Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

October Meeting: Author Susan Johnston Taylor

Freelance writer and PAL* member Susan Johnston Taylor delivered a delicious program on Breaking Into Children’s and Teen Magazines at the October 2019 meeting.  Susan’s articles can be found in many magazines, including Boys’ Life, Cicada, Dramatics, and Relate. She also contributes articles to adult publications including Fast Company, Self, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

RIDE ACROSS TIME is Susan’s leveled reader in graphic novel format, from Teacher Created Materials.

Meeting Highlights Included:

Six Reasons to Write for Magazines

  • Earn money from writing
  • Gain published clips
  • Get experience working with editors
  • Research topics for books
  • Receive SCBWI PAL* Membership
  • Apply for an SCBWI Magazine Merit Award

Study Magazines/Websites for Kids/Teens

  • What’s already been covered? Don’t duplicate topics.
  • Age Group? For example, don’t submit a first date article to Baby Bug magazine.
  • Kinds of Content? Poetry, crafts, puzzles, short stories, nonfiction articles,
  • book reviews, etc.
  • Length? For example, don’t submit 3000 words if the limit is 800 words.
  • Writing Style?
  • Writing Guidelines? Look up “contributor’s/submission guidelines” for each publication.

Brainstorm Ideas

  • Look at upcoming themes per publication
  • Mine your childhood/kids you know
  • Think about seasonal ideas: 6+months in advance (in fall submit for summer)
  • Consider current events/pop culture (a candidate’s pet for election year)
  • Reslant what you have already written

Querying vs. Writing on Spec

  • Query=pitch an idea (mainly nonfiction) (1. Intro hook 2. Explain how/why 3. Short bio, samples, closing)
  • Writing on Spec=submitting a finished piece (common for poetry and fiction)

Extra ideas: Write for publications related to writing (The Writer Magazine), books (B&N Teen Blog), parenting (Child Magazine), and education (Scholastic’s DynaMath)

*Note: PAL stands for “Published and Listed.” PAL membership status is open to those who have had at least one book or article published by traditional publishing houses that meet our PAL Publisher Guidelines and are listed on our  PAL Publishers list.