Write For Us
Thanks to all the wonderful writers who entered the 2016 Pockets Fiction-Writing Contest! The winner of this year’s contest is Christine Venzon of Peoria, IL. Her story “Special Invitation” will appear in a future issue of Pockets. In addition to the winning story, 13 other manuscripts are being held for further consideration. Those authors should receive notification by December 1. Contest entries that were accompanied by SASE’s will be returned. We are not able to return manuscripts that were not accompanied by SASE’s.
We will begin receiving entries for the 2017 contest on March 15, 2017. The rules and final deadline (August 15) will be the same as for our previous contests.
What is Pockets?
Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine teaches about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful art, activities, and scripture readings. Freelance submissions of stories, poems, recipes, puzzles and games, and activities are welcome. The magazine is published monthly (except in February).
The purpose of Pockets is to help children grow in their relationship with God and live as Christian disciples. It is designed to help children pray and to see their faith as an integral part of their everyday lives. The magazine emphasizes that God loves us and that God’s grace calls us into community. It is through the community of God’s people that we experience that love in our daily lives.
What should I write about?
Each issue is built around a specific theme with material that can be used by children in a variety of ways. Submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious. They should help children experience a Christian lifestyle that is not always a neatly wrapped moral package but is open to the continuing revelation of God’s will. Seasonal material, both secular and liturgical, is appropriate. Most of the magazine’s content is written by adults, but we also welcome submissions from children.
Pockets is inter-denominational, and our readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. These differences should be reflected in the references that are made to lifestyles, living environments (suburban, urban, rural, reservation), families (extended families, single-parent families, and blended families as well as more “traditional” families), and individual names. Stories should show appreciation of cultural differences.
What ages are Pockets readers?
The magazine is for children ages six through twelve, with a target reading age of eight through twelve. Though some children may share it with their families and some churches use it with groups of children, Pockets is designed primarily for children’s personal use.
What type of material should I write?
Fiction and scripture stories should be 600 to 1000 words. Our primary interest is in stories that can help children deal with real-life situations. We do not accept stories about talking animals or inanimate objects. Fictional characters and some elaboration may be included in scripture stories, but the writer must remain faithful to the story.
Stories should contain action, use believable dialogue and characters, be simply written, and be relevant to the problems faced by this age group in everyday life. Children need to be able to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. It is important that the tone not be “preachy” or didactic. Use short sentences and paragraphs. When possible, use concrete words instead of abstractions. However, do not “write down” to children.
Poems should be short, not more than 16 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.
Non-fiction articles should be 400 to 1,000 words. We particularly seek articles about children involved in environmental, community, and peace/justice issues. These do not need to relate directly to an issue theme, but a natural tie-in to the theme is a plus. Please include photos of these children involved in their activities and supply a statement of parent’s permission to use the photos.
How should I submit my writing?
Contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card. We do not currently accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.
Will Pockets pay to use my writing?
Payment will be made at the time of acceptance. We sometimes place manuscripts on long-term hold for specific issues. Authors are free to request the return of their manuscripts at any time during the long-term hold.
Stories and articles: 14 cents a word
Poetry: $25 and up
Activities, games, recipes: $25 and up
How do I submit my manuscript?
Mail manuscripts to:
Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor
P.O. Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004
October 2017 – Everyday Heroes – Deadline: March 1, 2017
What constitutes a hero in the eyes of a child? A superstar entertainer? An elite athlete? A world leader or historical figure? True heroes often seem hard to find, but perhaps we should look around our own neighborhoods, communities, churches, schools, and even homes. Maybe we would find an abundance of heroes among those we see every day. This issue should help children recognize and appreciate those everyday heroes—people who quietly work to help others, people whose efforts are often taken for granted, people who try to live the way Jesus taught us to live. We also want this issue to help children to recognize their own potential to be everyday heroes.
November 2017 – Gratitude – Deadline: April 1, 2017
Gratitude is (or should be) a hallmark of our lives as Christians every day, not just on the fourth Thursday of November. But at times we may focus more on what we don’t have that we wish we did or feel we should. How do we help our children cultivate gratitude in their everyday lives? How do our lives reflect the gratitude that we say we feel? If we truly are grateful, what kind of actions flow from that gratitude?
December 2017 – Waiting and Welcoming – Deadline: May 1, 2017
The December issue of Pockets takes on a life of its own as we prepare to welcome Jesus once again. We turn to Advent themes such as waiting, hoping, preparing our hearts; and Christmas themes such as sharing love, joy, and peace. This issue should help children begin to understand how Jesus’ birth, God’s incarnation, is made new for them each Advent and Christmas and how this sense of Emmanuel, God with us, guides our lives throughout the year.