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Rutgers 2014 Conference - application is up

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Hi all, I just saw that the application for the Rutgers 2014 One on One Plus Conference is now posted. It'll be on October 18, 2014. You can get the application here: http://www.ruccl.org. It's due on July 8th. I got so much out of last year's conference; I highly recommend it.
#1 - April 15, 2014, 06:40 AM
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I've been twice and will apply again. Thanks for letting me know the application is up. It is the best conference. Just getting accepted is a thrill.
#2 - April 15, 2014, 11:06 AM
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I flew in from FL for it twice, and loved it, too. I agree, Debbie--getting that acceptance is amazing!
#3 - April 15, 2014, 05:49 PM

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Bumping this thread.


So the application deadline is fast-approaching and I wondered what people's feelings were about the response rates from this conference. I attended in 2006 when I was agented, and was paired with an editor who read but passed on my manuscript. Meeting online writer-friends in person was the definite perk of the conference for me. However, the entire experience is overwhelming for an introvert such as myself, and I'm trying to decide whether to apply again this year. I usually attend my local conference but will be out of town that weekend. Rutgers just seems like a pretty good bang for the buck since it gives access to not only agents but also editors.


Any thoughts and experiences would be greatly appreciated.
#4 - June 25, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Here's my unvarnished opinion.

I only heard back from one editor after I went two years ago, out of about eight that I submitted to. (that rejection came after 14 months) I find that I get very few responses from any conference submission these days.
That was my first and only time to go. (it conflicted with parents' weekend at our son's college in the years prior)

The editors/agents who attended when I went seemed to be very new. That can be good and bad, (the newest agents are looking for clients), but I had to wonder if some editors were acquiring.

I found that the time to be able to introduce myself to editors/agents was very limited, (just at lunch) and it was difficult to find the people I wanted to talk to. This was not the way it was described to me from those who had attended in previous years, so I'm guessing they are always trying different things to make it better.
#5 - June 25, 2014, 05:24 PM
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 05:26 PM by anita »

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I'm wondering the same thing as Vinca.

Those who have gone and enjoyed it: what were the best parts about the conference? Who would you suggest attend (writers/illustrators at what stage of their career?) Who, in your opinion, would NOT benefit from going?

I guess I'm skeptical because the conference really only goes from 10:15-3:45, and if you take out the breaks (but include lunch), the whole event is only 4.5 hours. Not even really a full day. Hmmm. So yeah, thoughts?
#6 - June 25, 2014, 08:16 PM
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I found the one-on-one time extremely valuable both times that I attended. The 5-on-5 depended on the group I was placed with. One year, I sat through a lot of basic questions, but I was still able to ask some so that helped. The speakers were all wonderful, and I definitely flew back to FL filled with info and inspiration.

I wish they'd give you more time to chat with the faculty--the day does fly by extremely fast. Lunch is great, but there isn't much time to eat and walk around the room--plus, the thought of it kind of made me feel like a stalker. I mostly stayed at my table the first year. The second time, I knew where friends were planning to sit, and went over to visit one of them, knowing there was a faculty member at her table I wanted to speak with.

It's hard to say what stage of your career is best. I think it depends on who your mentor and five on five mentors are, and which agents/editors you're able to speak with when you're there. I was a bit green the first time I went (I had written a bunch of picture books and finished/revised one novel and was working on my second one). I ended up sitting next to an editor at lunch, and we had a great chat. I thought she only edited paperback reprints, and didn't realize she worked on original paperbacks also until she asked what I wrote, handed me a card, and told me to e-mail a novel to her. It ended up getting rejected, but she gave me some really helpful feedback. Looking back at what I just wrote here, I guess newer writers who get accepted have a chance to make a connection, but the opportunity for growth might stand out more. And seasoned writers could definitely receive advice to help their craft grow, too...plus doing your research and networking with the right agents/editors could lead to an amazing opportunity.

You asked who would not benefit from going. Personally, I might choose another event if I had an agent, especially since the agent would have access to all the editors and should know who would be the best match. But on the other hand, not all agents are editorial and especially if there's a manuscript you love that has a beginning that's strong but not quite dazzling editors, it's a great opportunity to get some feedback that could help you.

