Frequently Asked Questions


About the Conference...

1. Who can attend the conference?
We welcome adults 18 and older (published or unpublished) with work in progress, people actively pursuing careers as authors and illustrators of books for young readers. You can be a developing or previously-established professional, but the conference is of greatest benefit to those not already represented by an agent.

2. Where is the conference held?
The conference will be held at the Cook Student Center in New Brunswick, NJ.
(This building was formerly called Cook Campus Center)

3. Is the conference location wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the conference site is fully accessible.

4. Who will be speaking at this year’s conference?
Click here for our Featured Speaker and here for our One-on-One Success Story Speaker!

5. Who are the Participating Mentors at this year’s conference?
Click here to see the 2016 mentor list.

6. When is the conference? What is the conference schedule?
Click here to see our detailed schedule of the day’s events!

About the Application...

7. How do I apply?
Print a copy of the application here. Please note that this year we are asking all applicants to apply both by regular mail and online. Our application contains further instructions, plus a link to our online submission page.

8. When will I be notified about acceptance to the Conference?
Notification will be made by late August. It will be mailed in the self-addressed stamped envelope you have included with your application. We do not e-mail this information.

9. Can I submit material that’s already been considered by editors or agents?
Yes, as long as you include a submission history on the application form. This information will assist us in making the best possible mentor/mentee match.

10. Can I submit the manuscript that I've already brought to a previous One-on-One Plus Conference?
You may, but please mention it in your application and tell us which mentors looked at it last time. As each year brings a different mix of applicants, please be aware that past acceptance of a manuscript is no guarantee that it will be accepted a second time.

11. Can I query mentors prior to the conference?
You may, but please note that we are unable to reassign mentors. This may result in you being paired with a mentor who has already passed on the material you’ve submitted for the conference.

12. Can I request a specific mentor?
Regrettably, we cannot accommodate requests for specific mentors. Mentor/mentee matches are solely at the discretion of RUCCL

13. Should I send original artwork?
No, please do not, as we cannot return and are not responsible for any materials submitted. Color copies are fine.

14. I've both written and illustrated a picture book. Do I submit to the Picture Book category or the Illustration category?
If you are both an illustrator and author, and have illustrated your own picture book, you should submit your dummy to the illustration category, along with samples of finished art.

If you are not an illustrator, and have written a picture book manuscript, then submit the text-only manuscript to the picture book category.

15. When is the application deadline?
 The application deadline for our 2016 conference is June 27, 2016. Mailed applications must be postmarked by this date. The online application component must also be sent by this date.

16. How many applicants are accepted?
To maintain the one-on-one ratio, enrollment is limited to approximately 80 applicants.

17. If I have co-written a manuscript with someone else, can both of us apply jointly to the conference?
The one-on-one aspect being fundamental to the conference, and with a limited number of spaces, we can accommodate only one applicant per manuscript.

Paying for the Conference...

18. How much is the conference? How do I pay?
The conference fee is $225 and includes a continental breakfast and a buffet lunch. Please submit your payment with your mailed application; it will be returned if you are not accepted. Please make checks payable to: Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature.

19. Is there a partial fee if I only wish to attend part of the conference?
There are no "partial" conference fees. The full conference fee must be paid in order to attend any part of the conference.

20. Are scholarships available? What are the awards? What is the application procedure?
Two scholarships, the Paula Danziger Scholarship Award and the Dorothy Markinko Scholarship Award, are available to promising writers and illustrators who could not otherwise afford to attend the One-on-One Conference. To learn more about each individual scholarship, the awards, and how to apply, click here!

21. Can I apply both for the scholarship and via the regular application method?

22. What is the refund policy?
If you are unable to attend and notify us up to one month prior to the conference, we will refund the full fee. If we receive notification in the month leading up to the conference, we will refund  50% of the fee. There is no refund for cancellations made forty-eight hours before the Conference.

Travel Planning...

23. How do I get to the conference?
Click here for directions to the conference.

24. Are there hotels nearby where I can stay?
Click here for a listing of overnight accommodations.

25. Is there a travel agency, roommate matching service, or carpool listing service available through the conference?
RUCCL does not contract with any travel agency or airline, nor does it have an official roommate matching/carpool listing service. Though limited in what we can do, we are happy to assist whenever possible. Feel free to contact RUCCL should you need assistance.

Conference Details...

26. What meals will be served?
A complimentary continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be served.

27. Will the conference make special dietary accommodations?
Due to the size of the group attending the conference, individual meals are not available. Gluten-free options will be available. Please contact RUCCL directly at if there are other dietary risks or concerns that we should be aware of.

28. Is there assigned seating at the conference meals?
No, you may sit with whomever you like.

29. What should I wear to the conference?
The attire is “business casual.”

30. What should I bring to the conference?
Pen, paper, a copy of your submission, business cards, and an open mind. Illustrators should bring a portfolio, which may include a picture-book dummy.

31. How should I prepare for my One-on-One?
Bring a copy of your submission. If you are writing in the middle grade or young adult category, keep in mind that your mentor has only read five pages of your manuscript and will want to hear more about the plot and characters. Practice your pitch. Plan productive questions to help guide your meeting. Be sure to allow enough time for questions.

32. What can I expect at my One-on-One?
Expect professional advice and constructive criticism about your submission. Do not expect a close line edit of your work. It's also important to keep in mind that editors and agents are not obligated to request seeing more of your work, nor are authors or illustrators obligated to recommend you to his or her editor or agent.

33. What can I expect at the Five-On-Five?
This is your opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about writing, illustrating, and publishing books for young readers with five professionals in the field. We encourage you to contribute to the conversation and to come prepared with questions.

Etiquette with Editors and Agents...

34. Is interaction between editors/agents and mentees encouraged?
Yes, editors and agents attend the RUCCL Conference expecting to meet new writers and illustrators.

35. When is a good time to approach an editor or agent at the conference?
The best time to introduce yourself to an editor or agent is during lunch.

36. Is it appropriate to pitch an editor or agent at the conference?
Generally, editors and agents prefer to receive a written query. Instead of pitching them your idea, simply introduce yourself and let them know you will be contacting them after the conference per their submission guidelines. They will appreciate the introduction and be grateful not to be put on the spot.

37. Should I bring my manuscript with the intent of giving it to an editor or agent?
While you may bring your manuscript along, please don't do so in hopes of passing it on to an editor or agent that day. If an editor or agent wishes to see your manuscript, they will direct you to send it to them at their office after the conference.

38. May I bring additional manuscripts to my One-on-One session besides the one I submitted with my application?
Yes, you may, but whether they can be looked at during the One-on-One session is totally at the discretion of your mentor.

More Questions?

39. I have a question that hasn't been answered here. Who can I get in touch with?
Please contact us directly at