Children's Magazine Writing
I have been writing for children's magazines for about 10 years and have been thrilled to see my work published in magazines like Babybug, Ladybug, Highlights, and High Five. Writing for children's magazines is a great way for beginning writers to get some experience writing for children, and for more experienced writers to find a market for those ideas that don't quite work in book format.
I presented on this topic in September, 2018, at the Writer's Loft in Sherborn, Mass., and also at the New England SCBWI conference in May, 2019, along with Christy Mihaly. If you are interested in having one or both of us present to your group about magazine writing please contact me!
In the meantime, here are a few resources that I share in my workshop.
Analyzing Magazines – Read Like a Writer
As with any genre, it's important to READ magazines before trying to write for them. As you read, ask yourself questions about each piece in the magazine, such as:
- what is the genre? topic? POV?
- what age level is this for?
- how long is it?
- how many and what type of illustrations?
- is this a recurring feature?
- does it have a seasonal or holiday tie-in?
I recommend doing this with several different issues of the same magazine. Write down your observations. You will start to see patterns, and also will develop your ability to make your work match the style and editorial requirements of a particular magazine.
Download this FREE Magazine Analysis Worksheet to help you read like a writer, think through questions, and record your observations.
Children's Magazine Writing – Articles & Resources
Below are the links I share in my workshop on writing for children's magazines.
SCBWI Blueboard (Magazines and EZines section)
- Lots of advice on querying, calls for magazine submissions, craft advice, and crowdsourced “response times” from magazines
Writing for Children’s Magazines - an ezine by Evelyn Christensen
- Links to guidelines, magazine overviews, editor interviews
SCBWI The Book (Free for members to browse online)
Children’s Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market (Writers’ Digest)
Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers (Institute for Writers)
Magazines for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers (The Winged Pen)
Writing & Submitting Tips
Writing for Children’s Magazines - Part 1- GROG post by Christy Mihaly
Writing for Children’s Magazines - Part 2- GROG post by Christy Mihaly
Writing for the Children’s Magazine Market by Barbara Gowan
Picture Book or Short Story? by Laura Purdie Salas
Picture Book Ideas: Picture Book or Short Story by Mary Kole
Magazine Stories versus Picture Books by Deirdre Mundy
Unusual Story Forms: Ways to Get Published Writing for Children’s Magazines by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
How to Write a Rebus by Tina Cho
Nonfiction Articles You Can Write - Part 1 by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
Nonfiction Articles You Can Write - Part 2 by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
Articles on writing nonfiction by Kirsten Larson:
Magazine nonfiction query samples by Kirsten Larson:
Query Letters: A Personal Journey by Vijaya Bodach
Doing the Submission Shuffle – Part 1 by Carrie Clickard
Doing the Submission Shuffle – Part 2 by Carrie Clickard
SCBWI Magazine Merit Award - don’t forget to apply!
“44 Pages” - Documentary about the history of Highlights magazine, available on Netflix
The Secret History of Cricket Magazine, ‘the New Yorker for Children’ by A.J. O'Connell
Beyond the Basics - Creating and Selling Short Stories and Articles. 6-week course in magazine writing from the Institute for Writers.