Will kids like my story? You ask yourself a hundred times. Your most discerning critics are your readers. The closer your story or article resembles the characteristics your audience admires, the more a young listener will identify with it.
Here are some tips to keep in mind before submitting your manuscript.
Supplement your story or article by paying special attention to what’s selling today. Relate it to your own personal experiences, your everyday environment and your imagination.
Read the current best-selling titles.
Research the publication of the subject you’re writing and gear your story to what they want.
As you read through your manuscript, close your eyes and rehearse in your mind how it will come across.
Read your manuscript out loud. By doing this you’ll find it easier to bring clarity and substance to your voice in the story.
Cut any descriptive passages that don’t advance the story. Do away with pretty speeches and superfluous characters.
Insert comic relief. Most children will read second-rate stories peppered with humor.
If you have trouble ending the story, wrap it up. „So they found the magic clue and solved the mystery of the missing sock.“
Think about the message you’re implying.
Here’s a sample listing of markets and items to check out before sending your manuscript, story or article. Your best bet is to submit to places that have the highest percentage of first time authors.
Absey and Company
Absey and Company publishes fiction story picture books for ages 4-10; chapter books for ages 5-10; and YA books for ages 12-18. Nonfiction books include educational titles for ages 0-18 and limited teacher resources. Topics: biographies, religion, history, activities, and poems.
Out of the 10 titles published, 9 were by new authors to the publication. All were developed from unsolicited manuscripts. Receives 1000 + queries per year.
Editors strongly suggest that new authors read their titles to get a better idea of what they sell. The manuscript needs to be edited and first-rate in every way.
Interesting title include Saving the Scrolls, a YA book by Mary Kerry. The story recounts the adventures of an Egyptian Princess on a quest to save the library containing the scrolls.
Payment policy varies. Query with resume, outline, and sample chapters. No simultaneous submissions. Send with SASE to Absey and Company; 23011 Northcrest Drive; Spring, TX 77389; Publisher: Edward E. Wilson. Response time 6-9 months. Guidelines: www.absey.com
The Cousteau Society
Dolphin Log is an educational journal for children ages 7-13 featuring Informational articles relating to the ocean and its unique life forms
Articles: 400-600 words and shorter pieces to 250 words.
Publishes 4 freelance submissions annually with 50% by new authors to the magazine. Receives 4 queries monthly.
If you can illustrate your story in a way that appeals to children, it is a huge plus. „Ghost in the Night,“ about a type of crab is a good example.
One-time and reprint rights. Pays on publication $100-$300 for articles and $15-$100 for shorter pieces. Payment for artwork varies.
Simultaneous submissions accepted if identified. Send query with SASE to Dolphin Log; The Cousteau Society; 710 Settlers Landing Road; Hampton, VA 23669-4035. Editor: Lisa Rao. Response time: 4-6 weeks.
Ladybug feature colorful stories and articles for children ages 2-6.
120 freelance submissions published yearly. 50% by new authors to the magazine. Receives 200 unsolicited mss monthly.
Articles: Up to 300 words. Topics: Humor, informational and how-to pieces.
Fiction: 100-800 words. Broad range of genres including early-reader and picture stories. .
„Dog Talk,“ is a story about a dog explaining the sounds and actions he makes.
Articles and fiction, $.25 a word. Pays on publication. Send complete ms with exact word count in a SASE to Ladybug; Cricket Magazine group; P.O. Box 300, 315 Fifth Street; Peru, IL 61354. Response time: 3-4 months. Guidelines: www.cricketmag.com