Posted by: nancyisanders | August 15, 2013

Highlights: Choosing a Current Need

Come along and join in the fun if you’d like to try to submit to Highlights magazine! I’ll be sharing the steps I take on my journey so you can see what I do in real time…really!…each step of the way. You can follow along and see if you can try to break into this children’s magazine, too.

I’ve been busy gathering issues of Highlights and I have about half a dozen issues that I own. But these aren’t current, so I’m planning a trip early next week to our local library to borrow as many from this past year as I can. I plan to photocopy examples of stories/articles I want to try to target.

A note on photocopying books and magazines from the library. I’ve asked at libraries in the past and I always get the same answer: Patrons are allowed to photocopy ANYTHING from the library for personal research. So I take advantage of this privilege often.

In the meantime, I’m embarking on the next step of my journey.

Choose a current need that you feel you could try to write for. Once again, Highlights magazine lists their current needs at this link. Print them out and read through them and pick one current need you want to try to write to experience breakthrough into this magazine.

Here’s a tip: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT choose “Fiction Categories” in a children’s magazine to attempt to experience breakthrough into their pages. Why? Because it’s what EVERYONE tries to do. The statistics are simply against you.

One year I taught a workshop at a major Christian writer’s conference on how to break into a major Christian children’s magazine. The editor was there at that conference and was meeting in private appointments to acquire manuscripts.

I asked for a show of hands of writers in my class who had brought a fiction manuscript along to show the editor. Every person’s hand went up. Yet the magazine can only published 12 fiction stories a year (one per issue) and most of those were already acquired from their stable of steady submitting authors.

So for the class, I showed them how to think of nonfiction ideas or puzzle and craft ideas to submit to the editor instead. Over the course of that conference and after it was done, I heard from writers who said they’d been trying to submit fiction stories for years with no acceptances yet when they discussed other ideas with the editor he asked to see them all!

And then, after they get their foot in the door and establish a relationship with the editor, THEN they can start submitting fiction stories and ideas. They’ll have a much better chance than before.

So for this third step, I’m reading over the “Current Needs” list very carefully. I’m going to choose one to write. And since I want to experience breakthrough, I’ll be sure to choose a category in the Nonfiction list. I recommend you do too!


  1. Hi Nancy!

    I love that you are documenting your journey. I’m also taking a lot of notes…;~)

    Good luck with the process!

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

    • Yay, Donna! Glad you’re along for the fun!

  2. Nancy, I am appreciating this series of blogs. So many blogs are general in nature, when specifics are what I am seeking. Just as your books get down to the “nitty grittty”…so does this blog topic, and I appreciate it.
    Thanks again, Audrey

    • Thanks for your kind words, Audrey. I’m glad this is helping you along your journey!

  3. I have a non-fiction topic in mind and need to get some more copy paper so I can print out the current needs. I may just use the back of something else for now!

    • Oh I’m excited that you’ve already got a topic in mind. Way to go!!!!

  4. I don’t know of any established authors who do more to “carry other authors along “on their coattail” than you. Thanks for your generosity!

    • Gloria, thanks so much for your kind words. It was so nice to hear from you and I hope you’re doing well!!!!

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