Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Bright Light In China—Xiaoduo Media

One of our newer paying markets in our AbsoluteWrite forum, Xiaoduo Media, is open for submissions for capable freelance writers who wouldn’t mind writing for a worthy cause, in addition to some lucrative compensation. Xiaoduo Media is five years-old now. Conny, the main contact liaison and editor can explain it better than I can. 

Conny: Xiaoduo Median, a publisher based in both New York and Beijing is looking for children’s authors. We currently publish three monthly magazines and an assortment of book series for ages 6 to 14. The literary magazine “Red Squirrel” publishes high quality licensed work from world famous authors and original stories, poems, articles from all over the world; the science magazine “Ask You Ask Me” publishes feature articles, science fiction, and scientific activities.

Our mission is to make available world-class, quality content to children in China to foster a love of learning, develop critical thinking skills and mold global citizens.

We welcome writers, artists, illustrators and the people who are interested in writing for children to submit your articles or works.

If your work meets our requirements, we will be happy to publish it along with your brief profile and photos. Please note that not all submissions will be published; however, we urge you to submit your work again in the future.

For the magazine "Red Squirrel": 

Categories: realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, humor, mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, folk tales, fairy tales, legends and myths. 

Length: 500 to 6,000 words 

An exact word count should be noted on each manuscript submitted. Word count includes every word, but does not include the title of the manuscript or the author's name.

Rates: up to 15¢ per word (price differs in length, type of rights, etc.)

We also buy previously published stories for which the authors own the rights.

For the magazine "Ask You Ask Me":

We are interested in articles rich in scientific accuracy and lively approaches to the subject at hand. The inclusion of primary research (interviews with scientists focusing on current research) is of primary interest to the magazine.

Feature Articles: Up to 1500 words

Includes: in-depth nonfiction articles. (An interactive approach is a definite plus!) Q & A interviews, plays, and biographies are of interest as well 

Fiction: Up to 1,500 words

Includes: science-related stories, science fiction on a believable scientific basis, relating to the theme. 

Rates: up to 250 USD per article (We purchase all rights to material)

Activities: Up to 750 words

Includes: critical thinking activities, experiments, models, science fair projects, astrophotography projects, and any other science projects that can either be done by children alone, with adult supervision or in a classroom setting. Query should be accompanied by sketches and description of how activity relates to theme.

The payment is upon publication at latest within 6 months, via PayPal. We purchase all rights, unless prior negotiations and special circumstances are requested.

Queries and questions should be directed to Conny, editor at Xiaoduo Media. Contact link is at the bottom or our submission. Go there and scroll down: http://www.xiaoduo.com.cn/news/index.php?action-viewnews-itemid-18882-php-1

Chris:  That about sums it up. Great pay—magazine placement with title credit. Target demographic: young readers, 6 to 14 years-old. These articles and stories will be translated primarily into Chinese for the foreign market. Although there may be other foreign translations in the works as we speak. Participating authors are reporting very good editing skills and structural revision comments, along with superb and timely payment (upon publication). All correspondence comes with patient guidance. I’ve been there, and I must say that it took me three full-length science articles to adapt to the specific style they’re after. That would tabulate to about nine or 10 revisions. It wasn’t that hard; I was just dense and used to writing science material for the adult, academic crowd. If you’ve written and/or published Young Reader or Middle Grade, you’ll feel right at home here. 

In a nutshell, fiction and non-fiction are best served in a story format.


Fiction will have a beginning, middle and end, with an important science topic used as a backdrop to teach, reveal and entertain in equal measures. Xiaoduo Media favors character-driven all the way. Always. It’s always about people, then the discovery woven into a tight plot. Don’t forget that. And make it accessible to the young reader—keep the highbrow words, theories and author intrusion at arm’s length. Humor and irony is fine, but there is an emphasis on the struggle, with roadblocks and inner turmoil aplenty. People suffer turmoil and conflict. Machines don’t. And space is a boring unless people populate it.

Now, fantasy doesn’t really have the science core that science fiction has, but it is there if you stop and think about it (especially in urban fantasy or steampunk). Time machines, invisibility, sword and scocery-metalergy, historic or cultural folklore, alchemy, ghost detection, DNA mutations, herbs and spell-casting, dimensional portals and other fringe science areas. Horror is ripe for science slants—think of “The Happening”, “The Fly” or any of Stephen King’s books that used science in piggyback form. If the reader can learn something while being entertained, all the better.


