The Irish writers L.T. Meade and Alice Corkran were both editors of leading London-based girls’ periodicals in the 1890s, Atalanta and the Girl’s Realm, respectively. Although both periodicals and both editors have been the focus of increased attention in recent years, the theme of this special issue affords the opportunity to consider in more detail the links that existed between Corkran and Meade and their respective publications. Prolific novelists as well as editors, both women were outspoken in their advocacy of the professionalisation of young women’s literary work, and both were highly involved in professional networks that drew a range of Irish women writers together in this period. In this article, I take as a case study an intriguing incident in which Corkran and Meade joined forces to offer Girl’s Realm readers the opportunity to hone their skills of authorship as part of a competition. I explore the extent to which Meade and Corkran model collaboration for their readers through this exchange and consider what it tells us about co-authorship and the lines between the amateur and the professional in this period.