Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Rutgers One-on-One conference (RUCCL) for the first time. I heard about the conference last August when I was at a Highlights retreat. Several people spoke highly of it there and I made a mental note to look into it.
However, because of my teaching schedule, it can be really hard to attend out-of-state conferences. So, when I saw that RUCCL just happened to fall on the weekend of my autumn break (one of the only long weekends I have all semester) I knew I had to apply! I mean, come on, I am writing a book about fate. ;) With help and advice from friends, I completed the application process and was accepted. Whew!
I wanted to pass on a little info about the conference to those that aren’t familiar with it.
There are so many things that make this conference special.
· All of the attendees must submit an application and are accepted on the basis of their writing and career bio. This means that editors and agents take the attendees more seriously than they might at other conferences.
· Usual conferences have a handful of editors and agents on hand to give talks and critiques…RUCCL had close to 100. It was a little mind-boggling to be in the same room with so many professionals!
· Each attendee is matched to an editor, agent, or author who is considered your “mentor” for the day. That person reads some of your work and then speaks with you for 45 minutes. Attendees can ask questions and receive feedback. Having this amount of one-on-one time with a professional is invaluable…and the reason for the conference’s name.
· The mentors are available throughout the day. You can eat lunch with whomever you want (your mentor or someone else’s), plus there is a “five-on-five” meeting where you get to meet other mentors and ask questions.
I will admit that I was nervous because I have never had an experience like this before, but I am so thrilled that I attended this year. I received a lot of useful feedback on the first pages of my WIP, my synopsis, and my query letter. I met many wonderful people, including editors and agents that share my interests as well as other YA writers. Another HUGE bonus of attending is that mentees can submit work to mentors who usually wouldn’t read unsolicited manuscripts. I still have work to do before I’m ready for that stage, but it’s a very good feeling to know that I now have a much wider field of potential readers than I would have had otherwise.
I would definitely encourage other writers in the query and subbing trenches to apply for Rutgers in the future. It is a great way to make new connections and learn more about the publishing business. In fact, I’m already thinking of applying again in the future!
Now, for my usual end-of-the-month calendar wrap up. I’m a day late on this (I’m going to blame daylight savings for that one), but here it is. It’s not as pretty as some months. I didn’t have nearly as much time as I would have liked for writing this last week. BUT, there’s always next month!