If you live anywhere near Memphis, TN, please consider attending Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in Collierville on March 7th. I’ll be teaching a marketing workshop. Check out the other offerings on the website.
What comes first? The writing or the marketing? Many writers, especially those new to publishing, think they need to get their books or articles written. Only when the projects are complete do they begin to wonder about marketing. Like a farmer with extra chickens, they start looking for a place to sell their work.
Selling your writing is not exactly like selling chickens, but there are some parallels. Bear with me! You may be trying to sell chickens when your readers would prefer the eggs. Of course, to get the eggs, you have to raise the chickens, gather the eggs, and package them for transport before you can sell them to your customers. To sell your writing, you need to know the answer to three questions.
Who needs your information?
In other words, “Who is your customer?” Have you already written a book on home-schooling? Do you have an idea for an article or series of articles on Internet safety? Get your market guide and look for publishers who cater to readers interested in your topic. Be specific. “Home-schooling mothers” is a specific target. “All adults” is not. If you have a group of devotions written, you can tweak them for a specific age group like grandparents or teens.
How will you package it?
Book or articles? Most beginning writers think they must write a book. But, I’ve heard editors say that most “first” books would be better presented as a series of articles. If you are an unpublished writer, it’s not likely that you will land a book contract. If you are truly motivated to get your work published, you’ll be willing to package your message in a format that sells. More people will read your work if it is published in a magazine. Devotional magazines and Sunday School papers are good starting places. You might find a devotional magazine at your church that is open to freelance submissions. The Christian Writers Market Guide contains information on such publications and where to find writers’ guidelines. Unfortunately, the 2015 edition is in limbo for now. The 2014 edition is the most recent. Your final decision on packaging your message will depend on the specifics in the publisher’s guidelines.
Who will publish it?
Make a list of potential publishers based on the guidelines you’ve collected. Most publications have websites where you can download the guidelines or find out how to get them. For example, the guidelines for The Secret Place devotional magazine are found online here. Some magazines require query letters. Book publishers usually want a written proposal rather than your book manuscript. Here’s an earlier Blog4Writers post containing general information on how to write query letters and book proposals (and a wealth of other information on writing and publishing).
Send it in!
Whether you’ve decided to try to sell your chicken (book) or you’ve opted to re-work your material and sell the eggs (articles), the next step is—start submitting!
- Christian Writers’ Market Guide, 2014 edition available for Kindle at $9.99
- Writers’ Market Online: http://www.writersmarket.com/
Other Online Resources: