I am really pleased to come across yet another market for short stories for children. This one is called Cast of Wonders and it takes the form of a weekly podcast of science fiction and fantasy short stories for young adults aged 12 to 17, read expertly by Graeme Dunlop. They pay £5 per story at the moment but hope to pay more in future to attract good writers, although as listening to the podcasts is free they rely on donations. The exciting thing about this market is that you have flexibility in terms of length and subject, as long as it fits into the sci fi fantasy genre and is suitable for the age group (think Hunger Games as a rough guide to content). They also accept manuscripts from young authors (stage your age when submitting if you are under 18).
Submissions details are here and you need to send through their website.
One person who successfully submitted is Lucy Oliver, who has agreed to answer a few questions on the process and her writing journey.
What prompted you to submit to Cast of Wonders and how did you hear of them?
I found Cast of Wonders on Duotrope. I thought the site was very well designed and I liked the idea of Y/A podcasts.
Have you been published anywhere else?
I have been published in Take a Break, Fiction Feast, Cafelit, Stories for Children and various anthologies. I also won the Stylist Magazine Microfiction competition.
How important is persistence when you are submitting manuscripts? How do you stay motivated to keep trying?
It’s vital. But you do also need to be realistic. Writing is a skill and needs to be learned. It’s a long process. You do need to keep sending work out, but if it keeps coming back – try to work out why. A good critique by a third party can be extremely helpful. The work itself keeps me motivated. If I had nothing accepted, I would still write. I couldn’t give up the sense of exhilaration you get when a story starts to work and suddenly, you’re there with your characters feeling all their emotions.
These new niche markets are exciting opportunities for writers and small publishers. How do you see the future of children’s publishing now that we are moving away from traditional ink and paper?I think there will always be a place for paper and ink. I’ve got young children and they’re not into e-books. They like pictures and the fun of turning the pages. I think teenagers however, would be much more interested. The e-readers are smart and easy to use. A book is a book, no matter what method is used to read it and anything that encourages young readers is good.
And finally, when will your story be on Cast of Wonders and what is it called?
It is called, ‘Living Clay,’ and should be on site on the 18th May, but the exact date is still to be confirmed.
Cast of Wonders is a venture of Wolfsbane Publishing who also produce the horror podcast Cast Macabre. I visited their website/blog but found myself wading through spam comments that outnumbered the content many times over. Get yourselves a spam filter, guys!