Publishing Opportunities

Although finding venues for publishing your writing when you haven’t yet hit eighteen may feel daunting, here are a few sites that spotlight work from teens:

  • Figment invites teen writers to read, write, share, and connect with each other. By signing up for free on their site, you earn the freedom to post your writing whenever you like.
  • Candlelight Stories is a competitive online literary magazine that invites short story submissions from teens in grades 6-12. For their submission guidelines, click here.
  • Young Writers Notebook, formerly Frodo’s Notebook, is another selection-based online literary magazine dedicated to teens. They publish short stories, personal essays, poems, and journalism, and their submission guidelines can be found here.
  • Since 1989, Teen Ink, one of the oldest and most established literary magazines for teens, has been publishing stories, poetry, book reviews, nonfiction and more. You must sign up (for free) before submitting (guidelines here).
  • KidLit publishes creative writing from a really broad age range (grades K-12); to submit, click here.
  • The online literary magazine Splinter Generation has a unique model: it aims to bring writers from ages 15-35 into conversation by putting their writing in dialogue. Click here to view the specific calls for submission active right now.
  • Canvas, a literary journal run by teens for teens, accepts art and writing (including fiction, novel excerpts, poetry, plays, nonfiction, and cross-genre writing) from teens ages 13-18. To submit, keep an eye on when their submission window reopens.
  • All year round, Cicada literary magazine focuses on young adult (YA) writing primarily from teens and young people, although their only restriction on age is anyone 14+ years old. Their submission guidelines indicate that they are especially interested in “works by people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQAI+ folks, genderqueer folks, and other marginalized peoples.”
  • The Claremont Review comes out of Canada and publishes work twice a year from English-speaking contributors, ages 13-19, from anywhere in the world. For submission guidelines, click here; whether published or not, every contributor receives a personal response about his/her work from the editorial board.
  • One Teen Story publishes single short stories featuring teen protagonists from writers ages 13-19. According to their submission guidelines, their next submission period opens September 1.
  • Billed as an “international multicultural magazine,” Skipping Stones has been around for twenty-eight years. They have special submission guidelines for youth.
  • Teen Voices is the global girls’ online news site run by the international news site, Women’s eNews. Although they accept news stories from only female-identified young women, they actually pay their contributors (find out more here). They also have a special sub-project, Girl Fuse, for young women voicing their experiences of disability and misrepresentation.
  • Although The Telling Room serves a wide age range (6-18), they offer rare opportunities for teens to publish in print– in anthologies, chapbooks, etc. (full list of opportunities here).

Here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when looking to publish your writing:

  • DO read already published work across multiple sites and/or magazines, and see where your piece fits best. Is your writing political and opinionated? If so, don’t bother submitting it to a website primarily interested in children’s literature. Subscribe to journals that especially interest you (so long as subscription is free), and spend some time seeing what themes and styles tend to come through their pipeline.
  • Somewhat related to the above point, DO consider whether your piece has a “special interest” angle. Is your piece interested in multiculturalism? If so, consider submitting it to a magazine that specifically mentions an international and/or multicultural reach in its mission statement. Is your piece about women’s issues? Maybe a women’s magazine would be more interested in it than a general fiction platform.
  • DO get organized. Create a spreadsheet in which you keep track of the following:
    • titles of magazines that might fit your work;
    • URLs to main pages and submission guidelines, especially guidelines specific to that magazine (pay close attention to word count in particular);
    • dates you send out pieces;
    • contact information where you send it;
    • whether you send it in hard/electronic format;
    • titles and genres of the work you’re sending;
  • Then, rank your options based on what makes sense for you, NOT just prestige. Many magazines and journals stipulate that a piece of writing under consideration for their publication CANNOT be under consideration for publication elsewhere. However, if six months elapse without word, you can assume that it’s safe to move on to your next best choice. (Note: I have also avoided this problem by simply letting an editor know that I am no longer interested in publishing the piece in question if, by that point, I’ve found out another magazine is already interested in it. In other words, you technically CAN submit to multiple magazines without anyone realizing, BUT you have to be able to trust yourself to be a) über-organized, i.e., able to remember exactly where all your pieces are up for consideration, and b) ready to accept the possibility that a BETTER magazine will get in touch after you’ve already caved to considering less appealing options on your list.)
  • DO consider literary magazines that are NOT specifically for teens. These magazines will have wider readerships but also a lot more competition. If you go this route, you should check their submission guidelines to make sure that they DO accept writing from all age groups. There are many online lists of reputable literary magazines accepting submissions from emerging and new writers, like this one and this one.
  • DO SPELL-CHECK your writing, READ ALOUD the final copy, and SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND to make sure you haven’t missed anything before you send it into the magazine of your choice. The more polished and complete your piece, the more likely it will appeal to the editorial staff.
  • DO SPELL-CHECK the email you’ve written for submitting your piece, READ ALOUD the letter to yourself and SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND to make sure that you sound professional. The more respectful and courteous the email or cover letter that introduces your writing to an editor, the more likely the editor will be to take you and your writing seriously.
  • DO NOT ignore basic submission guidelines, like suggested word counts, dated submission windows, and formatting instructions (font size, double-spacing, file format, etc.). The more your piece’s format strays from the instructions that the editorial staff has carefully set out, the more work you’ll be creating for them, and the less likely they will be to want to do that work.
  • As an emerging writer, DO NOT submit to any journals that require a fee for reading your piece. It is normal for journals that require hard copies to request a “SASE” (self-addressed, stamped envelope) for the return of your hard copy, if you want it returned. However, if a journal is asking for a reading fee, it means one of two things: a) this journal is slammed with contributions because it’s so popular, in which case, you probably shouldn’t be submitting to it if you’re a brand-new writer; or b) this journal is scammy, making money of contributors possibly without even ever giving feedback on their rejected submissions.
  • DO NOT exhaust yourself by trying to publish every good piece you’ve ever written all at once. Instead, set personal goals for getting your writing out there. Decide on how long (ex: one hour), how often (twice a month), and which pieces (ranked according to a logic that appeals to your goals, i.e. most to least favorite, or most to least finished, or most to least likely to be easy to get published) you’re ready to put out there, and then check in with yourself at those intervals to accomplish whatever you’ve set out to do for that particular work session, no more.
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