The criteria for eligibility will be the same as those for the writing and illustration awards, with the exception that the winner(s)' published works cannot exceed three in number. An author or illustrator who has already received or has just been selected to win one of the Coretta Scott King Awards in the current year is not eligible for the John Steptoe Award for New Talent. An author may receive this award one time.
One award will be presented annually for text or illustrations. The Committee may choose to select one book for writing and a second book for illustration. The award need not be given if the committee so decides in a particular year.