Writing For Teens By Mridu Khullar

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You’ve looked at the magazines and thought, “Heck, I could do this!” Is it really as easy as it seems, or do you still have a lot to learn?

I used to look at the magazines my teenage neighbor and her friends read and think, “Heck, I could do that!” So one day, I borrowed her magazines.

Teenage magazines have changed since we were teens, I can tell you that. No longer do they advocate sex after marriage and accepting your body for what it is. Teenage magazines today are a whole different gamut. So, if you go into shock mode quickly, this market isn’t your cup of tea.

If you want to get published in the teenage market, you have to be familiar with the slang that kids these days use. Gone are the days of the grammar appropriate “I have a crush on…” Now girls are crushing on guys, hanging with their friends and trying to achieve super cool status. And if you’ve got a problem with that, take a chill pill!

When writing for teenagers, you’ve got to be one. You’ve got to think like a thirteen-year old trying to figure out if the guy she’s crushing on really likes her or not. It might not be a big deal for you, but for that thirteen-year-old, it’s her life. It’s important.

Which brings me to another important aspect. You need to give importance to the subject matter. If you think fighting with your best friend is no big deal, you have no place writing for this market. On the other hand, if you whole-heartedly believe that the sole reason of your existence is the guy you can’t take your eyes off of, then you might have a chance.

Writing articles, quizzes and short stories for this particular market can be a lot of fun. Connect with the younger side of you and write about the ups and downs of high school, making and breaking friends, dating and dumping guys and most importantly, accepting the person you are – in mind and in body. Teenage girls have many more issues with their bodies than do boys, and this is the reason that girl magazines far outnumber magazines for boys.

Before you start though, you might want to meet up with some youngsters to get a hold of their priorities, their interests and their lifestyle. If you don’t have the mindset of a teenager and aren’t capable of the thought processes of one, you’re not going to find success here.

In writing a query to the editor, the most important aspect is your idea and its presentation. Through your query, the editor has to know your voice, your talent and how much you understand this particular age group. It should be apparent from your query that you understand the publication and its requirements. The study-your-market rule applies even more strictly to this market as each magazine has its own lingo and voice.

The pay rates of these magazines, like other consumer magazines, vary widely depending on the publication and its requirements. In general, you can earn anywhere from $10 to $1000 for a single article. Quizzes are very popular among teens and can also pay quite well. If you’re a cartoonist or illustrator, you can add even more. Since they are geared towards young girls with a mission of having fun, most magazines in this category use cartoons and funky designs instead of photographs.

So, what are you waiting for? Bring out those high school photographs and, like, get writing already!

American Girl
Magazine Department Assistant
P.O. Box 620986
Middleton, WI 53562-0986.
Pays: $300-$500 and up
Guidelines: http://www.americangirl.com/corp/guidelines/index.html
American Girl is a bimonthly, four-color magazine for girls ages 8 and up. The lead time is approximately six months, and they’re looking for not only articles and stories, but visual puzzles, mazes, math puzzles, word games, simple crosswords, cartoons, and other ideas. They especially welcome seasonal ideas and do not accept email queries.

Girls’ Life
4517 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
Contact: Sarah Cordi
Email: sarah at girlslife.com
Pay: Varies for all rights
Guidelines:
Girls’ Life is a magazine for girls in their teens. Email queries are acceptable. This is a query only publication. While querying, provide published writing samples and detailed resume. The normal response time is 90 days, though rejections usually take less time.

Guideposts for Teens
P.O. Box 638
Chesterton, IN 46304
Contact: Betsy Kohn, Editor
EMail: gp4t at guideposts.org
Pays: $150-$500 for all rights
Website: http://www.guideposts.org
“Guideposts for Teens is published for teenagers ages 12-18. It is a 48+-page, 4-color, value-centered magazine that offers teens advice, humor, and true stories–lots of true stories.”

SG: Surf Snow Skate Girl
950 Calle Amanecer, Suite C,
San Clemente, CA 92673
Robyn Lass-Editor
Kim Stravers-Managing Editor
All queries should be addressed to Managing Editor at: sgmag at primedia.com
Pays: $0.15-$0.30/word
“Their target audience will be girls between 15 and 22 and their issues will feature how-to stories, contest coverage, travel stories. They also cover fashion, beauty, health, letters, music, art, entertainment figures and horoscopes for a complete lifestyle publication that will be different from other teen publications because of their emphasis on board sports and its culture.”

Mridu Khullar is a freelance writer based in New Delhi, India. Her work has appeared in a number of national and online publications and she is the Editor-in-Chief of www.WritersCrossing.com. Subscribe to the ezine and get a free copy of the Markets for Freelance Writers ebook with over 400 paying markets.