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Writing contests, make money writing, hottest topics, writing for teen magazines: what you need to know.
I would look at the magazines my teenage neighbor and her friends stashed away in their cupboards and think, “Heck, I could do that!” So one day, while she was away at school, I broke into her room and “borrowed” the magazines.
Teen magazines aren’t what your mother used to read
Teenage magazines have changed since we were teens, I can tell you that. No longer do they advocate sex after marriage and accepting everything for what it is. Teenage magazines today are a whole different gamut. So, if you go into shock mode quickly, this market may not be your cup of tea.
If you want to get published in the teenage market, you have to be familiar with the slang that kids these days use. Gone are the days of the grammar appropriate “I have a crush on…” Now girls are crushing on guys, hanging with their friends and trying to achieve super cool status. And if you’ve got a problem with that, take a chill pill!
It’s like writing in a whole new language
Forget vocabulary, forget grammar. Throw all the rules your English teacher taught you in the trash, because you’re not going to need many of them. That’s the deal. When writing for teenagers, you’ve got to be one. You’ve got to think like a thirteen-year old trying to figure out if the guy she’s crushing on really likes her or not. It might not be a big deal for you, but for that thirteen year old, it’s her life. It’s important.
Which brings me to another important aspect—you have to give importance to the subject matter. If you think fighting with your best friend is no big deal, you have no place writing for this market. On the other hand, if you whole-heartedly believe that the sole reason of your existence is the guy you can’t take your eyes off, then you might have a chance. Don’t misinterpret this to mean that teenagers aren’t involved in serious issues, though. You’ll often find articles and issues for the serious teen—community service, road rage, drinking and even drugs—all topics that are given their share of space in these magazines.
Writing articles, quizzes and short stories for this particular market can be a lot of fun. Connect with the younger side of you and write about the ups and downs of high school, making and breaking friends, dating and dumping guys and most importantly, accepting the person you are—in mind and in body. Teenage girls have many more issues with their bodies than do boys, and this is the reason that girl magazines far outnumber magazines for boys.
Interview some kiddos
Before you start though, you might want to meet up with some youngsters to get a hold of their priorities, their interests and their lifestyle. Until you don’t have the mindset of a teenager and aren’t capable of the thought processes of one, you’re not going to find success here.
In writing a query to the editor, the most important aspect is your idea and its presentation. Through your query, the editor has to know your voice, your talent and how much you understand this particular age group. It should be apparent from your query that you understand the publication and its requirements. The study-your-market rule applies even more strictly to this market as each magazine has its own lingo and voice.
The pay rates of these magazines, like other consumer magazines, vary widely depending on the publication and its requirements. In general, you can earn anywhere from $10 to $2,000 for a single piece. Quizzes are very popular among teens and again pay quite well. If you’re a cartoonist or illustrator, you can add even more. And you know what, you can get rich writing for teen magazines!
Once you’re hooked though, you’ll find that writing for teenagers is so much fun, that you’ll want to do it over and over again, money or no money. This is one market, where the fun simply exceeds the work factor. So, what are you waiting for? Bring out those high school photographs and like, get writing already?
About the Author:
Mridu Khullar is the editor-in-chief of www.WritersCrossing.com, a free online magazine for writers. Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to get a complimentary e-book with 400+ paying markets. Also check out her e-book, “Knock Their Socks Off! A Freelance Writer’s Guide to Query Letters That Sell,” available at http://www.writerscrossing.com/queries.html
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How to write your own articles for teen magazines.
Whether you're a teenager who's an aspiring author or an adult with a youthful attitude, the teen magazine market welcomes freelancers twho know how to spin a story, share "been there/done that" experiences, or chat about current trends and events affecting the lives of today's high school students. Although columns related to fashion, hair and makeup, relationship advice, and the music scene are usually staff-written, most editors of YA publications are receptive to pitches from newcomers that reflect a keen understanding of their target demographic and fit the needs of their upcoming editorial calendars.
