Steve Bootsma is editor of Cadet Quest magazine.
Who should schedule an appointment with you at Write-to-Publish?
Writing short stories for youth audiences is a great way to break into being published. And being published is a great feeling, providing encouragement and motivation to continue your writing. A previous attendee expressed his excitement showing his parents the magazine issue with his story: “See, I am an author!” People new to the publishing world, who aren’t sure where to start, should consider short-story and nonfiction-article writing.
Authors discouraged with their progress on a current project, who need some encouragement by being in print, or those looking for something new without the time commitment of tens of thousands of words should consider youth magazines.
Please tell us about Cadet Quest.
The magazine is published as part of our Cadets’ boys club ministry. We are a nondenominational alternative to Boy Scouts. The magazine has stories, articles, puzzles, and Bible lessons. When you write a story or article for Cadet Quest, you don’t need to be preachy as the boys already have the Bible lessons.
Our ministry mission statement is “Helping boys to grow more Christlike in all areas of life.” We are looking for fun reading that demonstrates how God is involved in all aspects of our lives.
We publish seven times a year, each issue with its own theme. Theme lists are available on our website or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you listen for during a pitch at a writers conference?
I listen for people who demonstrate they understand a 10-year-old boy—whether they remember being one, or parenting one, or working with one. If you can’t understand my target audience, you probably can’t write for them.
For nonfiction articles, I listen for passion. Whether you write about bugs or baseball, biking or building, I like to know your excitement will be evident to the readers. For short stories I listen for creativity without preachiness.
Interviewed by Susan Miura, speaker, freelance editor, and author of four award-winning novels and a children’s book.