by Suzanne Williams

June 2000

The internet is probably the best place to go for students who would like to try and publish their writing. You can also find all kinds of writing resources and advice, contest information, etc. online. Try search terms such as “young writers,” “student writers,” “student authors,” “young writer contests.” Students should keep in mind that while a few on-line sites and magazines for young writers pay upon publication, most do not. If published in a magazine, young writers can usually expect one or more free copies of the issue in which their work appears. To increase chances of success, students who are interested in being published should read all guidelines carefully, and study samples of writing in the publications to which they are submitting to to make sure their submissions are of a similar quality to the samples given. Beware of any publisher or contest that asks you to send money in order to enter or to publish your work. If you want to “self-publish” that’s fine, but it’s often an expensive proposition.

A couple of my students have been successfully published in  Creative Kids Magazine.  If a student’s work is accepted for publication, he or she will typically be sent a letter with an attached contract form.  In signing the form, the student agrees to let the magazine publish his/her work, and also guarantees that the work submitted for publication is his/her original work.  (Related topic, see also: Plagiarism.)

Here’s a sample acceptance letter from the editor of Creative Kids Magazine: :

Dear Kelly,

I want to thank you so much for submitting your short story titled, “Flashback,” for publication in Creative Kids magazine. The quality of your submission clearly shows that you have put a great deal of effort toward the development of your short story , and you should be proud of your accomplishment.

I am pleased to inform you that we will be publishing your work in an upcoming issue of Creative Kids magazine. Congratulations-your work will be read by more than 35,000 creative kids like yourself! While I have not yet decided upon the issue in which your work will appear, I do plan to include it in Creative Kids sometime during the next twenty1our months (8 quarterly issues).

In order to have your work published in Creative Kids, you must send me two items:

  1. a completed License of Copyright agreement signed by you and your parent or guardian (I have included this form with this letter) and
  2. if one is available, a glossy photograph of yourself (black and white is preferred, but color is acceptable).

Let me take a moment to briefly discuss our License of Copyright agreement. The agreement ensures that you are the original and sole creator of the work you submitted. It also gives us permission to include your work in an upcoming issue of Creative Kids magazine and other possible future products such as a CD ROM version of our magazine for the Macintosh and PC computer. The “valuable consideration” referred to in the agreement is a copy of the magazine in which your work appears. If you or your parents have any questions about the License of Copyright agreement, please do not hesitate to call me.

I look forward to receiving these items from you. As soon as I receive them, I can begin considering in which issue your work will appear .

Again, congratulations for your fine accomplishment.

Please keep us in mind as you consider creating future works.


PRUFROCK PRESS. P.O. Box 8813 . WACO, TEXAS 76714-8813 PHONE (817) 756-3337 . FAX (817) 756-3339




Every successful writer I know has had to learn to cope with rejection on the road to becoming published.  Rejection letters are just a fact of a writer’s life!  Almost all of my early stories were rejected at least a half-dozen times before being accepted for publication.  In addition, I’ve written dozens of other stories that have never been published, and not through lack of trying!  Does that sound depressing?  Well, sometimes it is!  But the thing is, I’m a very determined person.  I’m willing to put up with the agonies of rejection because of how much I want to write and to see my work in print.

If you send out a piece of writing and get a rejection letter, congratulations!  You’ve taken the first step toward becoming published.  Read the letter over, to see if the editor gives any hints about how you could improve your work. Then make any changes you think will improve your work, and send it somewhere else.  And in the meantime, write new things to send out.  Believe me,  perseverance pays off.

Here’s a copy of  a rejection letter my daughter Emily got for a story she sent to Stone Soup Magazine when she was in 5th grade.  You’ll see that it’s actually a very nice letter. She still has a l-o-n-g way to go to get as many rejection letters as I’ve gotten.  Mine number in the hundreds!:

Dear Emily,

Thank you for sending us your work. We enjoyed it very much, but we decided not to use it in Stone Soup.

Please don’t be too disappointed. We receive over 10,000 submissions every year, but we only have room to publish about 50 stories and 15 poems a year. When we put together an issue of Stone Soup, we strive for variety as well as quality. We try to have work by both boys and girls, of all different ages, from a variety of states and countries. We also try to choose pieces on a variety of subjects in many different styles.

We wish we could publish all the work we receive. But even though your work wasn’t selected for publication, we did enjoy seeing it. The ability to express yourself in creative work is a wonderful gift. We hope you will continue to use it.

Thank you again for your submission. Best wishes from all of us at Stone Soup.


Gerry Mandel



From the Writing Curriculum Files of Children’s Author, Suzanne Williams