Research what teens are reading by checking out the YA section of magazine racks at your local supermarket or bookstore. Some of the popular titles you'll see are "Seventeen magazine," "Cosmo Girl," "Twist," "Bop," "Tiger Beat" and "J-14." Skim the content to determine if articles are primarily general interest or focus on specific topics and themes. Examples: "American Cheerleader" revolves around cheering, health, nutrition and competitions. "Twist" is all about celebrities, the latest fashions and popular culture. "Thrasher" is all about skateboarding and snowboarding techniques, events and athlete profiles.
Purchase copies of teen magazines you want to write for in order to familiarize yourself with their overall tone, language, complexity of topics, and use of illustrations. To get the most out of this exercise, it's critical to study at least three months' worth of back issues to determine if they've recently covered the topics you'd like to write about. If the magazines have an online presence--"Seventeen", for instance-- you can usually find back issues under their archives tab or use the search button function to type in your topic and find past articles.
Study the magazine's submission guidelines carefully. You have several options here. The first is to look in the front pages of the magazine and see if the guidelines are listed there. If not, you can write a letter or send an email to the editorial department and request a copy of the guidelines along with their editorial calendar which lists the themes of upcoming issues. Sometimes submission information is posted on line. An example of this is "TeenInk," which is written entirely by teenagers (see Resources). Another option is to check out "Writer's Market" (published annually by Writer's Digest Books), which lists detailed submission information including desired word counts, time frames, and names of editorial staff. Follow submission requirements to the letter (see Tips).
Compose your story, interview, essay or how-to piece with a tight focus that never loses sight of the target reader's interest, imagination and intelligence. (See Warnings.) Use the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level function in your Word program to determine if the language you're using is appropriate for the age of the magazine's readers. Test your material on actual teens and pay attention to their feedback.
Subscribe to publications such as Children's Writer Newsletter. (See Resources.) This monthly newsletter identifies YA markets that are receptive to new voices, offers comprehensive how-to advice on structuring articles and stories, and provides interviews with agents, editors and publishers who candidly share their likes and dislikes about writer submissions. Article sidebars further contain the full contact information of industry professionals profiled in each issue.
- Teen magazines vary in terms of how much they want to see from a first-time contributor and they will specify this in their guidelines. This can range from a short (one-page) query letter that outlines the idea, sample clips of previously published work, or the full story or article.
- Always respect a magazine's desired word counts for submissions. If they only accept short fiction up to 500 words, do not send them your 10,000-word manuscript.
- Fillers that are between 100 and 300 words have a better chance of being published than lengthier pieces. This represents a good way for a newcomer to break in and get her name known to editors.
- While many of today's teen magazines accept email queries and submissions, it's essential that the same rules of formality apply as if you were sending a traditional letter. If you do send a snail-mail letter, always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
- Keep in mind that teen magazines aren't just read by teenagers; they're also eagerly grabbed up by "tweens"--the 10-, 11- and 12-year olds who want a sneak peek at what awaits them as high schoolers.
- If you're not a teenager, don't try to talk like one. Nor should your tone be that of an authoritative figure given to lectures.
How to start a kids magazine →, family circle submit tips →, how to become a columnist →.
Job Description for a Columnist →
How to Become a Children's Author →
Job Description of a Magazine Editor →
- "Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write"; Victoria Hanley; 2008
- "A Teen's Guide to Getting Published: Publishing for Profit, Recognition And Academic Success"; Jessica Dunn, Danielle Dunn; 2006
- "Writer's Digest Handbook Of Magazine Article Writing: Handbook Of Magazine Article Writing"; Michelle Ruberg; 2005
- All You Can Read: Top Ten Teen Magazines
Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since 1970. Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. Publishers include HarperCollins, Michael Wiese Productions, "PLAYS," "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer." She holds a B.A. in communications (emphasis on audience analysis and message design) from California State University, Sacramento. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.
