Inklings Book Contest FAQ

What are the submission guidelines?
  • Submissions may be made by young authors grades 3-9.
  • Submissions may be poems or complete short stories of any genre.
  • Submissions may be no longer than 3,750 words (about 15 pages double-spaced typed)
  • Limit 1 submission per person.
  • Submissions must be .pdf, .doc/.docx, or .rtf files and must follow the manuscript format.
  • Submissions are due March 15, 2019.


What is the Selection Process?

Entries will be reviewed by a committee of Young Inklings staff and Collaborating Artists. The committee will look for writing submissions that have a strong point of view and for writers who are committed to the revision process. Up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 3-6 and up to ten from grades 7-9.


All applicants will be notified of whether or not they were chosen for publishing by April 15, 2019. Winners will be guided through the revision process and published in the Inklings Book 2019. Finalists and Society of Young Inklings members will receive a personalized editorial letter with feedback about their work. All applicants will receive a personalized note from our mentor team.


We are committed to publishing stories and poems that impact the world in positive, transformational ways—works we would be excited to share with the full age range of young writers we serve. We do not publish work that promotes violence, cruelty, prejudice, reckless behavior, or any work containing sexual content.


Other criteria include:

  • Originality
  • Interesting, active word choice
  • In stories: unique characters, settings, and plots
  • In poetry: strong imagery, unique metaphors and/or similes, a strong emotional connection
  • Demonstration, through story/poem and submission form, of readiness for the Inklings editorial mentorship.


Upon acceptance, the program includes an editorial mentorship as described below, graphic design, along with layout and copyediting of the finished piece. Winners will receive two copies of the finished book – one for themselves and one for their school.


What is the Inklings Editorial Mentorship?

This is a formal revision process that mimics what adult authors do in order to become published. Our process, just like for paid authors, can sometimes feel long. And often once you’ve written a manuscript, the real work begins. But don’t lose heart! Once you see your name in print you will feel proud of the hard work you put into your writing.


Those chosen for the book will begin an editorial mentorship with a mentor.

  • First, mentors will read the submitted story and application, and carefully choose a revision focus for the piece. Our goal is to guide you through a focused revision, appropriate to your developmental level, teaching both the skill of viewing writing through a specific revision lens, as well as revising with that specific focus in mind. Mentors will write you a revision letter, which will outline a strategy for revision.
  • Second, once you receive your revision letter, your mentor will schedule a meeting with you to talk over the letter. Meetings will be via online video chat and will be 45 minutes in length. You will be given two-three weeks to revise your manuscript.
  • Your mentor will meet with you for a final meeting to touch-up revision and to interview you about your revision process.
  • After the piece is finished, the Society of Young Inklings will copyedit and send for publication. The Inklings Book will be available in August.
  • You will receive one copy of the published book for yourself and one copy for your school.
  • You will also be invited to a Book Launch Party in August 2019 in the Bay Area, CA.

Contact us by email at or by phone at (650) 735-1408 with any questions.