Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2009

Christian Writer's Market Guide 2009I have the privilege of participating in a blog tour for the prestigious Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2009 (compiled by Sally Stuart and published by WaterBrook Press), the indispensable tool for the serious writer aiming for publication with Christian periodicals or publishing companies.

Why indispensable? One look at the table of contents answers that question. Inside this book is a list of book publishers categorized by the topics they say they’re looking for, followed by an alphabetical list with important details: contact information, how many titles they publish in a year, denominational affiliation, what percent of their books are from first-time authors, whether they accept work through agents or require such, whether they accept simultaneous submissions, what their current needs are, any preference on length, information about advances and royalties, special tips, and more.

This kind of information is necessary for an author when trying to determine which publisher to contact.

But there’s more. Following a listing of subsidy publishers is a list of distributors and a market analysis of books. Then the Periodicals section begins. Organized in the same way, this begins with a topical listing of periodicals, so for example, an author wanting to write about child rearing can look under the “Parenting” section for publications open to such articles. That listing is followed by an alphabetical list of periodicals with the important detail information and a market analysis.

This year, those sections take up eighty percent of the book. The final twenty percent includes greeting card/gift/specialty markets, helps for writers (including a list of agents, contests, and conferences), and a glossary and index.

At first glance, this 2009 edition seems to be a slimmed down version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide since it is nearly one hundred pages shorter than last year’s issue. But the table of contents explains this, too. The final section—Resources for Writers—is exclusively on the accompanying CD. Of course the entire book is also on the CD, so a writer can search with ease on the computer for a particular topic, publisher, denomination, editor, or whatever else might be of interest.

At first I wondered about putting the Resources section exclusively on CD. But there are some practical reasons this works. First, the Market Guide itself was getting to be a rather hefty book. Now it is a trimmer, more user-friendly version. In addition, I would suppose this change helps to keep costs down while allowing for an expansion of the Resources section. And the section is growing. There are new categories and new listings. Like this one for instance:

+LATEST IN SPEC. A newsletter for Christian speculative fiction writers wishing to promote their most recent news, including book signings, speaking or teaching engagements, interviews, book reviews, Web chats, podcasts, contests, awards, and more. E-mail: rebeccaluellamiller at [rest of address removed]. Website: 😉

No review would be complete without an eye on what might be better, so I’ll mention two things. I would like to see a Table of Contents on the Resources CD. As it was, I had to refer to the book’s Table of Contents to know what I might find in the Resources section. I did discover that I could use the Navigation Pane in Word to … well, navigate through the categories, but I would still recommend including a Table of Contents.

A second thing I would recommend is an indication in the Topical Listing of Periodicals which of the paying markets are for Webzines (which generally pay only a token fee) and which are for print magazines (which might pay considerably more). I know that additional codes can get unwieldy, but if the “paying market” indicator is to be useful for freelancers, I think some differentiation is needed.

That’s it. Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2009 is a wonderful resource, an indispensable tool.

By the way, Sally Stuart’s blog, the Christian Writers’ Marketplace, gives you updates throughout the year, so no longer is a print resource out of date as soon as it hits the shelves.

And as a second by the way, Sally Stuart will be answering marketing questions this Wednesday, Janaury 28, 2009, on Terry Whalin’s LIVE telewebcast at 4 p.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m. EDT (I learned that at her blog 😀 ).

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Safe Fiction – Part 6

I hadn’t intended to stay on this subject as long as I have, but I’m glad for it because the discussion has clarified my thinking, namely that I’m uncomfortable with the concept that safe fiction exists. And even more uncomfortable that a certain publisher or bookstore can be relied upon to produce or supply it.

I decided to copy here a comment to part 1 left yesterday by Cathy. I don’t want readers to miss it:

Honestly…It is hard to find “safe” books. (I am entrusted with raising 3 Awesome kids for God.) What parents need to be doing is: 1. Reading with their kids 2. Age appropriate literature 3. Mostly edifying or uplifting works which show good for good and evil for evil, and 4. Using their influence and love in discussing the actions, character traits, and the end results of those actions and decisions made by the literary characters in the books chosen. If we guide our charges in this manner, they should grow to be able to have wisdom in choosing their own reading matter over time. What we choose to ingest (read or otherwise take in) will in the end influence how we live for Christ. But “safe” books could have different meanings to different people. Kids need to see the real world and become adept at making appropriate choices with a Biblical world view in mind. However, they do not need the blatantly sinful and mostly unrepentant worldly type of literature even in small doses. I would sooner read a book with a mild expletive or two that had the good sense to include a sound moral, than some of todays “children’s literature” that is in your face rude to parents and authority figures in which the kids are made to seem heroes.

This goes for all types of media. We must be ever watchful of the tricks Satan uses to undermine our good intentions. Yes, there is grace, and yes, Jesus prayed for us. But God also gave us intellect and expects us to use it. Many “sheep” have entered movie houses and come out laughing about how funny the movie was, when the influence it had on their hearts and minds eventually had disastrous results in their personal lives or their walk with God. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” I Corinthians 6:12. We must still use good judgment when allowing ourselves to partake of…or even to write about…anything.

– emphases mine

Let me remark briefly on the salient points.

