Writing for Specialty Markets

© 2012 Lin Johnson

Most writers focus on two types of manuscripts: books and magazine articles. But there are other possibilities to minister to thousands of people and put money in your bank account.

As a writer, I’ve made most of my money from writing for specialty markets. Here are eight to consider.

Bible Curriculum
If you have teaching experience, enjoy studying the Bible, and can write to a prescribed format, consider Bible curriculum. Opportunities exist for writing lesson plans and other teaching resources for all ages. Editors of Sunday school, children’s worship, vacation Bible school, youth group, and club curriculum; reproducible books for kids; and inductive Bible-study guides are looking for writers.

Most of these manuscripts are assigned, so you’ll need to introduce yourself with a letter outlining your qualifications and samples of your writing. Youth-group, reproducible, and Bible-study books are sold with book proposals and sample chapters.

One of the most-wanted types of manuscripts is devotionals for monthly and quarterly booklets, magazines, and books. These brief articles explain a nugget of scriptural truth and apply it to daily life.

Drama is writing to be said, not to be read. This category includes short sketches to introduce sermons or Bible studies, choral readings, monologues, puppet scripts, and full-length plays.

Puzzles and Activities
Crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, secret codes, and rebus stories are all fun ways to learn, especially for children. Sunday-school take-home papers, children’s magazines, and puzzle and activity books are markets for them.

Games are another fun way to learn, review lessons, or spend time with other people. You’ll find opportunities to sell games to curriculum and book houses and homeschool, children’s, and education magazines.

If you can write clear instructions for making items, you can sell craft articles to craft, children’s, and educators’ magazines, as well as curriculum and book houses.

Greeting Cards
If you’re an encourager, consider writing greeting cards. These brief, heart-to-heart messages nurture relationships and are a big business today.

Tracts are small pamphlets that present the plan of salvation. Often tied to holidays and special events or targeted to specific groups, they are designed to be given away to get recipients thinking about their relationship with God.

Tips for Writing
My best tip for writing specialty-market manuscripts is to read and use a variety of samples, so you get a feel for what sells. Check Christian Writers’ Market Guide and curriculum-house websites for open markets and writers guidelines.

Then start submitting—and collecting checks.
Lin Johnson is director of the Write-to-Publish Conference; editor of Christian Communicator, Advanced Christian Writer, and Church Libraries; and a writers conference teacher.

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