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Magazine Market What Should I Know.

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I have a few ms not quite right for a picture book.  Not quite right for a MG nor YA.  Thought maybe would see if they would work for the magazine market.  How long are they usually?  Since the pay is low do not require as much polish? 

Thank you,
#1 - April 23, 2011, 05:46 PM

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You need to spend a little time reading children's magazines--you'll find that your assumptions are not correct. Magazine stories are different but they must be just as polished as manuscripts for book publication. Lengths vary considerably, depending on age group, type of material, etc.

You should also visit Jan Field's excellent resource site, Kid Magazine Writers
#2 - April 23, 2011, 06:32 PM
Harold Underdown

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The magazine market is highly competitive.  You'll find information on each magazine's word count on their websites.  It pays to examine back copies before submitting to get a feel for each magazine's style.  You can view past copies of some magazines at your local library, or you can order sample copies of magazines through their website. 
#3 - April 23, 2011, 06:58 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
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Thank you for the helpful advice.

jojocookie :shrug:
#4 - April 24, 2011, 06:05 AM

If the stories are for preschool children or younger, you'll be looking at word counts from 50 - 500 words, with the average being closer to 300. Work must be very polished for this group as the competition is fierce. Some magazines to read for the best available in this age range are Highlights, Ladybug/Babybug,  and Turtle/Humpty Dumpty. There are religious magazines for the young market too, including Focus on the Family Junior. There are also online magazines that use material for very young children some like Stories for Children, and (I believe) Guardian Angel Kids. And they may be slightly less competitive since the pay is so low in them.

On the up side, a story in Highlights has more then a million readers. Just think of how few picture books can boast that. Plus, magazines like Highlights and Ladybug regularly use amazing illustrators -- I know I've always been delighted by the illustrations used with my work in all the Carus magazines.

One thing to keep in mind, most of these magazines basically eat up all available rights. I know for Turtle/Humpty Dumpty, buying all rights can mean reusing your story forever and changing it on a whim (sometimes with not so nice results) without consulting you. Highlights and the Carus group have always included me in all editing decisions, which I appreciate.
#5 - April 24, 2011, 06:47 AM

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Hi Jojocookie,

I'm new too. Welcome!

I started writing for kids about 3 years ago and have found the magazine market to be extremely competitive.  I think I was in shock for a while, actually, when I first started.  I'd switched from a career in business consulting and technology management to something I thought would be fun, easy, and less stressful.  Um yeah, boy was I WRONG.  Fun - definitely. Easy - definitely NOT - it's more competitive than my previous career - I learned that the hard way when my first sub boomeranged back with a great big form rejection.    

Here are a few stats. They're from the Magazine Markets for Children's Writer 2009 (So the stats are a couple of years old... sorry, I don't have the latest market guide):

Highlights for Children: receives 6500 mss, publishes 200 freelance mss yearly
Hopscotch for Girls: receives 3600 mss, publishes 100-250 yearly
Jack and Jill: receives 1200, publishes 10 yearly
Spider: receives 3600, publishes 50 yearly

These average to about 5% of subs being accepted (just based on the mags above)... Of course as Jan indicated some of the lower paying mags may be a little less competitive, but I actually had several rejections from Guardian Angel Kids before receiving my first acceptance from them because they only have room for a couple of stories per issue.  So like everyone here has said... yes, our manuscripts should definitely be as polished as possible - especially based on these stats. Good luck!
#6 - April 24, 2011, 08:59 AM
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 03:08 PM by Starfish »
Anita N. Amin
RAJA’S PET CAMEL (Cardinal Rule Press, 2020); THE LEGACY OF RASHMI BAZAAR (Teacher Created Materials, Oct 2019) And more in 2020-2021

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A magazine story is still a story, not a short version of something you think doesn't work as a picture book, or a middle grade novel.

the pay has nothing to do with it = they aren't going to publish a badly written piece.

It has to be extremely polished. Study, really study and tear apart stories in Highlights, and other children's magazines.

As far as pay and all rights, Highlights is a great publisher. Besides the fact that they have over a million subscribers, publishers = especially elementary school test publishers, will buy stories from them, and Highlights will send the author some of the $ the rec'd for the story. [ They don't have to but they do.]

Enjoy researching children's magazines.


#7 - April 24, 2011, 09:00 AM

Thanks for all the impute.  Wow.  I have paid $70.00 for a manuscript to be edited and critiqued.  Some mag say they will pay $70.00.  Means I come out even.  

Oh Well,
#8 - April 24, 2011, 01:58 PM

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You might want to consider joining a critique group.  If you have a good mix of people, they can really help with knowing where, and sometimes how, to do your polishing.  It won't cost you anything except the willingness to return the favor to the rest of your group.

Best wishes to you!
#9 - April 24, 2011, 05:22 PM


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