Think About Writing Fillers--Yes, Seriously!
Even writers who don't like kids might be interested in this one. You don't have to write kids-lit to cash in on these ideas--you only need to be an imaginative and versatile writer.
The childrens genre is one of the most versatile of all genres; it gives the creative writer many more opportunities to publish than just writing a piece of adult fiction. If you're ready to submit your work, think seriously about magazines. There are mags for every subject imaginable and the ones in my copy of the Childrens Magazine Market accept a percentage of their work from non-published freelance writers. If you don't have expertise on a subject, research thoroughly and appear as if you do.
Don't think you must stick to childrens magazines. Are you familiar with Hot Rod? Many of their readers are in the YA bracket. Ever known a teen who wasn't interested in cars? Not me. Maybe you have tips on making the detailing of cars easier? Do you have knowledge of low-cost modifications that work? Topics include hot rod cars, repairs, racing, and collecting. They're looking for writers with a strong knowledge of hot rodding who can write with an active voice. How does $250.00 to $300.00 a page sound?
Most everyone has a hobby that could be simplified for children. Simple projects are seen often. It was suggested to me long ago to detail simple quilting techniques for children, but I didn't take it on. Remember what you enjoyed as a child and work a project around it. Write step-by-step instructions simply and clearly, and include photos or drawings of the steps. Most will want a model included (if applicable).
Are you or your child left-handed? There's a magazine. Love horses? Pets? Home school? Also, check out any regional historical mags published by your state, county, or hometown.
Visit the children's section in your library and spend time looking through magazines. Read the articles and how-to's to get familiar with the style and voice each uses. They will expect the author to know what they want.
While you're there, find the Childrens Magazine Market Sourcebook published by The Institure of Children's Literature. If you haven't seen it in a while, you'll be surprised at the number of magazines that accept children's genre articles. It's a pretty handy thing to subscribe to.
A few more ideas:
Preschool and Kindergarten craft projects that use materials found around the house, like egg cartons, cardboard, paper, boxes, string, crayons, paint, glue, etc. Include instructions to show how to combine paint to make all the colors of the rainbow.
Can you draw? What about a picture book formatted as a colorbook that the kids can color to suit themselves? It keeps the kids and their crayons away from Mom's books for a while.
Magazines always need good column fillers. The shorter the better to leave room for more ads. Realistically, it's the money from the ads that pay the authors.
I was sitting in my Doctor's waiting room one day and picked up a colorful locally published brochure. It was filled with ads, jokes and tidbits of both serious and humorous information. The headliner was a short non-fiction parent-child related article. I opened it to the middle spread and realized I'd read the piece somewhere. Looking at the ending, I found it was written by Jessiebelle™ . Imagine my delight to find something published by one of our own WDC'ers right here in my little hometown. Priceless!
By the way, Jessie, the brochure doesn't come any more. What tone did you use when you demanded your authors copy? lol
Rebus Rhymes are popular and fun.
Rebus Picture Puzzles.
Word Puzzle Games.
Dot to Dot's.
Are you a writer of Tongue Twisters?
Crisp crusts crackle and crunch.
A flea and a fly flew up in a flue.
Said the flea, "Let us fly!"
Said the fly, "Let us flee!"
So they flew through a flap in the flue.
Kids and parents love interactives that keep kids busy and happy.
The best tip I can give today is to visit your library and read the magazines that publish stories, both fiction and non-fiction. But don't stop with stories, check out what else is being published. You can find most submitting guidelines on the net, but you must hold several issues of any magazine in your hand to study them. It's important to write in the style and voice that they publish if you want them to accept your work. There aren't any shortcuts.
Consider magazines when you're ready to send your stuff in; you just might find your
niche and a few clips to boost your self-esteem and the agent's interest when you're ready to query that book.
Keep writing and good luck reaching your goal!