Writer's Guidelines

The following writer’s guidelines are for SHINE brightly Magazine—a magazine for girls ages 9 to 14 that is published by GEMS Girls’ Clubs—an international, club-based ministry for girls. The mission of GEMS is to help bring girls 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 as well as an Annual Theme. The theme this season is In His Steps (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 interactions 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: In His Steps

Theme Verse

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

Theme Aims

  • To see Jesus—His character, life, and ways—with as much clarity as possible.
  • To learn how to live by listening to Jesus and acting on what He says.
  • To walk so close to Jesus we live as He did.

The SHINE brightly Challenge Topic: Technology

We’re looking for fiction, non-fiction, inspiring biographies, activities, and sidebars that weave the topic of technology into each issue. This is a topic that impacts our readers on a daily basis. This isn’t limited to current technology. Think about how technology—about how tools and inventions—have evolved over time, how it impact girls’ lives, and about its part in relationships/schools/home-life.

Monthly Themes

We will also be intentionally focusing on how girls can follow in Jesus’ steps wherever they are. 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 In His Steps will be accepted until January 2018. We are looking for a variety of fiction and non-fiction stories, activities, and sidebars that fit within the In His Steps concept. For a month-to-month schedule of how the theme-related topics will be featured each month, see the deadlines below.

September/October 2017

Deadline: March 10, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus Around Your Friends

This issue will focus on friend issues (peer pressure, honesty, bullying, inclusion, etc.) and how girls can strive to live like Jesus in their friendships.


November 2017

Deadline: June 6, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus at Celebrations

This issue will focus on celebrating! The holidays give us one reason to celebrate, but we can also help our friends celebrate the little things in their lives, and include others in our celebrations. We will also focus on how girls can imitate Jesus by helping those we love celebrate.


December 2017

Deadline: July 5, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus at the Mall

Shopping—girls love it, even at this age! But how do we teach them to live like Jesus at the mall? This issue will focus on helping girls learn what it means to be stewards of the money they’re given as well as shopping with an ethical mindset.


January 2018

Deadline: August 1, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus at Home

It’s one thing to show people we don’t know kindness and love, but what about at home? This issue will focus on how to follow in Jesus’ steps at home, looking at sibling issues, parental relationships, and more!

February 2018

Deadline: August 29, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus at Extra Curricular Activities

Between soccer practice, band, and dance, kids are involved in a lot! This issue will focus on how they can follow Jesus in whatever activities they are involved in. Between navigating orchestra chair tryouts, not making the team, or interacting with a bully in science club, this issue will help girls navigate these scenarios.


March 2018

Deadline: September 26, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus When Alone

It’s easy to do things we think others might disagree with when we’re by ourselves—no one will know, right? It’s easier to send that mean text or think bad thoughts about someone when we’re by ourselves. This issue will focus on helping girls navigate the hard stuff that pulls at them when they are alone and encourage them to follow in Jesus’ steps, even if no one else notices.

April 2018

Deadline: November 2, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus in Your Neighborhood

Between new neighbors, friendly games of kickball, and waiting at the bus stop for school—there are lots of opportunities to follow Jesus in your neighborhood! This issue will help girls navigate how to love people well and create a welcoming community, even when people disagree or are different from each other.


Summer 2018

Deadline: December 5, 2017

Topic: Following Jesus on Vacation

Summer is the perfect time for vacations! And, while it may be somewhat easy to follow Jesus in your community, it can be easy to slip out of habit and intentionality when you aren’t at home. This issue will focus on how girls can follow Jesus’ example while they are traveling—whether it’s far away or just down the street to a friend’s house for a sleepover.



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