The first time I went, we didn't have a Blueboard gathering, but I did get to meet a lot of them at the conference (even though we didn't have much time to talk). The second time I went, the night I chatted with Blueboarders for hours during dinner was one of the biggest highlights for me.
#7 - June 25, 2014, 10:05 PM

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I got a lot out of the conference last year. There are just so many agents and editors there. At my local SCBWI conference, for instance, there will be 5 or 6 agents or editors, and 200-250 attendees. Those are great, too, and I really value the local connections I make there, but the chance to meet so many agents and editors is unique at RUCCL, I think. I was able to meet one of my dream agents, and I think it helps that I'll have met her when I send my query. I met two editors who said they'd like to see my manuscript when it's completed. I made a few writer friends with whom I have stayed in touch. Plus I got to meet and fangirl all over Gail Carson Levine! Finally, at last year's conference, the keynote, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, was spectacular.


All of that said, I can drive to Rutgers, and it would be a harder call if I had to fly. Last year, I even stayed at my mom's overnight (she lives about halfway between my house and Rutgers), though I think if I get in this year, I might spring for the hotel room, because I was sad to miss the Blueboarders dinner the night before.


As for who would not benefit, I'd agree with Mindy that it probably would be less helpful if you have an agent who is already submitting your work to editors. Though maybe then it'd be like with agents, that it'd be helpful to meet them?? This is an issue I have not yet confronted, unfortunately!


One final thing is that I think it helps to be willing to march up to the folks you'd like to meet. It can be really scary, but to me the purpose of this conference is really the connections you make, and you won't get much out of it if you don't talk to people. I even (if I won't be judged too harshly for my stalkerish tendencies) had printed out a list of the agents I wanted to meet, with their bios and pictures, so that I'd recognize them. There were lots and lots of people there, and it was a little chaotic, particularly at lunch, so I was glad I was able to spot people in the crowd.
#8 - June 26, 2014, 05:03 AM
Twitter: @SuperKate
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Thank you, Anita, Mindy, and Kate, for your thoughtful responses.


I admit to being troubled by Anita's experience with editor non-responses. That's disheartening and for someone who lives halfway across the country, a long way to go to not really gain any access. I do have a sister in NYC so could combine business with pleasure, but it'd carry a hefty price tag.


Mindy's point about the day going by so quickly also matches my memory. I wasn't able to be "aggressive" with my introductions that year and am not confident I'd be able to network any more effectively this time around.


Kate, I'm glad you had such a positive experience last year and hope those connections pay off when you're ready to submit. (Those conference success stories always make me happy!) I envy you being within driving distance and having family close by.


So, hmmm. . . Still pondering, but wanted to extend my thanks.

#9 - June 26, 2014, 04:20 PM
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I've been to a few Rutgers conferences and I agree that the day flies by so quickly! Here are some of my favorite parts of the conference:


- The one-on-one session. Each time, I was matched up with someone who works with (or writes) picture books. It's basically a 45-minute critique session. (With other conferences, you pay a bit extra and have around 12-15 minutes.) Each one-on-one session was different for me. One year, we reviewed my submitted manuscript, as well as several other mss that I brought along. Another year, the entire time was spent on the one manuscript. How the session goes is really up to you and your mentor.


- The five-on-five session. The first year I went, my session was a mix of PB, MG, and YA authors and illustrators. But I've noticed in recent years, my group is all PB people. I'm guessing this was an intentional change, and it's great. It also makes it easier to meet the faculty who work in your genre. Many of the people I was hoping to meet were in my 5-on-5 session. And since the mentors all sit at their 5-on-5 tables for lunch, they are easy to find. (Your conference packet has the info about who will be at each table and the tables are all numbered.) I usually find 2 or 3 tables that would be good for me and then I look to see which of those tables has an empty seat at lunch.


So for me, between the 5-on-5 session and lunch, I've already met several PB people. I think this takes a lot of the pressure off and makes the conference much more relaxing and enjoyable.


I fly up from Atlanta, so cost is always a consideration. The last couple of years, I was able to meet up with critique group friends so that was worth it! And the blueboarder dinner is always a highlight for me.


I hope that helps. Good luck!
#10 - June 27, 2014, 08:26 AM
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Thanks for the replies! I'm thinking it would be fun to meet and schmooze and discuss the market with the mentors, but since I'm agented, perhaps it wouldn't be super IMPORTANT for me to go.....
#11 - June 28, 2014, 01:15 PM
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The year I went, I was teamed with a one-on-one with an agent I'd just spent the better part of a week with at a retreat (of all the dumb luck!) I really liked him and had no problem with that, but it would have been nice to meet with someone I didn't know so well. They might ask you if you don't want to meet someone, I don't remember, but there was no one there who had rejected me or seen the manuscript I was submitting.

