Classics. I started writing it down, but it was a shapeless baggy thing, so I set it aside and took a job out west. I worked as a V.P. of Development in Hollywood for the better part of fifteen years before transitioning back to academia. During all that time I kept writing. Read More

Writers Don’t Ever Cease Creating Stories.
By Aaron Philip Clark

Most published authors know that a career doesn’t form overnight. It takes years to build. Sometimes, it takes decades before receiving a publishing contract. It means patience and tenacity and playing the long game. If you’re one of the writers in the struggle who never considered giving up, then I suspect you’re in the minority. Read More

Our Favorite Part Was Pitchfest
By Krista Wells & Nicole Moleti

We just wanted to let other new authors know that Thrillerfest is a great conference! We would not have gotten a book deal as easily without such an event. We went to learn from the experts, connect with other new writers, and meet up with our favorite authors. Our favorite part was Pitchfest…Read More

A Conversation With A Friend
By Wanda Morris

Nearly ten years ago, I finally decided to put pen to paper (or rather, fingertips to keyboard) and wrote what Stephen King so aptly calls a “shitty first draft” titled, “The Good Guys.” After reading it a few times, the “smell” was so bad that I decided to put away my dreams of writing for good. I went about my life…Read More

Not if. But WHEN.
By Lynne Constantine

About six years ago I became serious about pursuing my dream of a writing career. I’d written a book with my sister years earlier and had coasted on that accomplishment for the next ten years—calling myself a writer, but doing very little writing. And then I saw an ad in Writer’s Digest for Thrillerfest…Read More

Leap Off the Fence
By Steve Urszenyi

I attended my first ThrillerFest in July 2018 with a completed manuscript and high hopes. In fact, registering for this writer’s conference was the push I needed to finish the novel I had been working on for four years. ThrillerFest exceeded my expectations…Read More

You have to pitch that book!
By Julie L. Brown

After completing the first draft of a manuscript, I pitched it at a writers conference on the West Coast. The first agent said it wasn’t ready. I asked, “How do you know? You haven’t read it yet.” He shook his head and again said, “It’s not ready.” I had a lot to learn…Read More

Against All Odds
By Isabella Maldonado

I attended my first ThrillerFest in 2017 as a member of the debut author program. In my case, the cart was about a mile in front of the horse. I had already signed a three-book deal without an agent. Shortly after my first book hit the shelves in March of 2017, I realized…Read More

I came back with a new book.
By Colleen Winter

I am where I am today as an author because of Thrillerfest. I first attended Thrillerfest in 2015. I remember landing at La Guardia airport and being absolutely terrified to be in New York city alone and headed to a conference with some of the most successful authors in the world…Read More

She said no.
By Don Bentley

She said no. I’d attended PitchFest for the first time, found the agent I wanted, and pitched my newly completed manuscript. We’d hit it off during our five minute face-to-face and she’d agreed to read the entire novel. I sent it and waited on pins and needles only to get the dreaded rejection letter…Read More

I came to an agent… and blanked.
By Sarah Cain

I was a professional writer of speeches and direct mail and press releases—none of which are things people clamor to read. I had written fiction for years, mostly short stories and flash fiction. Then there was my novel. I had worked on it for about eight years. I had even sent out queries, all of which had been rejected….Read More

I wasn’t really a writer.
By D.A. Bartley

I wasn’t really a writer. A reader? Absolutely. The first grown-up book I remember getting my hands on was an Agatha Christie. I’ve worked as a lawyer and an academic, so I read professionally. I guess I wrote, too, if you count legal briefs and academic papers well suited for curing insomnia, but I didn’t think of myself as a writerRead More

Signed with four agents.
By Lissa Price

I will always be a big fan of of ITW and Thrillerfest because I owe my career to this conference. It was here that I met and signed with four agents–one film, one foreign, two lit–and also found my writer’s group. When I went to the very first Thrillerfest in Arizona, I looked up at the debut author’s panel, just a handful of authors back then…Read More


By Sheena Kamal

About two years ago, I was working as a TV researcher for a crime drama series when an idea began to form for a project of my own. A dark, psychological suspense novel. I’d never written a novel before, but the idea wouldn’t let go and I found myself at a crossroads. In a moment of righteous conviction, I took the least logical path available. I quit my job…Read More


I decided to get serious and give PitchFest a try.
By Robert Beatty

I had been writing novels and attending writer’s conferences for many years, but it wasn’t until I attended ThrillerFest / PitchFest that I found a real agent and received a publishing contract with a major New York publisher. Here’s how it happened: In the past, I had been to a variety of writer’s conferences throughout the country, attending all sorts of workshops…Read More

