Back in 2019 I had what I thought was a winning idea for a book. I would single-handedly solve the gender imbalance in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths workforces by writing a book for Australian girls about Australian girls who grew up to achieve amazing success in STEM fields.
I interviewed 37 women working in various STEM areas, and they all thought it was a great idea too. They very generously gave of their time and personal information in the hope that young high school/upper primary school girls would be inspired to pursue a career in STEM if that is where their aptitudes and interests lie.
Some publishers thought it was a good idea too, but it was too academic for the trade children’s publishers and not the right demographic for the marketers at the academic publishers.
Not being one to give up – especially when so many brilliant women had been so generous in sharing their stories – I then thought about running the articles as a serial in a magazine for girls. The problem with girls’ (and, IMHO, women’s!) magazines is that most focus on fashion or celebrities, and my articles just would not fit, so I didn’t even bother pitching to them.
But then I discovered Poppy for Real (link to Poppy for real magazine). Poppy for Real is issued monthly, has no advertising and contains serialised stories, animal facts, art and craft projects and at least two articles on female role models. I thought my articles would slot in nicely. And happily the editor did too.
Dawnie Rasmussen, said editor, has been very helpful, introducing me to the concept of readability indices. If you don’t know what these are, they are ways to calculate the reading age of your audience based on factors like syllable count and sentence length. The sample article I sent through was pitched perfectly for Year 8’s (my original target audience), but a little too high for actual 8-year-olds. Luckily (or dare I say skilfully?) my redraft was just right for Poppy for Real’s readership, so I will go full steam ahead with the other 36.
(The readability index calculation for this post suggests it’s pitched at a Year 10 level.)