Writer’s Guidelines for Unlocked

Unlocked is a daily teen devotional produced by Keys for Kids Ministries. We’re seeking devotional pieces that fit a variety of forms and genres.

Submit a gospel-centered devotional piece—whether it be essay, poetry, personal story, fiction*, or other written art form. Connect God’s story with any topic you see in the world. How does Jesus fit into what you are wondering about, writing about, or experiencing? Successful submissions ask: How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection affect the topic being addressed?

Word Count Requirements:

  • Devotional essays: 200-315 words
  • Fiction*: 200-350 words
  • Poetry: max. 115 words

Also include:

  • your name (as you’d like it to appear if your submission is accepted)
  • your mailing address
  • a title
  • up to 3 Scripture passages for people to read before the devotion
  • 2-3 discussion questions for after the devotion (optional verse references for guidance may be included)
  • a key verse—what is the Bible verse you want people to walk away remembering?

PAYMENT: $30 on acceptance

PLEASE NOTE: Content submitted must be original. We are not able to republish content that has appeared in its current form in another publication or that has been posted on the web (such as a personal blog post or social media post). Email kandi@keysforkids.org for further information.

*NOTE ABOUT FICTION: We are primarily looking for allegorical fiction, especially sci-fi and fantasy. While we do sometimes accept contemporary fiction stories, please make sure the characters, situation, and dialogue are not too young, wooden, or melodramatic. When in doubt, write for an older audience, not a younger one.


FAQs:

DO I HAVE TO BE A TEEN TO SUBMIT? Writers must be at least 13 years old. If you are not a teenager, we welcome your submissions (and the wisdom your age brings), asking only that you consider your audience carefully. How does your devotional piece add gospel-centered value to our young adult readers as they navigate today’s world?

WHAT RIGHTS DO YOU BUY? The Unlocked devotional and its sister publication, the Keys for Kids devotional, have some unique editorial and ministry needs. Because of these needs (listed below), our submissions process requires that we buy all rights to devotional pieces:

  1. To allow Keys for Kids and Unlocked to minister to the greatest number of people, our Keys for Kids devotions are posted online and in our app, recorded in an audio version, and are translated, written, and recorded into other languages. They are sometimes even published into book compilations and other resources. Unlocked will continue in a similar pattern. Also, the daily devotions featured in Keys for Kids and Unlocked are on a four- to eight-year publishing rotation, being re-edited and rerecorded every time they come up in that rotation. Re-editing and rerecording happens so that we can update the devotions. With that much editing, posting online, recording, and translating into other languages, all rights is the most viable option for completing those ministry purposes.
  2. We’re a nonprofit with a very small editorial staff. Acquiring all rights is the best solution we have found that would allow us to get back with writers and acquire rights in a timely and fair manner. Toward that end, we individually review submissions. Then, when we accept a submission, we have writers sign a publication rights agreement before we proceed with the publication of a devotional piece.

That being said, we make every effort to accept devotional pieces that will be minimally affected by this editing process. Even with the unique editorial and ministry needs of our devotionals, we strive to make them writer-friendly publications. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact, Kandi Zeller, the Unlocked editor, at kandi@keysforkids.org!

WHAT BIBLE VERSION DO YOU PREFER? We use the CSB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, or WEB.

SUBMIT WRITING