As I remember, you only submitted three pages, and I believe the mentors only receive them that morning, so they don't have much to comment on. I took the first few pages/synopses of a couple other manuscripts I had completed, thank goodness, since the agent I was teamed with had already given me a critique of the first 50 pages of what I had submitted. And, it was great to ask the agent many questions about his agency and how he worked.

I have an agent now and won't apply. I think if you meet someone who buys your manuscript or wants to represent you, it's worth every penny, but it's just one of many good conferences and workshop opportunities. It is very flattering to be selected.

I think I'm a little spoiled. I go to the NJ SCBWI conference yearly and they have quite a few editors and agents.

#12 - June 29, 2014, 04:28 PM

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Any NF writers who have attended this conference? Was this useful?

Thanks,

Rani
#13 - June 30, 2014, 07:45 AM

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I attended in 2007 and 2011. They made improvements in how they grouped people for the 5 on 5 in this time. They also do ask who you have submitted the manuscript to on the application so you aren't with someone who has seen it.

I find myself very nervous for th one on one part when I go. I'm afraid I didn't handle that well last time. I hope to overcome that if I get in this year. The first time, I got great feedback on a picture book. My response rate has been pretty good, but there are folks who don't respond. I've twice had an editor suggest other places to submit a manuscript they rejected. None of those worked out, but they didn't have to suggest anything.

In 2011, I had lunch with Marjorie Cuyler. The discussion focused on how she got into the Jewish market. She was still with Marshall Cavendish then. I also had a chat with Barry Goldblatt about the sci fi market and women readers. These are far from young and inexperienced editors. I didn't pitch either of them until after the conference. The website has the list of who is coming this year or who attended last year.

I also think it might not be worth it to go if you are agented unless you really need the work on craft.

They take 75-80 of the over 500 applicants, so getting in says something about your work.

Rani, I'm sure it is just as helpful for non-fiction as the other categories. Many of the agents deal in both and they must have mentors for each category they accept. Look through last year's mentors to see who the non fiction people were. Some return regularly. I hope this helps with your decision.
#14 - June 30, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Hi all,


I just noticed that there was a recent Twitter chat about Rutgers. I haven't read through it yet, but I thought I'd post the link here in case anyone would like to check it out:


https://twitter.com/hashtag/ruccl14


(I don't think you need a twitter account to read through the chat.)


Also, here's a link to the conference's twitter page:


https://twitter.com/ruccl1on1


And there is a Facebook page, too:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rutgers-University-Council-on-Childrens-Literature/509127699150980


Happy Reading!   ::-)
#15 - June 30, 2014, 12:58 PM
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At the time I applied, I did not know who was going to be at the retreat I attended. It was just dumb luck that of the 70 or so editors/agents at RUCCL, I got the same person I'd spent the better part of a week with just a month before. I didn't mind at all, because I really liked him, and got to ask lots of agency questions.

#16 - June 30, 2014, 06:15 PM

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Hi all,


I am now the parent of a college student - (where does the time go??) - and I just realized that his school's Parents' Weekend is the same weekend as Rutgers, so I won't be able to apply this year.


Good luck to everyone!!   :clover
#17 - July 02, 2014, 12:15 PM
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That happened to me every year for four years. It goes fast, though!
#18 - July 02, 2014, 12:29 PM

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I was a newb at Rutgers last year and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to go. I had the good fortune of meeting Sherri D and Alison F, among other wonderful Blueboarders!
 
It was definitely something I wanted to experience, and glad that I did, but I don't think it is something I'd do twice.  The part I was most excited for was the one-on-one. I submitted MG pages with my application and was hoping to get someone with MG experience. My mentor was very nice, but he was from a part of Scholastic that works on NF easy readers. While he did give me lovely feedback on my MG pages, I have to say I was disappointed that I wasn't with someone with MG expertise. The five-on-five was very helpful, but I did feel that I knew most of the information that was asked/answered during that session. Highlights for me were meeting BBers, meeting Marietta Zacker (who I had submitted to previously and she requested more material of mine, but didn't offer rep...she was lovely and it was great to meet her in person), and the keynote.
 
I was a bit frustrated that while the mentees were at a panel discussion, there was a mixer for the mentors downstairs. Seems that time could have been spent allowing the mentees to mingle and meet those folks. I got the sense that the mentors agreed that they didn't need to be in a room with each other for that period of time. I hope the organizers consider changing that aspect of the day.
 