A place where authors help fellow authors By Jeff Wilson

A place where authors help fellow authors.
By Jeff Wilson

To me Pitchfest embodies what ITW and Thrillerfest really are, at their hearts: a place where authors help fellow authors. I joined ITW in late 2011 and attended my first Thrillerfest in the summer of 2012. I had a debut novel from 2011 and a new novel just out and was thrilled to be a part of everything. I made some great friends, many of whom were authors I had read… Read More

Never give up. Never say die.By Richard Goodfellow

Never give up. Never say die.
By Richard Goodfellow

“Richard! You’ve finished the manuscript for Collector of Secrets, so why aren’t you trying to find an Agent?” Those were the questioning words spoken over lunch by my friend Keren Deere ( back in 2008. I regretted vaguely replying that it all seemed too daunting, as that prompted a blistering lecture… (seize the day). Read More


You Can’t Run From Love
by Shannon Kirk

I’m a member of the 2015 ITW Debut class for my psychological thriller, Method 15/33 (Oceanview Publishing). But the truth is, my first novel was written and self-published in 1984, when I was in Fifth Grade. Only one copy of Sentimental Sweetooth was created, handwritten by me. Fortunately, my parents saved this one precious copy…Read More


Thrillers Are a Rare Species
by Leonardo Wild

I found ITW while doing research on the thriller genre, and joined two years before my first ThrillerFest. I live in Ecuador, where thrillers are a rare species, so I was surprised to find out that there was actually an organization dedicated to writers in the genre. I’m probably the only thriller-writer in Ecuador with 10 books…Read More

Kevin Hurley index

Never Surrender
by Kevin Hurley

Thanks to Thrillerfest and some very extraordinary agents and authors who attended, my novel Cut and Cover will be available from Skyhorse Publishing through major retailers for the Fall 2015 season. I will be pitching the sequel to agents at ThrillerFest X. When I walked into the Grand Hyatt…Read More

Walt Gragg_index

I Got the Agent (and Editor) I Wanted
by Walt Gragg

Wow! Did that just happen? Exactly two weeks from the day I attended PitchFest, I hung up the phone after being offered representation. Liza Fleissig is going to be my agent. And the best news is not only did I get an agent, I got the agent I really wanted. Liza was my first choice going into PitchFest. Read More

Lauren Francis-Sharma

What if no one likes it?
by Lauren Francis-Sharma

I had never pitched a story before. “What if no one likes it?” I thought. I practiced my pitch before and after the luncheon. I practiced even as I stood in line waiting for the start of PitchFest, while other attendees chatted. My legs trembled and the suit I wore felt like heavy armor. “I only need one to say yes,” I said to myself. I had tried query letters with… Read More


Thrill Ride
by Glen Erik Hamilton

A roller coaster starts off slow, gathering potential energy, as it ratchets almost lazily up the long upward track. A writer may work for months or years on their first thriller, driven to tell that story, sweating every bit of dialogue and twist of plot. Building suspense. Then comes the tipping point. Read More

PitchFest Was Brilliant!
by Vaughn Ripley

My 89,000 word cyberthriller was complete and I was ready to run to the highest mountain, or at least a hilltop, and scream, “I did it!” I have no illusions about books and publishing… You see, a few years ago, I self-published my memoir, “Survivor: One Man’s Battle with HIV, Hemophilia, and Hepatitis C.” Read More

Simon Gervais

The Trick is to be Prepared
by Simon Gervais

When I registered for the 2013 ThrillerFest last February, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be signing with an agent before the event was over. I was confident the agents would like my pitch but never did I expect to hear from one of them only a few hours later. It was surreal… Read more

James R. Hannibal

A Gold Mine of Learning
by James R. Hannibal

I was angry for a long time – as my insanely patient wife and a bloodied punching bag in my garage will attest.In 2008 I was God’s gift to covert ops thrillers, a Stealth Bomber pilot with a Top Secret clearance and a gift for writing (we’re in my head here, not reality, so parts of that sentence aren’t really true). Read More

Donna Owczarek

I Was Surrounded by Kindred Writers
by Donna Owczarek

Shortly after completing the first draft of my novel, I somehow stumbled upon ThrillerFest while researching places to submit my work. It sounded great, especially because several of the agents I planned to query were going to be there listening to pitches, but I had some concerns. While I usually can manage to string together… Read more

Tom Shawver

Prepare for Contingencies and Adapt Quickly
by Tom Shawver

This past July I attended my first ThrillerFest. I went in with a game plan that proved ineffective, but for reasons that I had not anticipated, ended up with an agency contract.The initial idea was to get an agent for a military thriller that I felt very strongly about—still do—and had carefully revised over many years. I’d had several “almosts” following numerous… Read More