  • If we guide our charges in this manner, they should grow to be able to have wisdom in choosing their own reading matter over time.
  • Wisdom in choosing their own—our own—reading matter. That’s the key. No one can do an adequate job for us. It really boils down to us learning to choose. I personally believe a couple things are essential in this process of constructing personal parameters—prayer and dependence on God’s Spirit.

  • But “safe” books could have different meanings to different people.
  • I’ll be stronger than that. “Safe” books WILL have different meanings to different people. And no one should be forcing his definition on someone else (I don’t consider parents teaching values to their kids as “forcing” their definitions. They teach, then the child, when grown, will choose his own standard.)

  • I would sooner read a book with a mild expletive or two that had the good sense to include a sound moral, than some of todays “children’s literature” that is in your face rude to parents and authority figures in which the kids are made to seem heroes.
  • I wish every publisher could read that line. To me, this is the heart of my argument against the concept of safe fiction. Safety is too often measured in peripheral issues, but the true worldview issues that influence people for life are left unchallenged.

  • “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” I Corinthians 6:12. We must still use good judgment when allowing ourselves to partake of…or even to write about…anything.
  • And there’s the central point. We must use good judgment, in our reading and in our writing (and in our TV viewing and in our choices of movies). There are no short cuts, no easy passes. So-and-so wrote it, so it must be right on, or such-and-such a publisher printed the book, so it must be OK, or this-or-that store carries it, so how could it be wrong?

    The truth is, we alone are responsible for our decisions, our choices. Sally Stuart touched on this very issue in her blog post yesterday. Certainly in making decisions, we shouldn’t ignore the facts—the author, publisher, store, recommendations, endorsements, reviews. But these things do not give us a pass to stop thinking about what we read.

    Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 10:46 am  Comments (2)  
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    Fantasy Awards for 2008

    Writers may already be aware that the books nominated for the 2008 Christy Awards have been announced. (See Sally Stuart’s blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, for a complete list).

    As you might expect, my interest is tied most closely with the Visionary category. Happily, this year there will be a Christy Award for a speculative fiction title. 😀

    I must admit, I am also pleased that all three books that finaled were ones the CSFF Blog Tour featured during this past year. Those titles are


  • Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook/Multnomah)
  • Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)
  • The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress)
  • Interestingly, on Monday over at Spec Faith, I opened the nominations for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction.

    We’ve already had four titles presented and accepted. You can find the list here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction along with a brief description of the books that qualify for nomination.

    Last year we had great participation formulating a list of books to consider. Unfortunately we couldn’t develop the organization properly to make an award. I’m hoping we can overcome that this year.

    Some people may not see the need this year since the Christy’s have included the Visionary category. I think it’s still worth adding our award. One, it will give the genre additional exposure. Two, it will be a little more like a people’s choice award, since publishers don’t have to pay anything to have a book nominated, and authors aren’t being left out because their publisher hasn’t entered their book. It’s really up to readers.

    So here’s your invitation. What was the best Christian fantasy (published in 2007) you read? I’d like to see you nominate books you think deserve to win. You may do so here or over at Spec Faith or on the Clive Staples page.

    The Speaking Secret—Book Buzz, Part 8

    It wasn’t until much later in the day, well after I posted yesterday’s recommendation of this week’s CFBA selection, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2008, that I remembered I had promis implied I would pass along the Great Secret of speaking to create book buzz.

    First, I probably (definitely?) overstated its effectiveness. Plus, it only reaches a certain segment of the population, and therefore is limited in its role. In fact, many writers will flat out dismiss the idea as completely unhelpful.

    However, for fantasy writers—and you DO remember I’m a fantasy writer, yes?—I think this speaking secret can serve to ignite book buzz.

    It’s not gonna sound dramatic, mind you, or earth shattering. It’s not even a “how” secret, but a “where.”

    (Are ya ready? Did I pique your interest, even a little? Build a morsel of suspense?)

    Herald’s trumpet, please:


    Yep, colleges. For YA fantasy or for adult fantasy alike.

    Apart from the fact that university-age people came into reading on the broom of Harry Potter, if you target Christian liberal arts colleges or universities or even Bible colleges, you will probably be speaking to an audience gathered from all over the United States or even the world. Should your story be the kind that engages readers, these readers will return to their states of origin on the holidays, with your book in tow. Now, with no extra effort on your part, you can have copies scattered abroad.

    Of course, this isn’t automatic. You’ll have to put that suggestion before your audience. Maybe even make it a challenge. And granted, you’ll have to break through to some very busy people, but again, this can be a challenge—like the “I dare you, eat just one potato chip” kind of marketing.

    I’d even like to try a guarantee (one of the publishers put such a guarantee in their book): “If you don’t like it, mail it back and I’ll refund your money, BUT, if you do like it, tell ten other people.” Something like that.

    As I was thinking about this idea, I was even wondering if college bookstores might not be willing to host book signings. I mean, they get great business just before the new semester, but what about during the months in between? Wouldn’t a book signing be an event college students would enjoy, especially if there was free food on the way out. “Come in, listen to the reading, pick up a ticket for a slice of pizza or a doughnut and coffee that you can claim on your way out.”

    The point is, be creative. Think of untapped places to speak. Think of ways to draw people in. Think of people who can draw other people in. And don’t forget about the fun. 😀

    Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 11:44 am  Comments (3)  
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