It’s to your advantage to become a contributing writer to a high-profile children’s magazine. Why get a magazine job? It provides steady work and a fairly reliable stream of income. Your resume will sparkle with numerous big-time credits. Plus, magazines reach tens of thousands of kids each issue, or even more for the really big ones. This is fantastic exposure for children’s book authors because it builds name recognition and therefore boosts sales of your books.
It’s easy to see that it’s advantageous to write steadily for a children’s magazine, but how can newbies and wannabes ever break into these highly competitive periodicals, let alone become one of their regular featured authors?
It can be done. I know it can, because I did it. But I’m not the only one. My writer friends have done it, too. That’s why I’m convinced you can experience success with this challenge as well.
How Do New Writers Get Noticed?
It helps to get a magazine job to start by setting short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals should include subscribing to the magazine and experiencing breakthrough. The best way to experience breakthrough in a children’s magazine is the same with most periodicals. Submit fillers such as puzzles, crafts, recipes, poems, and rebuses. If a magazine acquires photographs or recommended reading lists, submit those as well. If it features web content, submit fillers for its website. In other words, avoid trying to experience breakthrough by submitting for its feature fiction or nonfiction stories. These are prime spots that some children’s magazines have slotted for their favorite authors months or even a year in advance.
Tips to Experience Breakthrough
I remember when I taught about this at a writer’s conference. Most of the writers in my class wanted to experience breakthrough into the same high-profile children’s magazine. The editor was at the conference, and they had all scheduled private appointments with him. I took a poll of how many in my class had brought a feature fiction story to show this editor. 100% of them had.
Most of them admitted they’d been submitting feature fiction stories to him for years but had never received an acceptance. I explained that to experience breakthrough in a children’s magazine they needed to submit fillers. We then spent that class brainstorming lists of ideas for three to five fillers they could pitch to this editor instead of showing him their fiction stories. During the rest of that conference, a number of excited writers grabbed my arm at different times in the halls. For the very first time the editor had said, “Yes!” He’d given them deadlines and word counts and wanted them to send him their fillers. They had experienced breakthrough!
How Do Freelance Writers Write for Magazines?
Long-term goals should start with plans to submit a filler to your target magazine job every single month for two to three years. Your regular submissions show the editor you can handle steady writing gigs. You’ll build name recognition and hopefully start getting published in their pages. Meanwhile, make it a long-term goal to submit feature fiction or nonfiction articles two or three times a year to this magazine over a period of three to five years. Even if your writing isn’t up to the quality they purchase, simply because you’re already submitting steadily and getting published in their pages with fillers, the editor might start giving personal feedback to help improve your chances for acceptance.
With careful planning and steady work, you can become part of a stable of writers for a children’s magazine. Make it your goal, starting today. And to help make this goal a reality, share with us in the comments below what the first step is that you will take.
-Nancy I. Sanders is the award-winning and best-selling author of over 100 books. She is also the author of Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. Visit her website at www.nancyisanders.com.