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How to Get Your Writing Published in a Teen Magazine
Last Updated: October 11, 2022 References
This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 9,008 times.
Teen magazines are popular all over the world. You probably used to, or still, read some yourself. They offer advice on important topics for teens like dating and school, and provide entertainment about celebrities and music. If you enjoy these magazines, or think you have valuable insight on what these magazines cover, and have a passion for writing you should consider writing for one. Many magazines feature columns written by freelance writers, including teenagers, and submitting your work is easier than you might think.
- Seventeen is geared towards teenage girls and covers a variety of topics, including beauty, romance, quizzes, and fashion.
- Boy's Life, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, has articles about sports and electronics, as well as stories about young men in BSA.
- Cicada is a bi-monthly magazine. Each edition is focused on an important issue for teens, such as the future, risks, and the environment.
- J-14 is all about celebrities, fashion, and Hollywood gossip.
- SOS Safety Magazine is an online magazine that covers serious topics like bullying, drug abuse, and suicide.  X Research source
- Teen Ink is a monthly online publication that runs entirely on submissions from teenagers.  X Research source
- Canvas is an online literary magazine that publishes poems, fiction, and other writings by teens.
Writing the Article
- Music. Did your favorite artist just release a new album? Do you think swearing in music lyrics should be allowed on the radio? Did a friend just introduce you to a new genre of music that you want other people to know about?
- Makeovers. Did you have a great/awful makeover experience you can share? When you cut your hair did you find increased self-confidence? Do your friends always come to you for makeup advice?
- School. Have you ever felt pressured to cheat on a test? Does/did your math teacher inspire you? Are/were you worried about leaving your friends for college?
- Relationships. Did your best friend start dating your ex? Do you have a great relationship with you stepmom? How did you end an unhealthy relationship?
- Health/Fitness. Are/were you the captain of your soccer team?Do you help your family plan meals? Are you struggling to get enough sleep each night?
Submitting Your Work
Video . by using this service, some information may be shared with youtube..
- Write in a font that is easy to read. Remember, the company will be reading through hundreds of entries. If it's not easy to read they may not even try. Stick with the standard Times New Roman 12. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Ask for help! Use your parents, friends, teachers, and coworkers, anyone that you think might have good advice on your topic. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you know any published writers, talk to them about their experiences. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Don't send anything you wouldn't want up on a billboard. Anyone will be able to see it. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
- Don't be offended if they don't choose yours. It just probably wasn't what they needed. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Always make sure it's appropriate and not offensive. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
Things You'll Need
- A selected magazine.
- A computer.
- Proper grammar.
- Originality and creativity.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.allyoucanread.com/top-10-teen-magazines/
- ↑ https://sossafetymagazine.com/
- ↑ https://www.teenink.com/submit
- ↑ https://www.freelancewriting.com/magazine-writing/topics-for-young-teenage-magazines/
- ↑ http://www.youngwritersmagazine.com/writing-tips-for-teen-writers/
- ↑ http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Style_and_Spunk_Writing_Tips_for/
- ↑ https://business.tutsplus.com/articles/the-15-step-freelance-writers-guide-to-writing-for-magazines--fsw-28445
- ↑ https://www.thebalance.com/letter-of-introduction-1360755
- ↑ https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225683
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Thank you for your interest in Your Teen Media. We look forward to hearing more about your story idea, but before you get in touch, please take a moment to review our editorial guidelines.
Your Teen is a publication for parents of teenagers—middle school, high school, and up to the first year or two of college—and for professionals working with teenagers. Our mission is to be a trusted source—and a fun, informative read!—for readers who are seeking information about teenagers.
Writing for Your Teen Media
If you have an idea for an article: Please send a pitch of your idea to the Your Teen editors. Your pitch should be no more than three or four paragraphs. It should include: a short overview of your idea, why it matters to our audience, and a sense of the experts/parents/teenagers (if applicable) you will interview for your story. We recommend you take the time to review our website before you pitch us. Please also tell us about your writing experience and provide links to 2-3 writing samples.
