Guest Post by Stef Gemmill

We are thrilled to have the winner of our Pitch It! Competition for children’s writers on the blog – Stef Gemmill – as she shares how writing for magazines and anthologies has helped her achieve her goals and get a foot in the publishing house door. Thanks Stef! 

While many writers dream of signing a contract with a big trade publisher, it’s the small goals you set that will help you achieve this dream. Goals such as writing each day, even just a few lines, will exercise creative muscles we don’t use on a daily basis. Writing and reading regularly brings infrequently used vocabulary and lyrical strings of words to the front of your mind. The more you write the more work you will have to submit to publishers. But the road to success for all artists is long. There are no overnight successes. Every writer has started small and built up their career over years.

What if you don’t want to wait years to get published? Getting our stories into tiny hands that adore our stories with each page turn is not easy. Publisher submissions are daunting, but get easier once you’ve written a great biography and pitch for your story. The rejections letters don’t get any easier unfortunately. So how do you get a foot, even a toe in the door?

One big leap to publication, aside from self-publishing, is writing short stories for magazines or anthologies. Many successful children’s authors such as Tim Harris, Neil Gaiman, Jen Storer and Enid Blyton, all started their careers publishing short stories. A well written short story is a tight and rewarding way to write. They’re even more invigorating for a child reader with a short attention span. Children will be rewarded with a beginning, middle and a satisfying ending in a fifteen minute read. Although I have written in the past for music magazines, my foray into being published as a children’s author was through one of many of the anthologies to submit to.

The narrative needs to be tight, the character whole and rounded in the early paragraphs and the story tightly sewn up in just 2,000 words. It’s fast writing fun and there are many anthologies or magazines that are open for submissions throughout the year. The School Magazine, Storm Cloud Publishing, Share Your Story and The Caterpillar Magazine to name a few.

I have a short story out now in the latest Storm Cloud Publishing anthology called ‘The Perfect Christmas’. Here is the link should you like to download it to read or share with children age 8-12 years;

Christmas Tales 3

Stef, you’re certainly proving to be kicking many goals, and we wish you all the success with a fabulous future in writing!

Stef’s love for writing began in the music industry, where she interviewed musicians and reviewed albums and gigs for various Australian music magazines. Later, she swapped the sweaty mosh pit for toys and tantrums, turning her pen to writing children’s books. Stef is excited to announce she has two picture books due for release in 2019. Luna Finds Home and In My Dreams through New Frontier Publishing.

Her latest news can be found at

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