Did you know that, generally, it’s easier to sell nonfiction to children’s magazines than it is fiction. There are several reasons for that.
First, magazines print more nonfiction than fiction so they just NEED more articles than stories.
Next, magazines receive WAY more fiction submissions than nonfiction submissions, so the competition for those few fiction spots in magazines is very fierce. But there’s less competition for the nonfiction spots.
Finally, magazines need to print what’s fresh and new to keep up with the times. They do this best through nonfiction articles.
Now, although it’s somewhat easier to sell your nonfiction than your fiction to the children’s magazine markets, here are some reasons so many writers still miss the mark with their nonfiction:
1. Their articles are too broad
This is probably the number ONE reason articles are rejected by children’s magazine editors. The topic is just too broad. Instead of creating a narrow focus for their article – say, the camel’s hump, for example – the writer submits an article that attempts to tell anything and everything about the camel – from where it came from, to what it eats and why it has a hump. Give your articles a narrow focus and you’ll be much more likely to
2. Their articles don’t provide the editor with anything new that she doesn’t have easy access to herself
True, you CAN simply look up information in an encyclopedia and visit a few online sites to get the content for an article. But unless you put a unique “spin” on the piece, it probably won’t sell. Instead, the editor will turn to another writer who does provide something new or CAN put a unique and fresh spin on a particular topic.
3. Their articles just don’t meet the editor’s needs
Now, I know you’ve heard that before. And you’re probably wondering – How am I supposed to know the editor’s needs? I’m not a mind reader. But, in a way, you DO need to be a mind reader. You need to study several back issues of a particular publication you wish to write for to see what types of topics and articles have already been in the magazine in the last 6 months to a year. Next, study the submissions
guidelines (which are usually available at the magazine’s website these days) to see if the publication has themed issues, etc. After you’d done all that, sit back and think about what kinds of things the editor will probably be needing about 6 months from NOW. Then develop a few article ideas around those topics.
When you learn to anticipate an editor’s needs, provide new information that she doesn’t have easy access to herself, and you narrow the focus of your article, you’re much more likely to hit the mark with your nonfiction and make a sale to a children’s magazine.