Do you write only for secular publications but are looking for new markets to tap into? The more markets you have to write for the better your income can be. Writing for the Christian market may be just what you are looking for. Some Christian publications may not pay as much as other ones, but they also may not be as well-known with as many writers vying for acceptance. There are markets for all ages from the smallest of children through adults.
Here are some tips for breaking into the Christian writing market.
1. Make Use of the Christian Writer’s Market
Make the Christian Writer’s Market your new best friend. This is a great place to find information on Christian publications. It is the same as the traditional Writer’s Market only all the publications are religious from book to magazine publishers. For some publications this is your only resource as they are sold only to churches or through subscriptions. You may be able to find a few at your local Christian book store, but using the Christian Writer’s Market is your best option.
2. Follow themes
Check to see if the publication uses a theme list. Many of them do as they follow a curriculum for Sunday classes and Bible studies. Follow those themes and watch the dates for deadlines as this will increase your chances of acceptance.
3. Use your life experiences
Many Christian publications like stories from or at least based on real life. Examine your life (and the lives of your kids) to see if there is anything you can use. I have used many examples from my kids’ lives for children’s and teen’s magazines – they just give me a lot to work with!
4. Do your research
Is your article in demand? Research to see what percentage of articles/stories come from freelance work. Some Christian publications use very little freelance work, choosing to use writers inside their organizations instead. Over a period of time I sent several stories to a children’s publication. After a while they sent me a nice note, along with the rejection letter, saying they used very little freelance and basically didn’t want me to waste my time sending piece after piece.
5. Know your readers
Who are you readers? Have a basic understanding of the denominations you want to write for. For example, most Mennonite women do not wear pants and they don’t watch a lot of television. Most Catholics baptize by sprinkling babies. Keeping these things out of your stories can mean the difference between a sale and a rejection.
6. Leave an impression
Make editors think of you for assignments. Inform the editor that you are available for last minute needs once you establish yourself. Every once in a while, a theme list date has passed and the editor is in a hurry to get the publication to print only to realize there are not enough articles or stories. I have often had editors come to me asking for something to fill that slot. This has led to multiple unexpected sales.
7. Don’t be afraid to resell
Sell your stories and articles more than once. In the Christian market, many publications will buy reprints or one-time rights as long as the story was first printed in a non-overlapping market. For example, you can sell one story to three or even four publications as long as they are geared to different denominations.
8. Write book reviews
Read books for review. Many Christian publications contain book reviews. Offering to review books (for pay, of course) is a good way to break into some of the larger publications. Once they get a feel for your writing and find out you are dependable, they may offer you bigger and better assignments.
9. Quality first and foremost
Submit your best work. While some of these markets may not pay as much, they still want the quality and professionalism from writers of mainstream publications.
10. Know the publication you’re targeting
Take note of the frequency of the publication. Breaking into some of these might be very beneficial to you as some of them publish on a weekly basis, others are monthly or quarterly. Weekly markets give you more opportunities to write as more content is necessary.
Hopefully these tips will help you break into Christian markets to sell your writing. You don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to write for these markets, but you do have to know what they want just like any other publication. Do a little research and broaden your writing horizons.
About the author:
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in
dozens of publications. Her first novel Come Eat at My Table came out earlier this year. Her second is on its way. When she’s not writing, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her
family. Visit her blog at http://www.ruths-real-life.blogspot.com or website at http://ruthoneil.weebly.com.