I began my writing career over ten years ago by writing for children. I started out that way because – I confess – I thought it would be “easy”. Okay, I really dislike rude awakenings, but I was soon disabused of that notion and realized, like many things, it’s not so easy. But after making some classic beginner’s mistakes, I discovered it’s not that hard, either. In subsequent years I’ve had many many sales to children’s magazines, play publishers, e-zines and other kid driven publications. I’ve learned much. The scope of what you can write for children is vast, too. If you like to write for children, broaden your horizons and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find what’s out there. Here are five niches; maybe one of them is just right for you.
Kids still love them. Many children’s magazines like Highlights, Cricket and Stories for Children consider well written, age appropriate rhyming poetry. The same goes for picture books, though it can be daunting to face the competition in that arena. However, rhyme, near rhyme and uplifting or humorous verse is used sometime and somewhere in most children’s publications.
1. Cricket – Pays $3 per line
2. Pockets – Pays $25 and up
3. Shine Brightly – Pays $5 – $15
4. US Kids – Pays $35
5. Now, if you do want to try the picture book scene, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Ltd., a Canadian publisher, is currently seeking submissions. Find information on their website found here: http://www.fitzhenry.ca/submissions.aspx
Plays and Skits
Every year certain publishing companies go looking for fresh play and skit material for their program books and catalogs. Remember, like all good writing, it’s about the story. If you think you have a great story idea for a play or skit, first get it down on paper. Have some kids act it out for you so you can see what works or what doesn’t. When you’ve found your publisher, make sure you follow the guidelines closely.
1. Meriwether Publishing – Offers both royalty and non-royalty payment depending on type of submission
2. Plays Magazine – Rates vary with length of manuscript
3. Eldrige Plays – Pays 50% on royalties
4. Heuer Publishing – Pays royalties
5. Pioneer Drama – Offers contract
I have a writer friend who consistently sells to Science World. She has an amazing grasp of a great variety of subjects and is a diligent researcher. Your excellent bibliography will go a long way to show editors that you’re serious and knowledgable about your chosen, or their themed, subject.
1. National Geographic for Kids – Pays $1 per word. Query Marc Lismi at mlismi -at- ngs.org
2. Odyssey – Pays $0.20 – $0.25 per printed word.
3. Highlights – Pays $150 and up.
4. Sylvan Dell – offers advance against royalties.
If you think short stories in general have gotten short shrift in the last twenty years or so, you’re right. But when it comes to kids the short story rules.
1. Kids Ark – Pays $100 per story.
2. Catholic Forester – Pays $0.50 per word.
3. Fun for Kids – Pays $0.05 per word. Fun for Kids has three magazines in at this one website.
4. Young Rider – Pays $150 per story. Like animals? This magazine wants your short story about horses.
5. Keys for Kids – Pays $25 for accepted stories.
Coloring and Activity Books / Articles
Think of the variety of these books that you can find almost everywhere from dollar stores to the Disney brands sold in high end boutiques. Someone has to write them. If your brain is jumping with cute ideas to keep young minds engaged this could the niche for you.
1. Warner Press – Payment varies.
2. Sterling Publishing – Payment negotiated. Sterling is a publisher with many imprints. Have fun here!
3. Girlworks – Pays $50 per page
4. Group Publishing – Payment begins at $150. Be sure to give Group a thorough look for all the areas where they accept submissions.
I still write for children and always have fun doing it. It takes time and some talent, but I’ve found it quite rewarding and if you’re inclined this way at all, so will you.
Susan Sundwall is a freelance writer from upstate New York eagerly awaiting a response on her resource book proposal at Group Publishing. She can be reached at: scsundwall -at- gmail.com