After writing a devotion, how do you get it published? In my earlier post, “Devotions: Short, Sweet, and Powerful,” I discussed why this type of writing is a valuable exercise. If you accepted the challenge to write one, it’s time to take that next step.
First, you must target your publishing house of choice. Consider the audience who will be reading your meditation, the publication’s circulation, and international exposure. You may decide to write for a particular denomination or their weekly/monthly newsletter. Devotionals accept submissions from all expressions of Christianity, as long as you are not writing with a doctrinal slant.
Each publication has its own distinctive characteristics called Writer’s Guidelines. They are available on their websites although sometimes difficult to find. Within each list of publishing requirements, you will generally find these descriptions:
- Format…the particular components of the submission. Those might include any or all of these parts: title, scripture, scripture passage, message, prayer, closing thought of the day, and author’s bio. You will discover that some have a very specific format while others offer a more general approach. Be sure to include all of the essential parts for that publication.
- Word Count…a specific number of words for your submission (in Microsoft Word, under the “Review” tab). Please, take this seriously! The devotion must fit into the editor’s layout. Those extra twenty-five words could be fatal to your chances of getting published. Edit!
- Category…the devotional may have separate categories for the submitted works. For example, Christian Devotions divides their devotional into six different topics…Spirit & Heart, Faith & Family, etc. Be sure to communicate where your devotion fits best.
- Schedule…the time lapse involved between submission and publication. It may be a few months but could approach years…the Upper Room has a fifteen month lag time. If your devotion has a special seasonal emphasis, publishers have specific deadlines for accepting that kind of material. Don’t assume you can offer a Christmas piece in October of the same year! Start thinking at least six to nine months ahead.
- Publishing rights… devotionals will ask for first print rights, an assurance that your work has not been published before. Some may be willing to consider reprinted devotions (Christian Devotions). Most will also ask for non-exclusive rights and the right to reuse in any future form. This allows them to publish in other languages and compile devotional books. Also, when you release your devotion to the publisher, they maintain the right to edit your piece. Once published, the rights revert back to you and may be reprinted or offered to another publication.
- Payment… some will pay a small amount when published ($15-25), most are non-paying.
- Submission… You may have a choice between a hard copy sent snail mail, electronic submission by using their link, or email submission. With snail mail, a publisher may allow a stamped, self-addressed postcard for communication purposes. Each publisher will indicate what they prefer.
Be sure to include contact information of name, address, phone number and email at the top and side of the page.
I have compiled a list of possible publishers below. Be sure to research them carefully by finding their individual submission requirements before submitting your work.
My thanks to Jeanne Doyen who contributed her sources as well. The list is not exhaustive. If you know of any other publications, please leave a comment or email the link and I will update the post. For brevity, I have included the ministry name and link to the Writer’s Guidelines for each publisher.
Christian Devotions http://christiandevotions.us/category/write/
The Upper Room http://devotional.upperroom.org/how-to-write
Alive Now http://alivenow.upperroom.org/writers/
Deaf Missions http://www.deafmissions.com/?PageID=54
Forward Day by Day http://www.forwardmovement.org/Pages/About/Writers_Guidelines.aspx
Mustard Seed Ministries http://www.mustardseedministries.org/guidelines/
The Secret Place http://www.judsonpress.com/catalog_sp_guidelines.cfm
The Word in Season http://www.augsburgfortress.org/company/submit.jsp
Devo’Zine (for teens; must write on a selected theme) http://www.devozine.com
Keys for Kids (ages 6-14) http://www.cbhministries.org/Portals/0/Documents/Keys%20Guidelines.pdf
Net Ministries…a resource of different devotionals http://netministries.org/devotions.htm
Think small, concise content with large, international exposure. Devotion writing pays huge dividends in building a platform, establishing credentials, and providing an overall boost to your writing skills. They are a great place to start for any aspiring writer!
For more information on how to write a devotional, check our Jerry jenkins post How to Write a Devotional.
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