Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making the Case for Magazines - Again

Most writers yearn to publish a book. No surprise! Writing conferences, blogs and professional journals are mostly aimed at book publication. Five years ago, I wrote about magazine publication as an option. Since then, the traditional book market (especially for picture books) is even tighter. And the digital/app market for picture books? Unless you are an author/illustrator, or your work is already illustrated, you're pretty much out of luck. Apps are expensive to make and developers usually look for established authors or a branded series.

So why not write for magazines? You'll get some rejection letters, but aren't they're always part of the writing life? For non-fiction articles, you may have to write the dreaded query letter, but don't we all need practice with them? The only other disadvantages are smaller checks than a book advance and your moment of glory only lasts a month.

But consider the advantages:

1. You don't need an agent to submit.
2. Most magazine pieces are short - not as time consuming as producing a novel or picture book.
3. Using a different slant, you can often reuse your research for another piece.
4. You might see your name in print without waiting for years.
5. Often a wide audience sees your writing and you needn't spend hours on promotion.
6. You don't get wacky book reviews in professional journals.
7. Your magazine piece could earn additional money through reprint rights.
8. There are a bundle of contests and prizes to be won in the magazine world.

Magazines, anyone?

Next month I'll interview a senior editor at Highlights. Stay tuned.


  1. Gale, the only problem is that the writing in magazines seems to be so inferior to the majority of children's books. It tends to be simplistic and moralistic. At least that's my impression. But I will say that I would prefer to be published in a magazine than not to be published at all.

    1. Aiel,
      I don't think the magazine market has a lock on "simplistic and moralistic," many books fall into the category also.

    2. ARiel,
      Just noticed your name has a typo - sorry.

  2. Gale- Thanks for the reminder that there's more than one way to skin a... I mean, there are many avenues to becoming a published author. I will definitely keep my mind open to the magazine option. I grew up on Highlights and Ranger Rick- I loved all their fun stories!

  3. I completely agree with this post, Gale! Magazines are such a wonderful opportunity for writers!! I was so excited when I got my first short story acceptance from (online) magazine, Wee Ones! And I was thrilled when Cobblestone accepted my query and invited me to write the article I proposed. And when Highlights accepted three poems, I was through the moon! Thanks for the reminder! I've got some pieces to get out in the mail. Looking forward to your interview!

  4. Sharon and Brianna,
    It takes a little re-jiggering to write for magazines if you've only thought about books, but you can tell I think it's worth the effort.

    1. Hi, in looking up information about Highlights I came upon your blog, which I love. I was wondering if you could recommend other magazines that accept kids lit?