Posted by: nancyisanders | August 26, 2013

Highlights: Guest Post


Another success story with Highlights magazine is Mary Ann Hellinghausen, author of “Flash! Splash! Training a Deaf Polar Bear” in January 2008 and “Rebecca Rides the Trail” in June 2010 about a young girl who takes part in a 98-mile Texas Independence Trail ride on her horse each year.

Here are the tips and strategies Mary Ann shared on the NFforKids listserv:

To add to the Highlights discussion, the editors at Highlights were
wonderful to work with. Although they buy all rights, they generously share
some of their profits with the author when they resell an article. I have
had two articles published with Highlights – both within a year or so of
submitting. They do want primary sources – in both cases, I conducted
personal interviews, either by phone or in person, and submitted photos,
which was a big selling point, I believe.

Also, as some of my writer friends joke, “it never rains in Honesdale”…my
experience is that they prefer stories with a positive, upbeat tone for
kids. I originally pitched a story about some polar bears rescued from a
“traveling circus’' and sent to zoos across the country. While the editors
expressed interest, they said the subject was a little too dark. After I
found out that one of the bears was deaf, I focused the article on the
unique methods that zoo personnel used to train him – that positive focus
sold the story. And the zoo offered photos for free.

Solid primary sources, good visuals (photos and art potential), vibrant
writing, and a “feel good” tone are key to selling to Highlights, IMHO.


Thanks a bunch, Mary Ann, for all the great tips! And thanks for providing a guest post on my blog.

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