In the July/August 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, Scott Noble details how to write for Christian publications. Here are the full submission guidelines for five markets spotlighted in his piece.
About: Monthly magazine covering items of interest to the Pentecostal or independent charismatic reader. "More than half of our readers are Christians who belong to Pentecostal or independent charismatic churches, and numerous others participate in the charismatic renewal in mainline denominations."
Freelance Facts: Established 1975. Buys all rights. Circulation 250,000. Byline given. Pays on publication. Offers $50 kill fee. Queries accepted by mail, email. Sample copy for $4. Publishes ms an average of 3 months after acceptance. 80% freelance written. Submit seasonal material 5 months in advance. Editorial lead-time: 4 months.
Needs: Book excerpts, exposé, general interest, interview, religious. No fiction, poetry, columns/departments, or sermons. Buys 40 mss/year. Submission method: Query. Length: 1,800–2,500 words.
Tips: "Be especially on the lookout for news stories, trend articles or interesting personality profiles that relate specifically to the Christian reader."
The Christian Century
104 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 700, Chicago IL 60603. (312)263-7510. Fax: (312)263-7540. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: christiancentury.org.
About: Biweekly magazine for ecumenically-minded, progressive Protestants, both clergy and lay. "We seek manuscripts that articulate the public meaning of faith, bringing the resources of religious tradition to bear on such topics as poverty, human rights, economic justice, international relations, national priorities and popular culture. We are also interested in pieces that examine or critique the theology and ethos of individual religious communities. We welcome articles that find fresh meaning in old traditions and that adapt or apply religious traditions to new circumstances. Authors should assume that readers are familiar with main themes in Christian history and theology, are accustomed to the historical-critical study of the Bible and are already engaged in relating faith to social and political issues. Many of our readers are ministers or teachers of religion at the college level. Book reviews are solicited by our books editor. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please send your résumé and a list of subjects of interest to ‘Attn: Book Reviews.’ Authors must have a critical and analytical perspective on the church and be familiar with contemporary theological discussion."
Freelance Facts: Established 1884. Buys all rights. Circulation: 37,000. Byline given. Pays on publication. No kill fee. Queries accepted by mail, email. Sample copy for $3.50. Responds in 4–6 week to queries. Responds in 2 months to mss. 90% freelance written. Works with new/unpublished writers. Submit seasonal material 4 months in advance. Editorial lead-time: 1 month.
Nonfiction Needs: Essays, humor, interview, opinion, religious. No inspirational. Buys 150 mss/year. Send complete mss (query appreciated, but not essential). Length: 1,000–3,000 words. Pays variable amount for assigned articles. Pays $100–300 for unsolicited articles.
Poetry Needs: Avant-garde, free verse, haiku, traditional. Does not want: sentimental or didactic poetry. Length: 20 lines/max. Uses approximately 1 poem/issue, not necessarily on religious themes but in keeping with the literate tone of the magazine. Typically pays $20/poem plus 1 contributor's copy and discount on additional copies. Acquires all rights. Has published poetry by Jeanne Murray Walker, Ida Fasel, Kathleen Norris, Luci Shaw, J. Barrie Shepherd and Wendell Berry.
About: "Guideposts is an inspirational monthly magazine for people of all faiths, in which men and women from all walks of life tell in true, first-person narrative how they overcame obstacles, rose above failures, handled sorrow, gained new spiritual insight, and became more effective people through faith in God."
Freelance Facts: Established 1945. Buys all rights. Pays on publication. Offers 20% kill fee on assigned stories, but not to first-time freelancers. Publishes mss several months after acceptance. 40% freelance written. Works with a small number of new/unpublished writers each year. Buys 40–60 unsolicited mss/year. Length: 250–1,500 words. Pays $100–500. "Many of our stories are ghosted articles, so the writer would not get a byline unless it was his/her own story."
Tips: "Study the magazine before you try to write for it. Each story must make a single spiritual point that readers can apply to their own daily lives. And it may be easier to just sit down and write them than to have to go through the process of preparing a query. They should be warm, well written, intelligent and upbeat. We require personal narratives that are true and have some spiritual aspect, but the religious element can be subtle and should not be sermonic. A writer succeeds with us if he or she can write a true article using short-story techniques with scenes, drama, tension and a resolution of the problem presented."
Relevant Media Group, 900 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park FL 32789. (407)660-1411. Fax: (407)660-8555. Email: email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: relevantmagazine.com. Contacts: Ryan Hamm, managing editor; Alyca Giligan, associate editor.
About: Relevant is a bimonthly lifestyle magazine for Christians between 20 and 30 years old. Covers God, life and progressive culture.
Freelance Facts: Established 2002. Accepts simultaneous submissions. Buys first North American serial rights. Circulation 83,000. Byline given. Pays 45 days after publication. Offers 50% kill fee. Queries accepted by email. Sample copy available online. Responds in 6 weeks to queries. Responds in 3 months to mss. Publishes mss an average of 6 months after acceptance. 80% freelance written. Submit seasonal material 5 months in advance. Editorial lead-time: 4 months.
Nonfiction Needs: General interest, how-to, inspirational, interview, new product, personal experience, religious. Query with published clips. Length: 600–1,000 words. Pays $0.10–0.15/word for assigned articles. Pays $0.10/word for unsolicited articles.
St. Anthony Messenger
About:St. Anthony Messenger is a Catholic family magazine that aims to help its readers lead more fully human and Christian lives. We publish articles that report on a changing church and world, opinion pieces written from the perspective of Christian faith and values, personality profiles, and fiction that entertains and informs.
Freelance Facts: Established 1893. No simultaneous submissions. Buys first North American serial rights, electronic rights, first worldwide serial rights. Circulation 305,000. Byline given. Pays on acceptance. No kill fee. Queries accepted by mail, email, fax. Responds in 3 weeks to queries. Responds in 2 months to mss. Publishes ms an average of 1 year after acceptance. 55% freelance written. Submit seasonal material 6 months in advance.
Nonfiction Needs: How-to, on psychological and spiritual growth, problems of parenting/better parenting, marriage problems/marriage enrichment, humor, inspirational, interview, opinion, limited use. Writer must have special qualifications for topic, personal experience, if pertinent to our purpose. Buys 35–50 mss/year. Query with published clips. Length: 2,000–2,500 words. Pays $0.20/word.
Fiction Needs:Mainstream, religious/inspirational, senior citizen/retirement. "We do not want mawkishly sentimental or preachy fiction. Stories are most often rejected for poor plotting and characterization, bad dialogue. … Many stories say nothing, are ‘happenings’ rather than stories." No fetal journals, no rewritten Bible stories. Receives 60–70 unsolicited mss/month. Accepts 1 mss/issue, 12 mss/year. Publishes ms 1 year after acceptance. Publishes 3 new writers/year. Recently published work by Geraldine Marshall Gutfreund, John Salustri, Beth Dotson, Miriam Pollikatsikis and Joseph Pici. Sometimes requests revisions before acceptance. Contact:Father Pat McCloskey, O.F.M., editor.Send complete ms.
Poetry Needs: Poetry submissions are always welcome despite limited need. "We seek to publish accessible poetry of high quality. Spiritual/inspirational in nature a plus, but not required." Considers poetry by young writers, ages 14 and older. Pays $2/line. Max number of poems: 4–5. Up to 20–25 lines, the shorter the better. Submit a few poems at a time. No previously published poems. “Do not send us your entire collection of poetry. Poems must be original."
General Tips: “Don't submit anything that doesn't target ages 18–34.”