You've always wanted to write for children's magazines, but never knew how to go about it. Writing for children is a challenging field, but well worth the effort to achieve the elusive goal of becoming a published children's author. An abundance of children's magazines are available for kids, and all of them target a certain age range or hobby. Aspiring children's writers need to write the best short story or article they can before even thinking about submitting their work to magazine editors. By studying children's magazines and learning the kinds of stories they print, you can begin to understand what type of stories kids love to read.
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Study popular children's magazines like "Highlights" and "Cricket." See what types of short stories are published in the magazines. Each magazine has its own personality and publishes its own unique type of stories. All magazines are written for specific age levels and interests. If possible, subscribe to one or two children's magazines that you would like to write for. If this isn't possible, visit the public library to read the magazines you want to write for. You need to become familiar with a variety of children's magazines if you ever hope to get your work published in one.
Write a short story for kids. You can write in longhand if you wish, but keep in mind that it needs to be typed once you start submitting it to magazines. At this point, don't worry about submitting your story anywhere. You never want to submit a first draft of a story to a magazine. Nine times out of 10, you will be rejected. Stories need to be revised, revised and revised again to be ready for submission to a magazine's fiction editor.
Ask other children's writers to critique your story. Try to get into a critique group that focuses on children's literature. A group of children's writers at varying degrees of experience will be able to give you knowledgeable feedback concerning your work. They'll tell you the positive points of your story and what needs to be changed. Of course, you must all contribute to the group by critiquing the stories of your fellow writers.
Revise your story after it has been critiqued by your group members. If necessary, revise the piece several times. You need a pristine, polished short story to show to magazine editors.
Study copies of children's magazines and decide which ones would be most likely to publish the type of story you write. If you've written a story for kids between the ages of 8 and 12, make sure you don't send it to a magazine geared toward preschoolers.
Get your hands on the latest Children's Writers & Illustrators Market published by Writer's Digest Books. You can purchase this at a bookstore or find it in the reference section of the public library. Read up on how you should prepare your story for submission. In general, your manuscript should be double spaced using Times New Roman font in a 12-point size. Each page of your manuscript should be numbered and have your name on it in the header. The first page should have your contact information.
Flip through the Children's Writers & Illustrators Market and look at the submission guidelines for each magazine you are interested in submitting to. Most magazines require you to send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with your submission. Other magazines might permit you to send your story by e-mail. Whatever the case, make sure you follow the submission guidelines or the editor will probably not consider your story for publication.
Visit kidmagwriters.com. This is a useful website offering advice and writers' markets for children's writers. It contains useful articles that help new and seasoned children's story writers navigate the treacherous waters of writing for kids.
Submit your short story to a children's magazine, making sure you are sending it to a magazine that publishes the type of stories you write. Expect to wait at least three months for a response. If you submit by e-mail, you might get a faster response.
Prepare yourself to receive a rejection form letter. Children's magazines receive thousands of short story submissions each year, so you're competing against countless writers chasing the same dream you are pursuing. Editors are overworked and usually have time to stuff a form letter in an envelope along with the rejected story. Don't take this personally. Plenty of well-written stories are passed up by editors each day. You just have to keep submitting your story until you find the right editor and the right magazine for it.
Tips and warnings
- Never send the only copy of your story to a magazine. Make sure you always keep a copy of your work.
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