Writing for Children's Magazines
An Ezine

   Interview with Kris Weipert, Editor of St. Mary's Messenger 



We are so blessed to have Kris Weipert with us this month to share some information about St. Mary's Messenger magazine.

Welcome, Kris! Would you please begin by telling us a little about how St. Mary's Messenger got its start?

It started with an answered novena to St. Therese of Lisieux almost 14 years ago! I woke up one morning with a vision of a Catholic version of Highlights, worked up a prototype, pulled together volunteers who helped produce it, and with even more prayer, holy hours and masses, it all came together.

What do you love most about your editor job? What do you find challenging about it?

Being able to put in print what is on my heart and those who contribute to it. Seeing the ideas and visions of myself and others come together. The challenging part is logistics and finances. To produce a high quality print magazine is very expensive and most adult magazines have gone online or gone out of business. I can't pay for a staff to market, advertise, etc… and because it's a children's magazine, we don't have paid advertisers as a majority of our content like adult magazines.

For those who might not be familiar with St. Mary's Messenger, tell us a bit about it. What sets it apart as a magazine?

I think it's the quality, especially artwork. Most people comment, once they see the magazine, that they didn't expect it to look so professional.

You have very thorough and helpful submission guidelines on your website. Please tell us anything else about what you particularly look for in a submission, the sorts of things that get you excited.

Genuine stories, creative, innovative, simplicity, authentic "from the heart" submissions that glorify God in the way they're written or illustrated, even if they're not about God or the Church. The best way to get ideas is to read past issues for examples of what we have selected. Poems, activities, projects… Not just stories. I find myself relying a lot on friends who have blogs and sites for parents and kids or reprints of adult articles that we simplify or reformat for children.

On your submission guidelines page you mention "Our Allergies." Can you please expand on any of those things that turn you off to a submission or share any additional ones?

Junk. I hate to be blunt, but some things have been absolute junk not appropriate for children or Catholics. Agenda driven stuff or things that are written without a true love for truth, goodness, innocence, imagination, and all the components of quality literature and art.

Any tips for writers or illustrators who might want to break into St. Mary's Messenger? Suggestions that will increase their chances of acceptance?

Length (on the shorter side), variety, creative, old fashioned, games, activities, genuine, historical fiction, classic rewrites, Bible stories, real stories of things that have happened to someone…like the original Reader's Digest type things.

Any other information about St. Mary's Messenger you’d like to share with us?

Our response time isn't very good because we're all parents and volunteers. If you send something in and don't hear back, please follow up. If we like something, we may print it immediately or we may save it for future. Don't give up! We also need volunteers to help with a Facebook page, that would really increase our readership which helps all of you.

Thank you so much, Kris, for taking the time to share with us this helpful information and for being a part of creating such an inspiring and fun magazine for young people.

For you writers who are now inspired to submit something to this wonderful publication, guidelines are here. This is a paying market.

Writing for Children's Magazines, July 2016


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