Writer's Guidelines

SHINE brightly is a magazine for girls ages 9 to 14 published by GEMS Girls’ Clubs (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior), an international ministry that starts Bible-based club programs in churches and Christian organizations. The goal of GEMS is to help bring girls everywhere into a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.

Looking for the Sparkle guidelines?

SHINE brightly Mission

We believe when young girls are equipped, motivated, and passionately engaged in living out their faith in Jesus Christ they have the potential to be world changers.

Christ was an activist. He did not neglect the needs of others as He brought His message. We strive to encourage girls to look more like Christ by reaching outside of themselves to serve the needs of others—at home, at school, in communities, and across the world—as they see how God works through individual personalities, situations, and talents.


Included in SHINE brightly:

We are looking for stories, articles, interviews, quizzes, games, puzzles, and crafts that are fresh, that present a realistic look at Christian life, and that cause young readers to see how their faith can play out in their daily lives.

We accept articles that relate to girls ages 9-14 and the experiences they connect with. Most of their time is spent at school, in sports, involved in afterschool activities, with friends, dealing with peer problems/pressure, with family, in church groups, and learning to reach out beyond their immediate world.

Manuscript topics should build girls up in Christian character, but they should not be preachy. Pollyanna endings, where everything turns out perfectly, are not always realistic and our readers want realistic stories. Our readers have a great sense of humor, so your manuscripts should be fun as well as educational and inspirational. Stretch our readers by challenging them to new vision, new experiences, and setting new goals.

Each season SHINE brightly dedicates its pages to the exploration of issues girls deal with each day and an Annual Theme. The new theme is Love Overflows (see below).


SHINE brightly fills up quickly, so get your manuscripts in early. We read manuscripts each week. You can expect to hear from us within eight weeks.

Fiction: Our readers like stories with adventure, fantasy, and mystery—stories about animals—and situations they can relate to in their daily interaction with family and friends. We do not print stories with religious clichés. We have found that there is a great void when it comes to adventure and mystery stories for girls. Whether fiction or actual accounts, we are looking for stories that highlight our theme within the context of an exciting story. Length: 700-900 words.

Nonfiction: Nonfiction articles about topics that interest our readers include: animals, sports, music, movies, musicians, personal care, fashion, famous people, interaction with family/friends/siblings, cross-cultural experiences, international issues, exciting service projects, dealing with schoolwork, and crafts. Length: 200-800 words.



Annual Theme: Love Overflows

God loves you. It’s who He is. It’s what He does. He is love and the Source of all love! And when we accept His love and absorb its width, length, height, and depth, it radically changes the way we love. Knowing and seeing God’s love is the key to loving Him, each other, and everyone else. From the overflow of His love we love.


Theme Verse

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12


  • To receive God’s lavish, personal, overflowing love for us. He calls us friend!
  • To live from the overflow of God’s love—loving God, family, friends, and everyone else.
  • To demonstrate an infectious love for one another through words, attitude, and actions.

The SHINE brightly Challenge Topic: Body Image

We’re looking for fiction, non-fiction, inspiring biographies, activities, and sidebars that weave the topic of body image and self-esteem into each issue. This is a tough topic, but creating a positive body image and talking about the effects of having a negative one are a very important focus for this age. We want to help girls see that they are beautiful, unique daughters of the King.

Monthly Themes

We will also be intentionally focused on the following issues girls face every day that relate to this year’s theme. We are looking for fiction and non-fiction stories, articles, activities, and sidebars that incorporate these topics. We will explore issues like peer pressure, working together, bullying, and being a good friend. See the monthly themes below.

General Submissions and submissions regarding Love Overflows and body image/self-esteem will be accepted until January 2017. For a month-to-month schedule of how the specific girls themes will be featured, check out the deadlines below.

September 2016

Deadline: March 14, 2016

Topic: Peer Pressure

Most teen and tween girls experience pressure from their peers. The goal of this issue is to help girls find confidence in their values and beliefs and encourage them to overcome peer pressure as they stand up for what they believe is right.


October 2016

Deadline: May 11, 2016

Topic: Encouragement/Working Together

Working on a team can be hard! This issue will focus on teaching girls how to be encouraging and work well with others—even if they don’t always see eye-to-eye.


