My inspiration for creating The Toy.

Twenty years ago in September 2002, I started a Media Studies degree at the University of East London. I had spent my late teenage years devouring glossy magazines and was keen to forge a career in the magazine industry. Little did I know the world was about to turn digital and a lot of my favourite printed magazines would soon become online-only, or shut their doors altogether. It suddenly felt like I was pursuing a career in a medium that was fast becoming obsolete, and so in the end I switched my focus to the TV industry. 

Fast-forward to now though and printed magazines are very much still alive and have proved they can exist alongside their digital counterparts. I know digital publications have their benefits – a far wider audience reach, instantly accessible content, not to mention lower costs – but there’s something special about a physical magazine that you just can’t get online. The ability to flick through the pages, to smell that distinctive print smell, to pore over the contents and to put it on a shelf to return to time and again.  

As a children’s writer, I aspire to physically hold my words in printed form and for small children to experience my stories in this way too. However, when I started researching journals and magazines to submit my writing to, it became apparent that – with the exception of a few – most of the literary publications for children are online or digital only.  

That’s when I had the idea of starting my own! 

I know there are many children’s writers out there who, like me, dream of their stories and poems being published in print. I hope that by launching The Toy, I can make that dream come true for some of you! My aim is to help promote talented children’s writers and artists, to get their work into the hands of young children and to encourage little ones to develop a long-lasting love of stories and poems. I’m not doing it to make money – as long as I can cover all my costs, I will be happy! Any profits I do make will be donated to a children’s charity.

I hope that you will trust me with your work and I look forward to seeing all your submissions very soon. 

Sue Lancaster