How to write for teen magazines

Written by kelli rogers
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How to write for teen magazines
Teen publications are always looking for fresh ideas and content. (Theme: teens, education, sport. image by Andrey Kiselev from

Writing for teen magazines can be very rewarding. Many teen magazines provide information on topics that are of great importance to teens whether they are interested in fashion, relationships, health and fitness or current events. By providing information written in a way that speaks to teens without lecturing or being heavy handed, teen publications can be a valuable learning tool in a teen's life. Writing for teen magazines is one way that you can help young people navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Word processing software

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  1. 1

    Explore teen magazine selections at your local bookstore or supermarket. Search for common elements in teen publications and pay close attention to the language and tone they use. Some teen magazines, such as "Seventeen" and "CosmoGirl", cover general interest topics including beauty and relationships while others, such as "New York Times Upfront", cover current events.

  2. 2

    Select two or three teen magazines to which you would like to submit your work. Order several back issues of these magazines or read them online to see which topics have already been covered. If possible, find out if a list of upcoming topics or themes is available for future issues. Many teen publications use in-house staff to provide features and columns; few features are written by freelance writers. Filler content such as quizzes, puzzles and factoids are very popular in teen magazines. Writing filler content is a good way to break into the teen magazine market.

  3. 3

    Pay close attention to the submission guidelines of the teen magazine to which you are submitting your writing. Learn the requested word count, the editor's name and find out if queries or unsolicited manuscripts are accepted. The initial contact with the editor is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to write for a teen audience and follow directions, making it more likely that the editor will consider your work. Some teen magazines, such as "Teen Ink" and "Seventeen" publish their submission guidelines online. Other teen magazines publish the guidelines inside the cover of the magazine. If the guidelines are not available in print or online, write a letter to the magazine requesting them.

  4. 4

    Submit only your very best work. Ask your teen aged family and friends to read your work and listen closely to their feedback. If submitting a query letter first, explain how your idea is unique and fresh while demonstrating an understanding of teens and their interests. Use the query letter as an opportunity to display your voice and talent to the editor. Make it clear that you have researched the teen magazine market and you are aware of the audience's interests. If submitting a full manuscript, be consistent in voice and tone, stay on topic and pay attention to the teen audience's needs in both subject matter and vocabulary.

  5. 5

    Continue researching teen magazines and be prepared to resubmit your work elsewhere if it gets rejected at first. Join a local writer's group that focuses on writing for children and young adults. Subscribe to newsletters that offer tips and ideas for young adult and teen writing. Search the internet for blogs and forums that provide lists of publications, ideas on the teen magazine trends and advice on writing for teens. Realise that the teen magazine publishing market is very competitive and if you are not accepted at the first few publications you submit articles to, do not stop trying.

Tips and warnings

  • Write with an assured voice. Teenagers appreciate someone who knows what they are talking about without appearing "preachy".
  • Be aware that you are attempting to sell your work not only to teens but also to the adults who are providing the teens with money to purchase the publications, the adult staff and the advertisers.
  • Writing for smaller, lesser-known publications is a great way to break into the writing business. The more popular the magazine, the more stiff the competition is to break in.
  • If you are not a teen, do not use teenage slang. Write using a tone and language fitting to your target audience.

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