November 2016

Deadline: June 7, 2016

Topic: Technology Use

Cell phones, blogs, apps, and more—technology is integrated into almost every part of a girl’s life. This issue will focus on helping girls navigate technology in a responsible way.


December 2016

Deadline: July 5, 2016

Topic: Family Relationships

Our readers come from a variety of familial structures. But among that variety are sibling issues, parental disagreements, and wonderful shared memories. This issue will help girls learn how to handle the ups and downs of their family relationships—with the ultimate goal of helping them see that their family is a blessing.


January 2017

Deadline: August 2, 2016

Topic: Bullying

Bullying is a big problem that can’t be ignored. This issue will help girls spot, stand up to, and stop bullies at their school or in their neighborhood.


February 2017

Deadline: August 30, 2016

Topic: Being Inclusive/Celebrating Together

This issue will helps girls see that celebrating our differences and including everyone in on the fun is the best way to live in community.


March 2017

Deadline: September 27, 2016

Topic: Loyalty

Good friends always have your back—loyalty sees beyond mistakes, forgives, and never gives up. This issue will help girls understand the importance of loyal friendships.


April 2017

Deadline: November 1, 2016

Topic: Loving Others/Service

When girls accept God’s overflowing love it’s impossible for it not to spill over into the lives of others. This issue will explore how girls can love others well and serve their communities.


Summer 2017

Deadline: December 6, 2016

Topic: Being a Good Friend

Reflecting on the past issues covered this season and including whatever issues weren’t covered, this issue will help girls see what it means to be a good friend.



Criteria for Selection of Manuscripts:

Submissions to SHINE brightly are selected based upon the following criteria:

  1. The manuscript must fit with the SHINE brightly
  2. The submission applies Scripture to everyday life.
  3. The ability to incorporate cultural issues while still holding to Biblical truths.
  4. The ability to relate to the reader and encourage her to apply concepts, life lessons, skills, and experiences to her own life.

Preparing Your Manuscript

  1. At the top put your name, address, phone number, word count, the issue and topic you are submitting, as well as the rights offered.
  2. Indicate fiction or nonfiction.
  3. Include desired byline.
  4. Give sources for all statistical information or quoted material.

Basis for Rejection of Material

  1. Does not show girls how God is at work in their lives and the world around them.
  2. Too young or too old for readers 9 to 14.
  3. Simplistic, unrealistic, too predictable, or the theological perspective differs too greatly from our own.
  4. Does not fit our themes.
  5. Duplication of material already published or submitted.
  6. Editorial needs filled.
  7. Limited need for poetry.
  8. Inept writing—poor opening, transitions, grammar. Lacks the drama or crisis that appeals to our readers.

Submitting Your Manuscript

To honor God by being responsible stewards of His creation, we are no longer accepting mailed submissions. Thank you for helping us reduce unnecessary paper waste. Together we can make a difference.

Please place manuscript within the body of your email. Do not send attachments. Email: shinebrightly@gemsgc.org

Query: We do not accept queries. Please send the completed manuscript you wish to have published.

Compensation: Compensation for all pieces that are published in SHINE brightly is made upon publication. Fiction and nonfiction writers receive 3-5¢ per word up to $35.00 depending on length, quality, and rights (see below for list of rights). Poetry receives $5.00 to $15.00 depending on length, quality, and rights. Games and puzzles are paid from $5.00 to $15.00. All published writers receive two copies of the issue in which their piece is published.

Editing Privileges: The editorial staff of SHINE brightly Magazine reserves the right to edit any accepted manuscript. This is done with a conscious effort to preserve both the writer’s style and the intent of material. If editing is extensive, the edited manuscript will be submitted to the author prior to publication.

Rights: We purchase the following rights:

  1. First North American Rights—The author retains copyright, and may submit the manuscript for publication elsewhere after it appears in SHINE brightly. SHINE brightly has first time printing rights.
  2. Second Rights—Rates are for a previously published article. Author must own copyright, or submit proof of permission to resell from the copyright owner.
  3. Simultaneous Rights—The author must notify publisher that the submitted article is being offered in another market that should not overlap our readership.



For a Sample Copy of SHINE brightly

You may write for a sample copy of SHINE brightly.
Please enclose $1.00 and a 9 x 12 inch self-addressed stamped envelope.

Mail to: SHINE brightly
Attn: Hannah/Sample Copy Request
1333 Alger St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507