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Breaking into the Christian Market
by Dell Smith Klein
Breaking into the Christian market is like breaking into the general market. It consists of study, observation and discipline. Following are a few tips to help you on your way.
- Sample copies. You can pick up sample copies of publications at writer’s conferences, or locate them through your public library. Study each publication for style and voice.
- Writing guidelines. Often publications will post their guidelines online. Read and follow guidelines. If a publication asks for 500 words, don’t send them a manuscript of 1000. A publication focusing on wildlife advocacy won’t be interested in your latest hunting adventure.
- Start small. Leave major publications like Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal for the future. While seeking to break into the Christian market, begin with small devotional markets like The Upper Room or The Secret Place. Also, church take-home papers may be interested in a new writer with good skills who can follow their guidelines. These smaller papers can help you get your foot in the door to begin to form a packet of copies of your work.
- Be professional. Publishers expect your work to be grammatically correct, and follow a standard format. Put your name, address and telephone number in the upper left corner. Drop down a few spaces and center your heading, below that add your by-line. You’ll double space your document, and use 12 point Times New Roman type on 10 pound white bond if sending to a print publication. For online, you may attach your copy if you have permission, otherwise include your manuscript in the body of an email. Proof read your work.
- Network. As you work toward breaking into the Christian market, you’ll find that becoming a part of a Christian writer’s group, or a critique group will be beneficial. Attending Christian writer’s conferences, like Oregon Christian Writers, Mt. Hermon, or American Christian Writers that provide information on the latest trends and how-to workshops. Also, Christian writers and editors are eager to help new writers succeed.
- Write. Write every day. Treat your writing as a business and set aside a time to read, research and write.
When I decided to write for the Christian market, I checked out Sally Stuarts' Christian Writers' Market Guide from my hometown library. I chose five devotional magazines, ordered and studied sample copies, and practiced writing devotions. I learned that most devotional publications are written by assignment, so I provided three sample devotions so the editors could see my writing. Also, my cover letter commented on the samples, and asked for an assignment. One publication did not respond. One magazine bought the three devotions. The other three publications responded positively and I continue to write for all three today.
Breaking into the Christian market is like breaking into the general market. It takes study, observation and discipline. Follow the guidelines I’ve given. You have the tools in your hand. Go ahead, break in.
© Copyright 2009, Dell Smith Klein
Dell Smith Klein speaks at writers conferences, church camps, RV parks and churches on topics ranging from using puppets to family issues and Bible studies. Klein writes from wherever her RV is parked in the western USA or the Pacific Northwest.
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