How to Submit Creative Writing and Art to Stone Soup

Stone Soup Magazine
September 2018

Getting Started

Stone Soup welcomes submissions from around the world by writers and artists ages 13 and younger. All submissions must come to us via Submittable. We do not accept submissions by email or by post.

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More Information About Submitting Work to Stone Soup

General Information
What is Stone Soup’s age limit?
What is the length limit for written work?
What happens when I submit something?
I want to have a story published in Stone Soup. What advice can you give me?
I want to send you a poem. Do you have any advice for me?
I want to write a book, TV, or movie review. Do you have any advice for me?
I want to be a Stone Soup artist. Do you have any advice for me?
Does my story or poem have to be typed?
May I submit more than one story or poem at a time?
May I illustrate my own story?
May I send the same story to Stone Soup and to another magazine, website, or contest?
Does Stone Soup hold contests?
When will my story be published?
Payment

General Information

You can improve your chances of getting published in Stone Soup by reading this page with its editorial guidelines and, even more importantly, by reading Stone Soup itself. If you don’t already have a subscription to Stone Soup, please consider subscribing now. By subscribing to Stone Soup, you  support the Children’s Art Foundation and the Stone Soup project—making it possible for future generations of kids to enjoy Stone Soup as well. So thank you!

To get an idea of the kind of work we like and have published in the past, you may also want to order some of our Stone Soup anthologies or the annuals from the Stone Soup Store.

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What is Stone Soup’s age limit?

Stone Soup welcomes submissions by children aged 13 and younger. If you are 14 or older, we recommend our page titled Where to Publish Writing by Kids. It lists a variety of places that publish work by young people of various ages, including both print and online publications. Let us know if we should add any to the list.

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What is the length limit for written work?

In short, we have no limit. However, we find that we tend to gravitate toward shorter stories—some even less than a page! Many of the stories we publish are 3-5 pages long; a few are longer.

Occasionally, a young writer asks us if we ever serialize a longer story, that is: do we ever publish part of the story in one issue and continue the story in our next issue? It’s unlikely, but not out of the question. If you have written a long story or novel, we congratulate you! We would love to read it, and if we really love it, we will find a way to publish it—either in serial form in the magazine or perhaps even (in rare cases) as a book.

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What happens when I submit something?

We are a small staff, we get many submissions, and Stone Soup is not our day job; however, we strive to respond to everyone within 8-10 weeks. Often the wait will be much shorter. Occasionally the wait will be longer—usually if it falls during a holiday or vacation period (e.g. late December, August), or if we are having a more involved editorial discussion about your work. Please be patient, and also don’t be discouraged if you hear a “no” the first time…or first few times. We urge you to submit again! Many of our published authors tried several times before getting published.

Note: We will not respond to status queries sent before 10 weeks.

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I want to have a story published in Stone Soup. What advice can you give me?

Send us stories about the things you feel most strongly about. Whether your work is about imaginary situations or real ones, use your own experiences and observations to give your work depth and a sense of reality.

We publish stories on all subjects—dance, sports, problems at school, problems at home, magical places—and in all genres—literary fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery; there is no limit to the subject matter of a Stone Soup story. What matters to us is not the subject. It is how interesting your story is to another reader. Does it have a strong beginning, middle, and end? If there is dialogue, is it realistic—is it the way people speak? If your story has talking animals, is there something about the way the animals think or move that feels true to that particular kind of animal?

We have published many stories that beautifully describe a private place, like a favorite tree the character likes to sit under or a clearing in the woods. We love stories that describe special private places, places that are in some way magical. Lots of stories published in Stone Soup concern problems, like moving house or school, or having to compete in a sporting event or perform in a recital. And we have published many works of historical fiction as well. Whatever you choose to write about, be sure it comes from your heart. Tell us a story that you really and truly want to tell us.

To get an idea of the kind of work we like, read stories and poems from past issues of Stone Soup. If you are not a subscriber, you can get a taste of what we publish from the text excerpts on our Instagram as well.

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I want to send you a poem. Do you have any advice for me?

How the Universe Came to BeAs with fiction, we publish all kinds of poems—poems that rhyme and poems that don’t, poems written in sentences and poems written in fragmented phrases, among many other types—and on all subjects—nature, religion, animals, science, interesting ideas, relationships, and experiences.