Non-fiction articles and features: Pay attention to the assignment’s list. Once you get a roster of assignments to pick from, organize the suggested topics into cohesive order; sub-title them and draft a quick but thorough outline of each topic and what it will cover. Send the outline in for approval first. It might come back with some notes. Again, it’s all about people; the scientists, astronomers and physicists. Tell their story about how they dreamed, worked and conceived of the invention, theory, adventure or discovery. Keep it light, use some interactive “audience speak.” Show by example. Be creative and exciting when striving toward the reveal. In short, these articles are fictionalized non-fiction, straight through.

These science articles will be true life stories and experiences, with feeling, failure and eventually victory. A few opening sentences about the person’s origin, education and eventual participation in the project is fine. They don’t need E = Mc2 as much as they need Albert fooling around with some equations and breaking chalk, then finding out the theory, but in a simplified form so a kid could understand it. Try and keep it under 1,500 words—lean and trimmed. Any article that screams for a picture or small graph, find a good one and then include the link to it in your article submission (try for public domain free-stock stuff). For instance, my next assignment involves “Cosmic Microwave Background” and the big bang noise. So I’ll be hunting down a photo of the old horn receiver that was first used.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve described the style, tone, pace and voice, but that’s what I’ve learned. You will find Conny insufferably understanding and attentive to your questions. Email me if you have any structural questions or need a Beta read. I’ll do my best.

I asked Conny a few questions and the answers were kindly submitted:

Chris: Conny, China is fast becoming a recognized industrial nation with the development in new and advanced technologies. Did Xiaoduo Media have this fact in mind when it decided to reach out to the younger reading public and offer informative and entertaining science stories and articles?

Chris: Conny, Has the youth in China become more involved and interested in science vocations in the last decade? How so, and do you expect to make a future impact on them, if you haven't already?

Conny: I will try to answer your first two questions together.

In the science area, China is not in any position as a leader, maybe in some advanced research areas which are very few, considering its capacities and population. For many generations, science was not considered an important subject in school.

China has just started to recruit and train elementary teachers in science in the recent years. Children have more imported science books to read now but the reach for the critical mass is far less than what it should be. Xiaoduo wants to timely introduce what the world scientists are doing and how developed science and technology has been and will be so as to open eyes for the young readers. We hope that some of our readers, when they grow up, can participate in science and technology developments with their global peers and at least appreciate the beauty and magic of science in life.

Chris: Where can we find Xiaoduo media publications? I expect that English speaking countries will be able to locate them and perhaps translate the stories into readable formats?

Conny: We will have electronic copies of our publications available both in English and Chinese this year.

Thank you so much! Things look promising and wonderful at the moment for the young readers. I’m sure the contributions you, your staff and writers impart will have a lasting and positive effect on China and the global community at large.

I just wanted to note that The Girl They Sold to the Moon is now available on pre-order on Amazon. The paperback price is especially affordable at $11.33, undoubtedly one of the lowest out there. You can find it here:



Or Intrigue Publishing:  Sandra Bowman at: 
Intrigue is proud to announce our latest author acquisition; Chris Stevenson, author of the YA Dystopian and Science Fiction novel The Girl They Sold to the Moon. Eighteen-year-old Tilly Breedlove’s father has pawned her to a ruthless company called Family Trade and Loan, who sells her into a form of modern day slavery on Luna—the Tranquility Harbor Mining Company, 240,000 miles from home. Forced to be an exotic dancer, she performs risqué shows for the filthy and filthy rich ore miners--a far cry from her classical and modern dance training. If she isn't resisting obscene advances from bearded “Prairie Dogs”, she's fending off jealous head-liner acts who view her as a threat to their status—and when those jealous showgirls say “break a leg”, they aim to cause it. The only reprieve she finds in this shop of horrors is a few close ward friends, a sympathetic dance coach/choreographer, and Buddy Gunner Bell, who just might become the love of her life. It's just enough to stem her psychological meltdown. Find out what happens to Tilly and her friends in this fast-paced, fun ride.
Chris Stevenson , originally born and raised on the beaches of southern California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009 and settled in with his twin sister. His occupations have included newspaper reporter, front-line mechanic and federal police officer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988.