If you’re looking to submit poetry, photography, short stories, or even grant applications, Submittable has you covered. But there’s another opportunity writers may overlook— stories for children and teens. Book publishers and literary magazines that accept unsolicited submissions for young readers can be difficult to find. It’s especially challenging to find paying juvenile markets that accept work through Submittable without a reading fee. However, with a little patience, a lot of perseverance, and my handy list, you can get your writing in front of the editors who publish work for younger audiences.
Highlights for Children
Founded in 1946, Highlights for Children has a circulation of more than 1 million, entertaining 6–12-year-old readers with stories, poems, cartoons, puzzles, and games. If you have fond memories of this famous publication, you may be inspired to submit creative content for its next generation of eager young readers. Current submission needs are listed on the Highlights Submittable page. To reach an even younger audience, consider submitting to their magazines High Five (ages 3–5) and Hello (ages 0–2). Keep in mind that these magazines do not accept simultaneous submissions.
Cricket Media is the parent company to four literary magazines for young readers as well as several nonfiction magazines for juvenile and teen audiences. Founded in 1973, Cricket Magazine accepts original short stories in various genres, adaptations of fairy tales, poetry, recipes, puzzles, and games that appeal to 9–14-year-old readers. Also check out Cricket Media’s magazines for younger markets: Babybug (ages 6 months–3 years), Ladybug (ages 3–6), and Spider (ages 6–9). One free sample issue of each Cricket Media magazine is available on their website. Consider joining their free submission call newsletter to find current needs.
Cast of Wonders
Is your story a little too mature for children’s literary magazines, but not directed specifically at an adult audience? If so, give Cast of Wonders a try. Specializing in young adult fiction podcasts, Cast of Wonders accepts fantasy and science fiction short stories appropriate for 12–17-year-olds. Submissions of up to 6,000 words are accepted, and each is read blind. Be sure to check the Cast of Wonders submission schedule before sending work.
Attention Canadian authors: Pajama Press is seeking original literature for children of all ages from toddlers to teenagers. If you’ve written a board book, picture book, middle-grade novel, or coming-of-age story for young adults, Pajama Press may be the publisher for you. Check out their extensive author query instructions on Submittable and review their catalog to see if your work is a good fit. Be aware that simultaneous submissions are not permitted, and only Canadian writers are being considered at this time.
Remember the comic strip Pickles? More than 25 years’ worth of Brian Crane’s cartoons have been published by Baobab Press. Now that Baobab accepts picture book and board book manuscripts, as well as comic books and graphic novels, you may be interested in joining their cool product line. Located in Reno, Nevada, books published by Baobab Press often feature the desert, including some of their titles for young readers. Check out their full catalog to see if your story is a good fit. Keep in mind they are not seeking YA stories at this time.
Have you written a literary or genre novel appropriate for readers ten years of age and older? If your manuscript is at least 20,000 words, Australian publisher Odyssey Books will look at the first three to four chapters of your work. With a print-on-demand, digital-first publishing policy, this eco-friendly press may be a good home for your futuristic story.
Green Writers Press
Speaking of eco-friendly literature, Green Writers Press in rural Vermont publishes juvenile through adult books with an environmental focus. Fiction and nonfiction picture book manuscripts, middle-grade books, and YA novels in prose or poetry are accepted through their Submittable page. Be aware that Green Writers Press is closed to submissions in the summer.
Ashland Creek Press
Looking for additional markets for environmental literature? Try Ashland Creek Press. A vegan owned publisher in southern Oregon, Ashland Creek Press is open to a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction that promotes positive human and animal relationships. Although not a children’s publisher per se, Ashland Creek Press is open to YA stories that meet its criteria. Submission windows are brief and require a purchase of one Ashland Creek title for $20. Be attentive to occasional anthology submission calls. For better insight, read Editor John Yunker’s Submittable guest blog post about his company.
Also located in Oregon, Ooligan Press accepts YA novels that take place in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike the other publishers on this list, Ooligan Press is managed by college students at Portland State University in the process of acquiring master’s degrees. Working with these aspiring Department of English students may help bring a fresh and youthful perspective to your work. So if your YA story takes place in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, or even Alaska, submit your query today.
Owl House Books
Is a Pacific Northwest setting too restrictive for your work? Never fear. If your YA novel takes readers to the stars, Owl House Books may be a better fit. An imprint of Homebound Publications, Owl House Books publishes YA fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and mysteries. Only 2–4 books are published per year, but submissions are accepted year round. Maybe your manuscript will be one of the lucky few chosen.
Writers and readers share an essential partnership that can never start too early. Chances are, there’s a particular story from your youth that inspired you to become an author. Why not create that same magic for a child today? Polish your manuscript, read those submission guidelines, and help a young reader get lost in a world of your creation. Let’s just hope the real world of writing is more lucrative for aspiring authors of the next generation.