If you have an idea for an essay or blog: Great! Our readers love personal stories about the ups, downs and in-betweens of raising teenagers. However, we cannot commit to publication of an essay or blog without reading the entire piece first. Please submit your essay or blog to the Your Teen editors. We sometimes make exceptions for experienced essayists/bloggers. If that’s you, please send a couple paragraphs about your idea and 2-3 samples of your work. Work must be original and not previously published.
If you are an expert: Also great! We have many experts writing for Your Teen. Please submit a one to two paragraph description of the expert advice piece you’d like to write to the Your Teen editors. In addition, please tell us about your professional background.
Other Stuff You Need to Know
We appreciate your patience. You may not hear from us right away. We get a lot of email. If we are interested in your idea, we will be in touch. If you don’t hear from us, it’s because we don’t believe your idea is a good fit for Your Teen at this time. Feel free to pitch us a new idea.
Our writer’s agreement: If we publish your work, we’ll send you an official contract, but you can preview some of our key terms here .
No simultaneous submissions : We ask that you give us 14 days for evergreen topics and 5 days for timely topics before you submit your pitch or article elsewhere. If you are submitting a full draft for consideration, it should be unpublished work that has not appeared previously in print or online (including personal blogs, Medium, etc.).
Background and mission: Your Teen Media is a media site for parents of teenagers—from middle school, high school and the first year or so of college—and for professionals working with teenagers. Our mission is to be the trusted editorial source for readers seeking information about raising teenagers. We strive to present well-reported and engaging articles that provide readers with an understanding of a topic, plus strategies from experts for handling the topic in their own homes.
When selecting experts, please be sure that the person is an expert in the area in which they are offering expertise . Calling oneself a parenting expert, say, does not necessarily make it so. If you have doubts about expertise, please check in with your editor.
Tone and editorial style: We are looking for an engaging, upbeat, and journalistic writing style. It’s often a good idea to open your piece with an anecdote, and humor is appreciated when appropriate.
Your Teen is meant to be readable for busy parents. Helpful subheadings are recommended as appropriate, and we avoid overwrought language and excessive use of passive voice.
Our tone is inclusive. In other words, we never wag our fingers at readers; rather, we recognize that parenting teenagers can be challenging and our role is to help readers make informed choices about parenting their teenagers.
Lastly, readers should have a sense of what to do next after reading our articles. Our goal is not to make parents worry, but to help with solutions and strategies.
We look forward to hearing from you!
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Writing for Teen Magazines
Teenage magazines can be a lifeline to adolescent girls but writing for this market is very specialised. In an extract from the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, Michelle Garnett explains what writers for teenage magazines need to know.
Life for teen girls is tough. Raging hormones, changing body bits, annoying boys and constant peer pressure, all gang up to present one huge challenge for them. And that’s where teen magazines come to the rescue, providing escapism and reassurance for their confused readers. But before even thinking about submitting your work to any teen mag, it’s vital to get a firm grasp on what they’re all about. Most mags tend to fall into two categories – ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Entertainment’:
• The Lifestyle titles (think Bliss) provide info on anything relevant to teen girls’ lives, from reports on way-out new style trends and self-help features to dish out advice on coping with bullies to tips on bagging a buff boyfriend and gritty real life stories.
• The Entertainment titles (think Top of the Tops Magazine) focus on celeb, music, TV and film gossip with lashings of star interviews, celeb quizzes, posters and song words.
Both categories tend to overlap slightly, with the Lifestyle titles including a juicy dollop of celebrity gossip and interviews and the Entertainment titles enjoying a sprinkling of fashion and self-help advice.
