Table of Contents
What is a Devotional?
Simply put, a devotional is a meditation or very short written sentiment that extends a spiritual revelation or idea and encourages others. Some might think of it as a meditation or thought that encourages a positive action.
Devotionals are becoming more and more popular in our world today. With so much turmoil, devotionals have the power to offer comfort and soothe people in their time of need.
For some, writing devotionals can be quite easy, especially if you are highly spiritual or religious. The average devotional can run around 250 words, so it’s not an extended writing piece that needs a lot of composition.
Devotionals can be biblical accounts or scripture, personal stories that relate to faith or other people’s stories that inspire, or inspirational teachings of other kinds.
The advantage to being a devotional writer is you express thoughts and words in such a short sentiment. You can write more in doing so.
Some of the elements a devotional can have are:
- It should teach something in a spiritual manner.
- It should apply to someone’s life. Many devotionals ask that you apply the lessons to something that happened or that you have learned in your own life or it can simply be your explanation of what you believe a passage or a Scripture to mean.
- Scriptures or passages from the Bible or another religious book.
- Inspire others to act, for instance, “Don’t give up hope and have faith.”
- A prayer or meditation. You’ll often give a single final thought or prayer to sum up the devotionals.
Different types of publications might look for different things, so it’s best to study the one you are considering sending submissions to. Devotional writing can be as simple as a single sentenced sentiment or a several-hundred-word article.
Keep in mind, however, that devotionals don’t just cover Christian beliefs. Sites such as Beliefnet reach out to people of all faiths in their devotional messages and articles.
Advantages of Becoming a Devotional Writer
There are many advantages to choosing devotional writing as your niche. First of all, it’s one of the easiest markets to break into.
Devotional publishers are very welcoming to new writers since devotionals are often published every day. That’s a lot of devotionals that publishers need from writers like you.
Many of the publications that publish devotionals aren’t as set on retaining permanent rights either. The great thing about this is that you can change some of the components of your devotionals and submit them to other publishers.
Of course, you’ll want to be sure with each one before you do so, but for the most part, this is allowed in the devotional market.
It’s also easy to take the devotionals you’ve already submitted that were rejected and work with it more and resubmit them, even to the same publishers that rejected them. You can make it a little longer or shorter or change some of the wording. The devotional market is very forgiving.
The great thing is devotionals don’t take long to write. You can reach the 100 to 400 words required rather quickly and so you can write many of them and see a good, steady flow of cash coming in.
Tips For Devotional Writers
1. The first thing you’ll want to do is to really study your market. Before submitting to a publication, pay close attention to their guidelines. With hundreds of available places to submit your devotionals, each will have their own criteria for submissions. Stick within their word count and heed their requirements. Also, study what they’ve already published so you’ll know what they look for.
2. Be accurate when it comes to quotes, especially Biblical ones. It’s a well-known fact that in this type of work, people can be finicky when it comes to accuracy, even down to the punctuation. You just want to ensure that you are producing work with 100% accuracy where that’s concerned. You don’t ever want to misquote something in this market. It would most certainly call your reputation into question as a devotional writer.
3. Choose publications that pay well for the smaller end of word counts. If you choose one where their word count is around 300, the trick to earning good money is to write lots of them. With smaller word counts, that’s quite doable. It’ll take you less time to get more written.
4. Sometimes it pays to study markets that are not as popular. Everyone is submitting to the more well-known ones and oftentimes, it’s the familiar markets that actually pay less. By the same token, sometimes the more obscure markets pay more and with fewer submissions to those, you ramp up your chances of success.
5. Write devotionals that are more inclusive rather than exclusive. You want your devotionals to appeal to all people as that also is a more appealing message that can be more likely to be impactful. Even if you’re writing for a Christian publication, your goal should be to reach all people, even those who aren’t Christian. You want to send a universal message that everyone can identify with.
6. Don’t be afraid to expose your heart. The only way to teach something powerful and uplifting is to show that triumph comes from adversity or tragedy. If you show your humanity or someone else’s and how it was used to be more positive or have more faith, it will have more impact than pretending that things are all rosy all the time. The best of devotionals draw on personal experience.
7. When using Scriptures or readings from other religious text, think about using those that are more scarcely used. There are many verses that have been overused and overdone. If you’re more unique, you have a chance of catching everyone’s attention, including the editors of the publication you’re submitting to.
8. Never preach. You want to come from a place of personal experience and humility. Think of your devotions as sharing a personal story with a group of close friends. You want to find a common bond with your readers.
9. Think about every human emotion you’ve ever experienced, bad and good. Chances are your potential readers have experienced those very same things. You want to write messages that highlight a positive message countering to those emotions and coming out of darkness into light.
The Market for Devotional Writers
Now that you have an idea of what is expected of devotional writers, you’ll want to know more about the devotional writer’s market.
There are literally hundreds of platforms for making money as a devotional writer. We’ve all seen the Guideposts and Our Daily Bread brochures that are passed around the public arena. Those contain dozens of posts that were written by devotional writers.
Here are four online magazines that accept work from devotional writers:
Devozine targets readers who are 14-19 year olds of various denominations and cultures. It’s a bimonthly, 64-page magazine for teens that are written by people of all ages. The issues focus on nine themes and contain daily meditations and weekend articles.
Meditations can be reflected through poetry, prose, prayers, scripture, stories, song, art, and photographs.
They pay $25 for each weekday mediation accepted. Their guidelines suggest that prose submissions are 150 to 200 words long.
Keys for Kids was founded in 1942 as the Children’s Bible Hour. It’s a non-profit, non-denominational and international Christian media ministry. They make Bible-based radio programs, print materials, and web-based media for children.
They have a children’s radio station known as Keys for Kids radio.
They pay $30 for each 350-word devotional story accepted.
The Secret Place is a quarterly magazine that has daily devotionals. The meditations should provide comfort and inspiration from a personal perspective about life combined with Scriptural referencing.
They pay $20 for each 150 to 200 word meditation.
The Upper Room is an interdenominational devotional magazine that is translated into 38 languages and printed in over 79 editions. It was created to help churches, individuals, and families experience their Christian faith more deeply.
The Upper Room pays $25 for each 250 word meditation that they accept.
There are more devotional blogs and magazines than the ones I listed that accept devotionals and meditations. A quick search on the internet will lead you to countless possibilities.
You’ll also find a market in publishing houses, as they often publish quarterly devotional books, as well as greeting cards and calendars. Check their individual websites to find out more.
The important thing to remember is publishers rarely recycle their devotionals. They are always looking for fresh talent to produce something original and insightful and that’s where you come in as a devotional writer. You might also consider starting your own devotional blog.
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