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Market Analysis: Highlights for Children

Cheryl's Musings: Market Analysis: <i>Highlights for Children</i>

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Market Analysis: Highlights for Children

Earlier this week, I spotlighted Highlights as a great break-in market for children's writers. Today's topic? How to do it!

First, the basics:

  1. Read (and follow) their guidelines:,203 That seems like advice too basic to include, but you'd be surprised how many people don't bother to follow simple instructions....

  2. Study their needs:,203

  3. Check out their mission: FUN, but with a PURPOSE.

  4. Study the magazine for article content, writing style, and format.

In my opinion, the most valuable step in the process is to study the magazine. So, what's in this month's Highlights? A quick survey turns up the obvious--a poem, a few short stories, a few nonfiction pieces, two pages of crafts, the monthly feature "Ask Arizona," The Timbertoes, a rebus story, riddles, puzzles, and the science corner. That info helps you figure out if Highlights is the right market for your story, article, craft, or puzzle.

Next: take an in-depth look at the type of piece you want to sell. Do you want to submit a short story? Take a look at "The Mystery of the Ghost in the Wall." Hmm...about 800 words long, written for Highlights' older readers, this story has a quick-talking narrator and a math tie-in. Almost every paragraph is one to two sentences long--the story moves. Description? Minimal. Dialog? It occurs in short bursts separated by transitions, tight one-sentence scene-setting descriptions, actions, and internal dialog (aka, the narrator's thoughts.)

What about a craft? Turn to page 32 for the craft line up. These crafts have only 4-6 steps and no list of "what you need." Instead, supplies are shown in the text of each craft, highlights in bold. Word counts are low. What kinds of crafts to they feature? One toy rocket, one card craft, one decorative magnet, one Valentine-themed mask, and a treasure chest/treasure map craft pair encouraging active play.

By taking a close look at the pieces a magazine has published, you can get a vision for the types of pieces they like. Skeptical? That's how I sold my first article--but more on that later.

:) Cheryl

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