It's no secret that one of the best ways to break into the children's magazine markets is with nonfiction. So follow these 6 tips to have the best chance of acceptance with your short articles for children:
1. Study the markets - Each children's magazine is different, with a different style, voice, and variety of subject matter. Take time to study the markets you wish to submit to and you'll know which ones are the most appropriate for the articles that you wish to write.
2. Study Past Issues - Besides studying current issues of each publication you wish to write for, look at several past issues of each publication. Make a list of the various nonfiction article titles in each issue to get a "feel" for the way various authors narrowed their focus for each topic they wrote about. One of the big mistakes most beginning children's writers make with their nonfiction articles is that they don't narrow the focus of the article enough. If you want to write about camels, for example, don't propose an article that tells anything and everything about camels. Instead, focus on just ONE aspect about camels and develop your article around that.
3. Include subtopic headings when writing your article - These will break up your article into "chunks" which are easier for young readers to read. These subtopic headings will also "lead" the reader through your article. They will also make your article "look" more like nonfiction instead of fiction.
4. Give your topic an unusual slant that will appeal to kids and editors alike - When you do this, your article won't sound so much like a textbook. And articles that sound too much like textbook material are NOT in big demand with magazine editors.
5. Consider topics that will relate to themed publications - Many children's magazines have themes for each issue. And, even for publications that do not have themed issues, editors still look for topics that can be used for holiday issues as well as other seasonal issues. For example, most publications feature some sort of back-to-school articles in their August or September issues. In the summer months, these same publications tend to feature articles that give vacation tips or crafts ideas and games to keep kids occupied during the summer. So, be sure to include some of these types of article ideas in your queries.
6. Look for lesson known publications - Competition is fierce for Highlights, Spider, Cricket, and most of the very popular publications for children. You'll automatically increase your chances for acceptance if you query publications that don't receive so many queries.
Try these 6 tips and it shouldn't take you long to start receiving acceptances from the children's magazines that you query.
For more tips and articles about writing for children, visit the National Writing for Children Center and join the Children's Writers' Coaching Club at http://www.cwcoachingclub.com
Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, children's author, writing coach, and founder and director of The National Writing for Children Center at http://www.writingforchildrencenter.com