The first (and possibly the most important) step to writing for publication is to read the writers guidelines and a few of the organization’s publications to get an idea of what they publish. So, if you are looking to lose an editor immediately, simply skip this step.
Three out of the four editors I interviewed mentioned that not taking time to read the writers guidelines or research their magazine will increase your chance of rejection. These guidelines hold crucial information, such as story length, voice, audience, type of stories, font and spacing, how/where to send your manuscript or whether to send a query letter first.
ADVICE FROM THE EDITORS
Assistant Editor Kate Jameson from Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr. Magazine suggests that if you want your work to actually be accepted, take time to learn about the publication. “Don’t send stories blind,” said Jameson. “Do your research. Know what the publication needs and the tone and style it uses.”
Editor Kandi Zeller from Unlocked Teen Devotional (sister publication of Keys for Kids), stated that “We love freelance writers. They are an important part of God’s kingdom; they share the Gospel with their words.” But she also noted the importance of knowing how to write to suit a specific publication.
“The guidelines are carefully crafted to reflect the needs of the publication,” said Zeller. “Following the guidelines will help you make good connections with the editor and with any other people who are involved in making decisions whether or not to accept your piece.”
For example, “Our devotional stories follow a specific format and style,” said Editor Courtney Lasater of Keys for Kids devotionals. She encourages writers to check out their detailed writer’s guidelines and to read a sample devotion. “Also, most of our stories feature an illustration that uses an everyday object or situation to help kids understand a spiritual concept,” said Lasater.
If you would like to take their advice, here are a few links to get you started:
- Keys for Kids writer’s guidelines: keysforkids.org/writersguidelines
- Keys for Kids sample devotions: keysforkids.org/devo
- Unlocked writer’s guidelines: unlocked.org/teen-devotional-guidelines
- Unlockedsample devotion: unlocked.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/unlocked-teen-devo.pdf
- Clubhouse Jrmagazine writer’s guidelines: clubhousejr.com/en/submission-guidelines.aspx
- Clubhouse Jr sample magazines: Send $2.50 and a large self-addressed stamped envelope to Kate Jameson, Clubhouse Jr Assistant Editor, Focus on the Family, 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Or call to the address below or call 1-800-232-6459.
- Clubhouse magazine writer’s guidelines: clubhousemagazine.com/submission-guidelines
- Clubhouse sample magazines: Send $2.50 and large self-addressed stamped envelope to Rachel Pfeiffer, ClubhouseAssistant Editor, Focus on the Family, 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Or call to the address below or call 1-800-232-6459.
But remember, if you want to lose an editor, skip this step altogether!
Cindy works as marketing manager and brand storyteller for Child and Parent Services, a nonprofit child abuse prevention organization. She has written more than 525 articles for publication and a handful of book excerpts. Her published portfolio includes children’s stories, kids’ activities, profiles, how-to, humor and human interest. Cindy’s website here.