These days, with teens spending piles of their pocket money on mobile phone top-up cards and quick-fix junk food there’s heaps of competition amongst the teen mags for high sales. So covers have to be attention grabbing. Cover lines must offer exclusivity (e.g. a gripping heart-to-heart with the latest X Factor winner), fresh ideas (new revelations about the murky depths of teen boys’ minds) and aspirational promises (easy steps to looking fab whatever your body shape). Cover images must be non-threatening (girls looking friendly, not bitchy), eye-popping (topless, and most importantly, hairless boy totty is usually a firm favourite) and colourful (you can’t beat a flash of fluoro to help you stand out). Most mags also rely on ‘free gifts’ to help boost their ‘come buy me!’ appeal.
Teen mag readership
But who are these teen girls that we’re trying to persuade to part with their precious pocket money? If you’re intending to aim your features at this discerning group of individuals you’d better get to know all you can about them.
On the whole, teen readers are demanding, streetwise, fickle consumers who want to be treated with respect but view adulthood with apprehension, often clinging to the comforts of childhood to help them feel secure and safe when the pressure gets too much.
Here’s the scientific bit… Did you know that typical teen readers tend to fall into four very revealing categories? First off, there’s the ‘Obsessive Fan’. This girl has to be the first to know any gossip. She’ll usually be infatuated with one boy in particular – often this will be a celeb whose cute face will be plastered all over her bedroom wall, school locker, books, etc. She’ll spend every last penny on anything (including mags) that contains a fleeting mention of him. Sometimes her affections will be focused on a ‘real’ boy – it’s been known for Obsessive Fan types to keep a secret stash of her ‘crush souvenirs’, containing such gems as a dirty fork that he once used in the school canteen!
Next there’s the ‘Fashionista’. This girl is crazy about fashion. She’ll spend hours flicking through the style pages desperate for inspiration for her weekly shopping trips to New Look and Top Shop. The more creative Fashionista will copy the step-by-step customising guides to give her outfits that individualistic edge. She’ll be an expert with her make up brush and unsurprisingly, will be very image conscious. She might pretend that she doesn’t need to read features on ‘detox diets to make your skin glow’ but she’ll devour them in secret and then pass on her newly acquired tips to her gang.
Then there’s the ‘Reality Lover’. This girl is addicted to Jeremy Kyle and TV soaps. She’ll greedily devour tragic real life stories. It doesn’t matter whether the tale relates to a famous celeb or an ordinary 15 year-old from Leeds – so long as it’s majorly grim, with a positive ending, she’ll be hooked. It’s no surprise that she’s a fan of reality TV shows and dramas and loves gossiping about the latest shocking antics on I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here or Desperate Housewives. In fact, it’s reading about other people’s lives that provides her with some comfort and reassurance about her own life.
Lastly, there’s the ‘Info Gatherer’. This girl is a true magazine junkie! She uses her mag fix to get high on knowledge that’ll help her make sense of the world around her and will elevate her status in her gang. She’s not fussy about what she reads, is less street-sussed than other girls in her class and becomes easily bored. She’ll often have three different mags on the go at a time but will just as happily plough through her mum’s mags too.
But in case you’re thinking, ‘Hey, I was a teen once – I know what they’re like’ just remember one thing… 21st century teen readers are very different from those even just ten years ago. These days’ teens have much less to rebel about. The majority are actually best mates with their mothers and instead of shocking them with new pillar-box red highlights they’ll be out shopping with their trendy mums and swapping clothes! They’re also worldly wise and surprisingly ambitious about their future prospects.
Oh and don’t think you can ever pull the wool over teen readers’ eyes – they’re sharp and quick to judge and if you get even the smallest fact wrong, they’ll pick you up on it!
Considering writing for teen mags
So, now you’ve considered the kind of reader you’ll be speaking to via your feature, it’s time to get cracking, yes? No! It may sound mind-numbingly obvious but the first step when considering submitting material to a teen mag is to actually read a copy of that magazine! It’s amazing how many times I’ve received suggestions for short fiction pieces when we don’t actually feature those kind of stories in the magazine.
