Friday, February 08, 2008

Submitting to magazines: part two

What to write?

The answer to that question is simple: anything! No matter what you like to write, there is a children's magazine market for you. Children's magazines publish everything from word puzzles to novel excerpts. From tots to teens, secular and religious, online and print.

Not that breaking in to the children's magazine market is easy. It's not. I have the rejection slips to prove it. But there are some ways, I think, to make it a little easier on yourself.

I believe the number one way to break into publication in a children's magazine is to write fillers. You know, those little tid-bits like jokes and puzzles. My first sale to Highlights was a puzzle, and that's what I've sold the most of--to them anyway.

Don't think of puzzles as only word-searches and mazes. There are limitless possibilities when creating puzzles. You can try picture puzzles, word puzzles, logic puzzles, trick questions, "brain bender" activities. The more creative you are, the better your chances. And when submitting these, you can usually send several at once. I like to send three at a time.

Some magazine editors love to receive puzzles that accompany another submission, such as a story or non-fiction article. The Fun for Kidz magazines are one example.

But don't stop there. Another great way to get some attention is to write really great non-fiction. A lot of magazines (most?) use more non-fiction that fiction. Of course, when writing non-fiction it is important that you 1) choose a unique topic 2) write with flare (not like an encyclopedia) and 3) include good photos whenever possible.

Some examples of non-fiction that I have sold are critter articles, how-to pieces, and crafts.

Remember that not all non-fiction has to be in the form of an "article." Non-fiction can rhyme, be in the form of a quiz, interesting lists--be creative.

Speaking of being creative, what is more creative than poetry? True, poetry is often a hard sell. But magazines DO use it, and they will buy it if they love it. So if you love writing it, then submit it!

And of course, there's always fiction. All you picture book writers out there, try digging up some old stories that have been rejected too many times and try reworking them into magazine stories. The main difference between picture books and magazine stories is that picture books need pictures to make the stories complete, and magazine stories don't.

Study magazines, know what they publish, before you submit to them. Read as many children's magazines as possible. Study their websites. And of course, read their submission guidelines. Some magazines have theme lists, some only accept submissions at certain times, etc.

Oh, and here's another thing to remember. Don't scoff at the little guy. Lesser known magazines, e-zines and small publications that publish things like Sunday School take-home papers would probably be happy to consider your writing!

In my next post, more on the magazines I like to submit to.


  1. I've been so busy, I haven't had time to post. Thanks so much about posting on this subject. I am going to seriously consider looking into this as a way of building up my resume.


  2. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Hi! I stumbled across your blog and wanted to thank you for your insights and encouragement for writing for magazines. I think I'm going to start submitting some of my pieces to them. I'll be checking back at your blog often.
    Thank you.