Getting over your bad self: Writing for children’s markets

What is 8 pages long, is read by a very small audience, and has ONE OF MY STORIES ON THE COVER???

Our Little Friend magazine!

In this post, I’d like to share a bit about writing for children’s markets.

Like any field, writing comes with its own set of elitism. There are certain types of writing, and specific publications, that authors aspire to. So we all sweat and labor and send off our best 10,000 word literary essay to a giant in the industry, and cross our fingers until, oh, our next birthday. Duotrope (a database of publications for writers), has lists of the slowest and most challenging markets. For the top 25 slowest markets, the number of days an author has to wait to hear back about a submission ranges from 286 to 483 days–well over a year! And the statistics for the most challenging markets are even harder to swallow: all of the top 25 in this category accept less than half of one percent. It’s hard to imagine, but for one of the journals, a famous one that you can buy at any Barnes and Noble, an author would have to wait an average of 276 days to learn whether a submission fell into the .2% which are accepted–or the 99.8% which aren’t.

And that journal isn’t even first on either list.

This brings me to writing for children’s publications. Many authors ignore these markets, thinking that they aren’t literary enough, or important enough, or famous enough. As a former public school teacher, this attitude grosses me out (it’s why a teacher with a family of four qualifies for the food bank), but as an author it is just fine with me. It means there is less competition.

This week, I’ve got a piece on the cover of a sweet little devotional magazine. I can’t tell you how gratifying that is. They may have changed the title–a common editorial move that can happen anywhere–but look at the amazing illustration to go with it! And, something many writers don’t know: children’s markets pay, and they pay well. I got paid about $0.10/word for this story; that’s about $18/hour for this particular piece. Yes, there are higher paying markets out there, but I love the approachability of smaller journals. They are perfect for me at this stage in my writing career.

So, log onto Duotrope (or sign up if you haven’t already), and search up those markets who cater to kids. Children deserve well-crafted, meaningful writing–and hard-working authors in this genre can earn a decent wage.

I hope to read your name in one of the magazines my children bring home!


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