For the amount of time I spent on the road (about 8 hrs there and another 8 hours back), I don't think I'd invest again. But I am glad that I did it once for the experience.  I do think those that are unagented will benefit most from this conference, although those with agents do have the opportunity to meet some really tremendous editors. Just luck of the draw in terms of who you get.
 
For those that decide to apply, best of luck!
 
-Kellie
 
 
#19 - July 02, 2014, 02:50 PM
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Thank you, Debbie! It seems heavily focused on fiction at this point, plus, I don't have that kind of money to fly from this corner of country....no yet. :thanks2
#20 - July 06, 2014, 05:35 PM

Just received an acceptance for Rutgers, and I was thrilled to be accepted. Who else is going? Last year Sheri D. organized a Friday evening dinner at the Hilton East Brunswick, but Sheri is unable to attend this year. I'm hoping to arrive Friday evening and would love to get together with others going to the conference.
#21 - August 14, 2014, 05:25 PM
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MWAAAAAAH! I have had so much trouble trying to get on here since the switchover and I finally switched my password one more time, and IT WORKED AND HERE I AM!!! Yaaaaay!


I got accepted for the conference too and will be so psyched to see any and all of you there! I'm staying at the same Hilton, so I can set up the dinner this year. Let's check in for a headcount as it gets closer!
#22 - August 15, 2014, 02:12 PM

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Hi! I got in, too!  :whitebunny  Yay! I'm not sure yet if I'll be staying in the hotel or not, but I hope to, and if not, maybe we can meet over breakfast? I remember walking into that big room last year and feeling like  :neck . But yay! Congrats to you both! Can't wait!
#23 - August 15, 2014, 06:23 PM
Twitter: @SuperKate
Check out my middle grade book recommendations at www.kidbooklist.com.

Hey everyone! I finally figured out how to sign onto the refurbished BlueBoard. No more lurking, I promise! Anyway, I got in! Going to Rutgers for the third time, this time with a PB. Kip and Mrs. Bear, look forward to seeing you again! I'm not sure if I can make a BlueBoard dinner as my daughter has a soccer game that ends around 6:30. I probably won't get there until 8 or 9 or later depending on traffic. This time I hope I don't get lost on those crazy New Jersey roads!
#24 - August 16, 2014, 11:45 AM

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I'm in too. Will look forward to meeting everyone!
#25 - August 16, 2014, 12:18 PM
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DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS - Putnam (coming in 2020)

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I was just reading through the twitter chat that Sheri referenced above. Is the one-on-one really 45 minutes? That's fantastic and good to know as I'll definitely need to prepare additional questions ahead of time. What kinds of questions/issues have people talked over with their mentors in the past?
#26 - August 16, 2014, 12:45 PM
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DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS - Putnam (coming in 2020)

Hi Carrie, Look forward to meeting you! Yes, the one-on-one is 45 minutes, which is long enough to discuss the manuscript you submitted and to ask questions about pitches and other manuscripts. Some mentors are willing to read another short manuscript and provide suggestions. Some mentees provide a list of pitches and ask which topics would be of most interest.
#27 - August 16, 2014, 01:26 PM
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Thanks, Ellen! I'll definitely prepare some pitches. I subbed a picture book and it shouldn't take that long to discuss, which should leave plenty of time for other things.

I'm pretty sure I will stay overnight so hopefully we can meet up for dinner.
#28 - August 16, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Hello.
I will be attending the Rutgers One on One for my third time. I will be flying in from Boston on Friday  and leaving Sunday morning. I would love to meet up with others for dinner on Friday or Saturday. Any plans in this direction?
I'll be staying at the Hyatt.
Jan Donley
YA author (and other things)
#29 - September 19, 2014, 07:20 AM

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Hi all, I'm getting so excited! I made a hotel reservation for Friday night, and would love to join for dinner, if others are still up for that. I'll be driving up with my CP (yay!), so she and I will be practicing pitches in the car.

I would also love if we could introduce ourselves. I'm a MG writer. I'm coming to the conference with a MG fantasy - it's actually the same one that I went to the conference with last year, but this year I'm in the querying trenches with it. I've also started writing another MG fantasy and a lower MG contemporary, and I dabble in PBs, but haven't really gotten my voice there yet, I think. I'm from just outside of DC. Can't wait to meet you all!
#30 - October 04, 2014, 03:36 AM
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