This is exciting – a new international children’s magazine offering a paying market for short fiction. The magazine will be online and is called Zizzle. It is aimed at 9-14 year olds and will have a literary bent so bear this in mind for submissions. They are looking for short stories from 500-1200 words and will pay US $100 for each story accepted for the inaugural issue. After that, contributors will be paid as much as funds will allow.
Launched a year ago, The Caterpillar is a quarterly children’s magazine featuring fiction, poetry and artwork for children aged 7-11. Read the poem and story on their site to get an idea of what they like, or better still buy a copy. They accept fiction up to one thousand words and up to six poems as word or pdf attachments (the poems should be in a single document). They prefer email submissions but do provide a postal address, and it can take up to three months for them to respond.
I haven’t been able to find a link to buy a single copy (rather than a subscription) from the site so I’ve emailed them for information. I’ll post more when I can read a copy. From what I’ve seen so far it looks like great fun and a wonderful opportunity for writers if you can fit their gently humorous style.
I’ve just heard about this competition which closes in a week, but with only 50 words to write you can hit the deadline easily – can’t you?
Write a ghost story for The Times in 50 words and win £200 worth of books (selected for you, not by you) and a signed set of Susan Hill’s ghost stories. Email or post by 5 pm on Tuesday 23 Oct, UK and ROI residents only. Full details here. For tips from Susan Hill on writing to spook, read her article online.
A fun challenge that may plant the seed for a short story or novel further down the line… Good luck!
Spellbound is a quarterly e-zine, also available for download to e-reader, and is produced by small publisher Eggplant Literary Productions. Aimed at children aged 8-12, each issue is themed around a different fantasy element. The next theme if you are submitting between October and December is changelings and doppelgängers. This is an American market and payment is 2.5c a word up to 2,500 words. They also accept poetry. Read the guidelines carefully and submit by email with your story in the body of the email, not as an attachment.
This looks like a fun market to try; I like the challenge of having a different theme to write for each quarter. Just make sure you submit inside the reading period for your theme.
Now this sounds interesting. Gatwick Airport have started broadcasting children’s stories on the audio social network SoundCloud (a sort of audio YouTube) and are looking for children’s authors to send them stories. As far as I can see, they don’t pay, but the author retains the copyright which means you can send it elsewhere afterwards, plus you have, potentially, a huge audience for your work in the form of Gatwick Airport passengers.
They accept submissions by email only and you should specify whether your story is for the under 4s, 4-7, 7-9, 9-12 or 13+ age group. Here are the submission guidelines. You can also send them an excerpt from a novel if it makes sense as a stand-alone piece.
Thanks to Writers Online for the tipoff (like them on Facebook to get market tips and the latest writing news).
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!
Story Station is a part of viatouch.com which is a website of resources for teachers and parents. An American market, they pay 1c per world for short stories for children and young adults of between 1,500 to 3,000 words. Full submission guidelines can be found here, but basically they are looking for quality short stories with strong plot lines, a child protagonist or child character (not necessarily the viewpoint character) and an upbeat ending. If you read a few of the stories on there you will see that there is some quirky, original stuff as well as classic adventures but avoid the nastier end of horror. I was impressed by the quality. Maybe you can do just as well? Email submissions are preferred and they aim to respond within a month.
New e-publishers Alfie Dog Limited are looking for short stories to make available for download on their website, www.alfiedog.com. Submissions details are at http://alfiedog.com/submissions/ and http://alfiedog.com/submissions/submission-process/. Authors will receive just under half of the download fee, so for a 39p short story the author will receive 16p per download.
The publisher is aiming at an international audience and is has mentioned that she would love to see more children’s stories, although she considers any age group or genre. If you fancy dipping your toe in the electronic waters but don’t want to go it alone, this could be a market for you.
If you like writing short stories for children you’ll know they are hard to place, so I was chuffed to see in this month’s Writers’ News that the online magazine Knowonder! publishes a new story every day and is open to submissions.
Knowonder is dedicated to promoting reading and communication involving parents and children together. Their short stories are designed to be read aloud by the parent. They are looking for exciting, eventful narratives in the third person, past tense only, between 500 and 2000 words long and aimed at children between 3 and 10 years old. A look at previous stories shows that as well as printing original work they also have extracts from Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, retellings of fairy tales and fables, and Beatrix Potter and Hans Christian Anderson stories, which should give you a clue as to the sort of style and themes they are looking for.
You should read the submission information very carefully. Note above all that this is a US site so your work should make sense to American children (eg your character should not be walking along the pavement eating a jam sandwich!). They do not want stories about every day situations (such as walking along the pavement eating a jam sandwich). Stories should be action-driven and dynamic. I highly recommend writing something new for this market rather than trying to use existing material.
With a new story being printed every day, there is a great opportunity to get published here. Payment is between 25 and 50 US dollars depending on length. Submit only through the form on the site. The additional information in the third section of the submission page on writers’ guidelines is well worth a read for any aspiring children’s author.