Familiarise yourself with the content, the look and the feel of the magazine. Many mags get revamped quite frequently to keep ahead of the competition, so it’s wise to regularly browse through the latest issues to stay up to date.
A quick glance at the mag should tell you which kind of teen it’s aimed at and therefore how you should tailor your copy or artwork to the targeted reader. As a writer it’s vital to soak up the tone of the copy. Is it streetwise and fast-paced or cheesy and fun? Are there any phrases or words that pop up on a regular basis, giving an insight into the kind of language the average reader uses? Features for the older Lifestyle magazines tend to adopt a punchy, straight-talking approach with, where appropriate, more caring ‘big sister' tone when tackling sensitive subjects. A magazine aimed at younger readers, such as Top of the Pops Magazine, veers towards a more excitable, upbeat tone, with the tendency to paint the pop world as bright, crazy and inoffensive.
Consider the tone of the actual subject matter too. Is it serious and gritty? Is it frivolous and tongue-in-cheek? Are there clear sections within the magazine which consist of a running theme? Bliss magazine features a strong ‘real life stories’ section which caters for their readers love for a dramatic, juicy read.
Another angle to reflect on is the topicality of the copy and pictures. When contributing ideas to a monthly mag think of a quirky spin you can give your idea to help give what could be a tried and tested subject a fresh makeover. If you’re intending to submit ideas to a weekly mag then you need to prove that you’ve got your finger on the pulse. Think about how you can make your work up to date and relevant. Ask yourself, ‘What’s affecting teens’ lives right now?’ Are they crumbling under the pressure of exams? Is there a huge blockbuster film on the horizon that’s set to capture their imaginations?
When High School Musical was first released it was noticeable how most titles were quick to spot the potential popularity of the film. By the time the third instalment hit the big screen, Hollywood star Zac Efron had firmly established himself as a teen heartthrob and his appearance in the film as the student Troy Bolton encouraged a stream of Zac-inspired features to whet readers' appetites. Paparazzi and studio shots of the actor were in high demand and real life titbits and Zac Efron quizzes were a staple diet for several months.
And of course, think seasonal. A few months prior to the summer holidays, monthly teen titles will be dreaming up cover-worthy concepts for the ultimate boredom buster feature. Conjure up a trend-based, original idea and you could find yourself commissioned to produce a hefty eight-page special.
Finally… how to get yourself noticed amongst a sea of competition from other freelancers. Sometimes it’s all about timing. It may be worthwhile to find out if the mag you’re hoping to submit work to has a set date each week or month when feature ideas are discussed so that you can ensure your suggestions land in the Features Editor’s email box just when he or she is tuned into an ideas brainstorm. Don’t go the bother of sending in a fully completed article. If your idea is strong, a catchy headline and brief synopsis will grab their attention and the sheer mention of a juicy real life case study will be enough to get them salivating! And if you have a specialist subject area (style, real life stories, celebrity interviews) it could be worth suggesting a meeting with the relevant team member – if you impress them with your expertise you could bag yourself a regular commission.
But most importantly of all – don’t give up. If you don’t hear back immediately it doesn’t necessarily mean your idea’s been discarded. Many teen mag offices are hectic environments in which pressured deadlines often take on a life of their own. Your contact is probably furiously chasing a lead on a reality TV star’s love life trauma, while trying to persuade a gang of shy 14 year-old lads to confess their first date hells and batting around that ever niggling question: ‘how am I going to make our lovely readers feel entertained, shocked, reassured and hooked by my magazine this issue?’ And hopefully that’s when your life-saving email will come to light! Good luck!
Michelle Garnett was editor of Sneak magazine from April 2002 to May 2005. Previously, she worked for ten years in various roles in the entertainment industry including deputy editor of Top of the Pops Magazine, producer of cd:uk news, editor of worldpop.com, writer of pop band biographies and (her most bizarre job to date…) official news reporter for Reuters on the Backstreet Boys four-day round-the-world promotional trip (2000). She now freelances as a writer and editor for various publications.
Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash
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