One of the ways to get your work published and build up your author/illustrator portfolio and presence is to submit stories/illustrations to magazines. Magazines don’t skimp on the quality of work they accept, but they have a higher through-put of stories than is possible when publishing books. Have a look in industry magazines and newsletters for publications that are specifically calling out for submissions.
One such publication is The School Magazine. It’s iconic, and I’ve yet to see it advertise for submissions. To me it’s the ‘Holy Grail’ of magazine publications for children, celebrating its centenary this year. 100 years of publishing the best authors and illustrators in Australia for an audience of thousands of primary school children. It’s where a number of our very eminent book creators got their start in the industry. If you haven’t picked up a copy of their treasury – For Keeps: Celebrating 100 years of the School Magazine, then I strongly recommend you do. It’s a fabulous history of the magazine, of children’s stories and of Australia, plus it’s bursting with fabulous stories that will give you an idea of the flavour of this amazing magazine.
You may remember my interview with Marian McGuinness who has had another of her stories published in the current issue of The School Magazine. Refresh your memory of this interview here. Here’s a photo of her with her latest, Maestro Mouse:
I heard the current editor, Alan Edwards speak at a CBCA event this week. (The photo below is Marian introducing Alan to the group.) It was amazing to hear how the magazine is put together – the eight staff (over six positions) work on each issue 6 months in advance. In relation to author submissions, Alan said that it is read by three of the staff for comment before it is sent to him, and then they will contact the author via email within about four months with their decision. If they take the story, they pay the author on acceptance, not on publication – because it may be a year or more before it is published – depending on which issue it will be the best fit.
They look for the best literary texts – ones that are not simplistic but allow space for readers to make meaning, imagine and explore etc. See their website for submission details.
See also their YouTube centenary video.
The other great thing is that you retain copywrite for your story so that after it has appeared in the magazine, you can breathe a whole new life into it eg. as a book down the track.
It’s also good to think laterally and outside of your genre. I’ve published a few things (flash fiction and narrative non-fiction) in Positive Words magazine. This isn’t a paying publication but it is still something that will help sharpen your writing skills and see your name in print. I have also sent in my very first submission to Prints Charming Anthology run by Sally Odgers – I’ll let you know how this goes 🙂
I’d love to hear your comments on other publications that you know of or have had experience with. Please comment below.