About

Writer Guidelines

What is Pockets?

Designed for 8- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful pictures, 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 written and produced for children and 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.

Themes are set each year in December and are available on-line at www.pockets.org. Copies are also available by mail with an SASE. Please note that deadlines are approximately one year before the publication date of an issue and late manuscripts cannot be considered.

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 eight through twelve. Though some children may share it with their families, 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 prefer real-life settings, but we occasionally use fables. 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 lots of action, use believable dialogue, 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 20 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.

Non-fiction articles should be 400 to 1,000 words. These should be related to a particular theme which has been projected. We also seek biographical sketches of persons, famous or unknown, whose lives reflect their Christian commitments and values. These may be either short vignettes (a single incident) or longer and more complete biographies.

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 accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.

How will I know if my submission will be used?

If we use your submission, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contract and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned before you will receive payment.

Submissions not chosen for publication will be returned only if you have sent a SASE. Because of the number of submissions we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.

Will Pockets pay to use my writing?

Yes, payment will be made at the time of acceptance. We will make an initial response within eight weeks after receiving the manuscript. We often 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. We purchase newspaper, periodical, and electronic rights, and we accept one-time previously published material.

Stories and articles: 14 cents a word

Poetry: $25 and up

Activities, games: $25 and up

How do I submit my manuscript?

Mail manuscripts to:

Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor

Pockets

1908 Grand Avenue

P.O. Box 340004

Nashville, TN 37203-0004

USA