Gustavo Florentin

Next Stop: Publication
by Gustavo Florentin

PitchFest 2011 was the first time I had ever pitched anything to professionals in the business. I was told I had a good pitch. But I was a little shaky telling the story after my one-liner. I managed to pitch my thriller to seven agents. Of those, three asked for partials and two asked for full manuscripts. Most of these agents replied… Read more

Ready, Ames, Fire…

Ready, Ames, Fire…
By Daniel Ames

At PitchFest, anything can happen. Lives can change in less than three minutes. When Daniel Ames met Scott Miller from Trident during PitchFest, he was staring at his dream agent. Little did Dan know that shortly after ThrillerFest ended, he would sign with Scott. Although things happened fast when Dan met Scott, it’s the preparation that Dan did beforehand… Read more


Face to Face Makes all the Difference
by Mike Stewart

PitchFest 2011 wasn’t my first attempt to garner the attention of an agent. And, if I’m any measure, I’d bet many of the authors who attended tried for years before deciding to see if meeting agents face to face makes a difference. I’ve been writing for seven years. Graphic novels, novels, new media writing and in several genres. I’ve really committed. And submitted. Read more

John Dixon

The First Two Said No
by John Dixon

The first two said no. They were both really cool about it, explaining they weren’t actually repping young adult titles anymore, and both offered referrals to agents who did rep YA. I jotted down the recommendations, thanked them, and moved on, turning once more to the daunting yet oh-so-exciting event that was PitchFest. Read More


You Won’t Be Sorry
by Martha Pound Miller

Martha Pound Miller was born and raised on the Arizona desert. She married an architect, had three children and went on to become the Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects Society in Arizona for 20 years. Writing was always of primary interest but with a family and job, there was never time. Much later came retirement… Read more

PitchFest Changed My Life By Boyd Morrison

PitchFest Changed My Life
By Boyd Morrison

Attending PitchFest can change your life. I know that sounds like some corny advertising promo, but it was literally true in my case. At the first PitchFest in 2007, agents met authors during the lunch session, with one agent at each table. Who you were sitting with was totally random. I was talking with author Jon Land… Read more

Something Did Happen By August McLaughlin

Something Did Happen
By August McLaughlin

“So you’re going to fly across the country to one of the most expensive cities to attend a pricy conference? What if nothing happens?” a friend asked after I registered for PitchFest. “I’m going. Something already is happening,” I replied, sensing that his skepticism was geared more toward his stay-in-Los Angeles plans… Read more

Success From Down Under
By Mark Dapin

As a journalist and author, I am quite well known in the eastern states of Australia. This is a bit like being a household name in your own house. A couple of years ago, I wrote a thriller, King of the Cross, about the rise and (of course) fall of a Jewish gangster in Sydney. It won the Crime Writers of Australia’s Ned Kelly Award for First Fiction, I optioned the movie… Read more

AJ Colucci

Never Have to Query Again
By A. J. Colucci

I’m a writer, not a salesperson. I’d rather work on my novel every day for a year than spend one hour writing query letters. As it turns out, that’s about the ratio I set while writing my novel, THE COLONY. After working on the book for five years, I sent out a meager 26 letters and received seven flat-out rejections, 14 requests for… Read more

Graham Brown

It Could Happen to You
By Graham Brown

Ironically, Graham Brown almost missed the Thrillerfest 2007 Agent luncheon. Thanks to a flight delay–on the red-eye, no less–he arrived late at JFK and made it to the Hyatt just as the event was about to begin. “I was completely wiped out at that point, and decided to skip the lunch. All I wanted was to check into my room and get some sleep.” Graham confessed.
Read more

Ron and Richard Goulding

By Ron and Richard Goulding

Two brothers—one a lawyer, one a doctor—combined forces in the 90s and decided to try their hand at writing novels. They jokingly call themselves cavemen, as they started out using typewriters and long hand to record their imaginings, sending their work to each other via snail mail. Then came the fax, which dramatically increased their speed of…
Read more

PitchFest is designed to put authors and agents together for the purpose of pitching projects. This will be an unprecedented opportunity for those writers looking to get or change agents. And where better to have this event than in the heart of publishing, New York City? PitchFest is set up like a speed-dating event. You pitch your novel to an agent for a few minutes, get the agent’s reaction, and then move on to a different agent.

Please note: PitchFest is available only in a package with CraftFest. There are no one-day passes for Wednesday or Thursday only. Registering for ThrillerFest alone does not qualify you to attend PitchFest.