By Ruth O’Neill-
Writing for Christian markets may not be at the top of your write-for list. I grew up in church, so it seemed a natural place for me to begin my writing career. I was already familiar with publications and what types of stories and articles they used. As with any freelance market, you want payment for your effort, so all the publications listed here do pay, and most I have written for many times over the years, selling fillers, devotionals, articles, and stories.
A serious freelancer is always on the lookout for new markets. Many Christian publications, especially Sunday school take home papers, publish weekly so the number of manuscripts they need is greater than a traditional monthly magazine. They accept a variety of pieces; fillers, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and devotionals.
The age range is diverse. There are publications for the smallest of children up to adults. Our Little Friend is for children from ages 1-5. They seek true-to-life stories one or two pages long. One story I wrote for them was about kids making fun of each other.
Mature Living is for those facing retirement. Many older people feel as if they are used up. I offered encouragement and gave examples of things anyone could do to help others in a list article.
Devo’Zine is a devotional market geared toward teens that I’ve written for using lessons from teaching young people at church. Youth leaders are always looking for great activity ideas to use with their kids, and Insight Youth Resources has paid me for ideas our youth group did. ParentLife is a magazine that has published multiple funny saying from my kids as fillers.
Do you work with women in the church? Today’s Christian Woman needs articles that offer strength and encouragement for everyday women. Need more market ideas? An invaluable tool for finding these markets is the Christian Writer’s Market.
You can also ask friends for help. Do they attend a church that hands out take-home papers? Do they subscribe to Christian magazines? Ask to borrow copies and research to see if those publications accept freelance work. You could also Google “Christian magazines,” “Christian publications,” or “Christian writers wanted.” I have found some regular writing employment doing this.
When considering topic ideas, note that many of the publications follow a theme list. Lookout and Youth Worker both do. Theme lists give basic ideas of what the editors want during certain times of the year. Once you repeatedly write for these publications, many will come to you with an urgent need, when something on their theme list hasn’t been fulfilled, and they know you are dependable.
Some Christian publications just want to hear your story. I have used many of my own experiences, especially when it came to the teenage years, mine and my children’s (Guide). Guide wants true stories, and many of my teens’ experiences ended up on their pages. And keep in mind that not all Christian publications are overtly religious. Some of the children’s publications simply want stories with a moral lesson.
But be aware of the diversity amongst denominations and their beliefs. For example, some conservative publications want women to wear dresses, if clothing happens to be mentioned in your story. Some denominations worship on the Sabbath, which is actually Saturday, not Sunday. Others won’t include anything about drinking. Here is a site with helpful information on denominations.
Don’t underestimate the power of the Christian market for your writing. You can stretch yourself, get some new bylines to add to your resume, and increase your income.
Ruth O’Neil, born and raised in upstate New York, attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications. You can visit her at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/ or on her website at http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/. Ruth spends her spare time quilting, scrapbooking, and camping with her family.