Tapping into the Christian Market
This is a guest post by Barbara Youree. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here.
If your goal is to be published somewhere—anywhere—to build up credits that will open the door to larger publications, the religious market is a good place to begin.
Study the market
Determine what publishers are looking for and where you will fit in. Many religious/spiritual magazines are limited to a single denomination, whereas others attract a general audience.
All religious publications operate according to a particular slant—from conservative to liberal. Some are family oriented. Others focus on world events with a peace/justice theme.
Studying Writers’ Market and leafing through magazines in a library or bookstore are good ways to begin. Find a publication that looks like a comfortable fit for you.
My focus here is on magazines, but the same principles apply to books, on-line writing, flyers, and tracts.
Most magazines reserve their articles on theology for recognized religious leaders such as professional ministers, priests, rabbis or others, but almost all have plenty of space for other writers.
Many editors seek first-person stories about faith or personal spiritual experiences. These can be your own, or those of someone you know or have interviewed. Some to consider: Angels on Earth and Alive Now!
Additionally, most religious magazines accept articles on travel, child rearing, finance, health and other topics of general interest. In such articles there is no need to mention God or make any religious reference at all. The writer simply needs to keep the tone clean and family friendly. Some examples are Mature Living and Parents & Teens.
A few, including Christian Century and Sojourners accept poetry.
Avoid “religious” language
You may be surprised to learn that the quickest path to rejection of a piece for the religious market is the use of religious terminology. Even denominational magazines hope “non-churched” people will read their articles.
Instead of “washed in the blood of the lamb,” say something like, “awareness of a higher being.” Rather than she “loved her neighbor as herself,” tell how she always asked people about their concerns and offered to pet-sit for the elderly person during his hospital stay.
Keep the wording as broad and as inclusive as possible. For most publications, use the word spiritual rather than religious, God rather than Jesus, and scriptures rather than Bible.
Like love, religion is difficult to write about without using clichés or maudlin sentimentality. Editors of religious publications appreciate articles on spirituality that are fresh and insightful, written in lively, non-churchy English. If you can offer that, opportunities abound.
Barbara Youree has written extensively for the religious market. In addition to numerous magazine articles, she has authored four historical Christian romances and six children’s books about missionary children and their friendship with their peers in foreign countries. Courageous Journey, Walking the Lost Boys Path from the Sudan to America is her latest nonfiction book. She makes her home in Rogers Arkansas.
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