We have a preference for poems that are, for lack of a better word, weird—poems that stretching the boundaries of language, that make us think, that make us laugh (more than ones that make us cry), that are excited to be on the page, that crackle with energy… We want poems that make us feel alive!  A poem can tell a story, but it should also be an event in language. You are trying to infect the reader with whatever you were thinking or feeling when you wrote the poem.

For this reason, we do not publish poems with clichés—unless the poem is making fun of or playing with the cliché! A cliché is an overused expression or phrase like “every cloud has a silver lining,” “he had nerves of steel,” “only time will tell,” “time heals all wounds,” and many others you would recognize. After you write something, ask yourself: is this something I have heard many, many times, or is it new? We also generally steer clear of poems that overdramatize situations, often with words like “shard,” “shatter,” “dagger,” “rage,” etc.

Our last piece of advice is this: read lots of poems. Be clear in your own mind why what you send us is a poem, and not just a story with lots of very short lines. Read your poem or poems aloud before sending them to Stone Soup. Are you doing something new and exciting with language? Are you leaving the reader with a feeling or an idea (or both)?

Please submit your poems in packets of 3-5 (fewer is okay, too) via Submittable.

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I want to write a book, TV, or movie review. Do you have any advice for me? 

Stone Soup welcomes reviews by kids of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books, movies, TV shows, and video games. We have a whole section of our blog devoted to reviews that we update frequently. We encourage you to read a few reviews to get a sense of what we publish.  

When you read those, you will notice we’re not particularly interested in a summary of the story (and, in fact, don’t want to publish reviews that will reveal so much plot that it spoils a book or a show for another reader!). Instead, we want to know whether you think the book is good or bad, and why. Strong opinions are great, but you need to back up your opinion with evidence from the book. The best reviews will quote the piece being review. The best reviews will also explore how the characters and situations in the story personally affected you. Have you had an experience similar to any in the story? If you have, write about your experience and how it compares with the one in the story.

Your review must be at least 300 words and no more than 600 words.

Please submit your finished review via Submittable.

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I want to be a Stone Soup artist. Do you have any advice for me?

The Moon Loomed Before Him

Li Lingfei, 10

A long time ago, when Stone Soup was first founded, we didn’t commission illustrations. Instead, we published pieces of art that excited us—regardless of their connection to a specific story! We have recently decided to return to this practice. This means, we are no longer commissioning illustrations for the magazine. From now on, we will be accepting standalone art—drawing, paintings, photographs, collages as well as images of sculpture, diorama, ceramics, etc.—that we simply love and want to share with all of our readers. Your art will be featured in a special “art” section of our new digital magazine. In addition, we might also choose to pair it with a story or a poem, in which case it would be featured in two places in the issue. Please consider submitting your best pieces of art to the magazine.

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Does my story or poem have to be typed?

Writing need not be typed, as long as it is legible. If you type your work, please type it double-spaced in a plain, medium-sized font. Remember that all submissions are through our online system, so whether it is typed or handwritten you will need to have your work in an electronic file in order to send it to us.

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May I submit more than one story or packet of poems at a time?

Yes, you may.

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May I illustrate my own story?

Yes, you may submit your story with your own illustrations or those of a friend. Please submit them as a separate entires in the appropriate categories with a note in the cover letter. It is possible we will accept a story without the art or vice versa.


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May I send the same story to Stone Soup and to another magazine, website, or contest?

Please wait to hear back from us before submitting your work elsewhere. If you have not heard from us within 10 weeks and are anxious to submit elsewhere, feel free to email and inquire about the status of your submission. We will not respond to status queries sent before 10 weeks.


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Does Stone Soup hold contests?

Yes, we do, and they have cash prizes! Please see our Current Contests for more details, or you can always go straight to our Submittable page, which includes contests and all specialized categories or themed work we are actively looking for.


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When will my story be published?

We plan and produce issues months in advance, so publication is never instantaneous. Putting together an issue does not simply mean slotting in the pieces most recently accepted, but rather finding the pieces that “speak” to each other in some way. For these reasons, you can expect a lag time of at least three months and up to a year (and occasionally even a bit longer) before you see your piece published.

This is standard practice for professional literary journals. Thanks in advance for your patience.


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Payment

All contributors whose work is accepted for publication are paid with two print copies of the issue their work appears in. Those who are listed on the honor roll will receive one print copy of the magazine. Additionally, the month of publication, contributors and students on the honor roll will both receive a code for one-month’s free access to the digital Stone Soup, which includes the PDF of their current issue as well as the blog material (all written by young writers) and the Stone Soup archives.

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