We welcome adults 18 and older (published or unpublished) with work in progress, people actively pursuing careers as authors and illustrators of books for young readers.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.
The conference will be held at the Cook Student Center in New Brunswick, NJ. (This building was formerly called Cook Campus Center)
Yes, the conference site is fully accessible.
Click here for our Featured Speaker and here for our One-on-One Success Story Speaker!
Click here to see the 2019 mentor list.
Click here for full application instructions. Please note that this year we are asking all applicants to apply both by regular mail and online.
No, only one application/category per person in a given year. Please submit what you feel is your strongest work in your strongest category.
Notification will be made by mid-September. It will be mailed in the self-addressed stamped envelope you have included with your application. We do not e-mail this information.
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.
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.
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.
Regrettably, we cannot accommodate requests for specific mentors. Mentor/mentee matches are solely at the discretion of RUCCL.
No, please do not, as we cannot return and are not responsible for any materials submitted. Color copies are fine.
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.
The application deadline for our 2021 conference is July 31, 2021. Mailed applications must be postmarked by this date. The online application component must also be sent by this date.
To maintain the one-on-one ratio, enrollment is limited to approximately 80 to 90 applicants.
The conference fee for 2021 is $125. 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.
There are no "partial" conference fees. The full conference fee must be paid in order to attend any part of the conference.
There are no scholarships for this virtual conference, however scholarships will once again be available when our in-person conferences resume, hopefully next year! To learn more about those, click here!
Click here for directions to the conference.
Click here for a listing of overnight accommodations.
A complimentary continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be served.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if there are other dietary risks or concerns that we should be aware of.
No, you may sit with whomever you like.
The attire is “business casual.”
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. If you wish, you may also bring along additional works-in-progress, as there are often opportunities to network and share during the conference day.
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.
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.
Yes, editors and agents attend the RUCCL Conference expecting to meet new writers and illustrators.
The best time to introduce yourself to an editor or agent is during lunch.
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.
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.