Getting published in children’s magazines: Wise words from Annaleise Byrd, Ayesha Uddin & Melissa Salisbury
Happy chatter filtered through the congregation of authors, illustrators, creators, and booklovers who had gathered in the beautiful Mount Coo-tha Botanical Gardens for the July meeting of Writelinks. As we settled in, our attention was directed to the array of magazines on each table. Those around me started reaching for a copy and thumbing through them. Glimpses of eye-catching titles and colourful information caught my eye, so I jumped right in and started flicking through as well. Wow, much better than any magazine I’ve looked at lately! Where do I sign up?
Cue our presenters Annaleise Byrd, Ayesha Uddin and Melissa Salisbury.
A hush fell over the room, a telephone rang, and the stage was set for a hilarious four-character play written by Annaleise and published in the Oct ’22 edition of Touchdown, The School Magazine series aimed at children 11yrs +. Seriously, the room was in stiches, and I thought to myself ‘this would be so much fun to do with the kids at school.’ Plays like these which are highly accessible, highly entertaining, and involve minimal props are staples in the magazines. My teacher brain jumped out of holiday mode and was thinking, “AWESOME! The kids would love this!’’
As a teacher, and a mum of kids that I know would absolutely love to be regular readers of these publications I was completely sold on The School Magazine and Kookie magazine… but that’s not why we were all there! The presentation continued with amazing insights into getting involved and becoming part of these collective pages of awesomeness! And yes, we can be paid to contribute to these magazines.
Annaleise, Melissa, and Ayesha shared with us their experiences of the first times seeing their work published in print and the thrill of knowing their work was going to be read by children across the country.
They offered the following advice for being successful:
- Read the submission guidelines carefully.
- Write about something you are passionate about.
- Send in multiple submissions.
- And DON’T GIVE UP!
They also elaborated on the formats the magazines are looking for:
- Persuasive Pieces
And shared with us their successfully published works with insights into the processes and backgrounds behind their pieces. Successful submissions by other Writelinkers Yvonne Mes, Rebecca Sheraton and Sandhya Parappukkaran were also explored. Interestingly, a common theme was that these submissions were often stories that had been written for various short story competitions and had been unsuccessful in the competitions but then had found their home in the pages of the magazines. Note to self – do not write off unsuccessful submissions, look for ways to reinvent them, they just haven’t been read by the right set of eyes, reading for the right audience yet.
Elaborating on their publishing experiences, it was interesting to hear the two very different approaches the magazines take when compiling submissions, although both approaches obviously result in high quality, engaging publications.
The School Magazine is comprised of four series aimed at different aged audiences:
- Countdown, 7-9yrs, inspires new readers.
- Blast Off, 9-10yrs, captivates independent readers.
- Orbit, 10-11yrs, lures skilled readers.
- Touchdown, 11 yrs +, fascinates capable readers.
When working with this publication the presenters said they were very approachable, quick with their communication and did minimal edits and changes to the original submission. They do fact check your work (a good indication of high quality and high standards). Ten issues per year.
Youkie Magazine (formally Kookie Magazine aimed to empower and assure preteen girls 8-12yrs) is now aimed at all kids 8yrs+. It has retained the same fundamental messages to create a better brighter world with empowered, positive, engaged and informed youth who are active participants in society. Their content slogan is “No fashion, no beauty, no shopping, no gossip, no celebrities, no plastic and absolutely no ads”. When working with this publication the presenters advised to pitch them a few ideas and they will commission you to write the ones that they are interested in. They are actively involved in the shaping and editing of your work so that it embodies the values and high standards of their publication. They are fantastic to work with and have invaluable industry knowledge. Youkie produces four issues per year. It was encouraging to hear of the positive relationships the two organisations form with their creative contributors to generate the best content possible their young audiences.
I found, from an author/illustrator perspective, the points that really piqued my interest were:
- Easy submission process – very user-friendly website applications.
- Fast feedback – within two days, be sure to check your JUNK FOLDER for correspondence.
- Wonderful people to work with who have pride in their publications.
- Respected teams with terrific industry backgrounds.
- Having your work included is an honourable addition to your CV.
- It is a good standard of pay, and you are paid on publication.
So, I don’t know about you, but as soon as I am finished writing to all you lovely folks about the great insights and motivating reasons to create content as described by Annaleise, Melissa, and Ayesha, I am going to get cracking on some short, sharp, and engaging writing to send into The School Magazine and Youkie. So, dust off those forgotten entries from competitions past and polish up those new ideas because it sounds like a win, win, win, win avenue to explore.
Did I mention that to get into the right head space you can get your hands on past copies of the magazines by ordering online from The School Magazine and Youkie websites, looking in your local library or checking out some past articles on YouTube – brilliant!
Youkie website: https://youkiemag.com/
The School Magazine website: https://theschoolmagazine.com.au/
Huge thanks to Annaleise Byrd, Melissa Salisbury, and Ayesha Uddin for all the time and effort they put into creating this inspiring presentation for us. The slides from the presentation are available to Writelink members in the ‘Files’ section. I look forward to reading all your works in future magazines, happy writing!
Aspiring Picture Book author and Illustrator
Proud member of Writelinks
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