Understand the Inspirational Market by Marisa Shadrick

Understand the Inspirational Market

by Marisa Shadrick, Writers Forum Member

When writing provokes new thought, motivates change, or awakens an apathetic heart it’s often called inspirational. Aspiring writers need a clear understanding of this competitive market for publication.

On April 13th, Redding Writers Forum welcomed two accomplished authors, Cindy (Martinusen) Coloma and Cathy Elliott, who offered their expertise in Writing for the Inspirational Market. Cindy is a best-selling author with 13 novels and 4 nonfiction books. Cathy has authored 2 cozy mysteries with a quilting mystery to be released in 2014.


Members and guests listened attentively while Cindy and Cathy echoed a consistent theme throughout their presentation—opportunity. They encouraged writers to view inspirational writing as an expanded market for fiction and nonfiction work rather than a single genre. Retailers continue to fill their shelves with inspirational books at supermarkets, drugstores, airports, bookstores and mega outlets like Wal-Mart and Costco.


Nonfiction genres include memoir, caregiving, self-help, creative nonfiction, curriculum, children’s nonfiction, ghostwriting, greeting cards, articles and more. A familiar title would be Chicken Soup for the Soul an international series with short stories and essays.

IMG_7486Romance holds its popularity in fiction but other genres include fantasy, suspense/thriller, cozy mysteries, historical fiction, Amish stories, and more. At first glance, these genres may seem to fit the general market but inspirational writing has its differences.

Cindy and Cathy explained that “inspirational” is a broad term that includes various faiths. For Christian consideration, for example, the writing must align with the publisher’s guidelines and specific denomination. In addition, Christian writing is distinctive for its discretion with sexual content, minimal profanity, and degree of violence. Values are woven throughout each story but with imperfect characters, villains, and realistic scenes. The material is convincing but less graphic and contains a redemptive message of hope.

Writers may choose to research the inspirational market because of its diverse opportunities. To facilitate the process, Cindy and Cathy offered tips:

  • Consider why you want to write for this market.
  • Find your passion and write from the heart.
  • Do the legwork and research the publisher, guidelines, and denomination.
  • Go to a Christian Writers Conference and meet agents, publishers, and other authors. (Be prepared to pitch your book idea.)
  • Take advantage of conference CDs and learn from the experts.
  • Seize writing opportunities—it may lead to other projects.
  • Follow blogs for writing tips and market trends from leading agents and editors.
  • Know where your work fits. Search for similar works online or visit a local bookstore and check the bookbinding for placement information.
  • Write with excellence and offer innovative ideas.

IMG_7488These suggestions were the authors’ stepping-stones to publication. Perhaps your work can find opportunities in this market to inspire others and further your writing career.

Writing for the Inspirational Market Handout contains a list of industry blogs, top publishers, organizations, and annual conferences. To download the PDF file click here.

Note: Cindy (Martinusen) Coloma co-founded Quills of Faith Writers Group in 1997. She co-leads a monthly meetings every 2nd Monday from 7-9 p.m. at Anderson/Cottonwood Neighborhood Church. Visitors are welcome.

Member Monday: Big Girl Shoes by Marisa Shadrick

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece from Marisa Shadrick.

Author’s Note:  Marisa is a Christian freelance writer with articles appearing in local, online and international publications.  Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, Marisa understands the challenges women face in the workforce, nurturing a family and finding personal fulfillment. Women often find their identity in what they do; it can backfire and lead to illness, depression and even bitterness. Through her writing and public speaking, Marisa encourages women to find their true identity in God.

Big Girl Shoes

by Marisa Shadrick

Now and then, God leads us beyond our emotional limits. It’s like wearing oversized shoes with four-inch heels. Instead of moving forward, we worry about falling and playing the fool.  We become self-conscience, uncomfortable and sometimes it’s painful. We feel vulnerable.

Obedience makes us feel vulnerable. Godly choices are often unpopular, because it puts us in a place of weakness. But, as we step out-of-the-way, God’s strength and power flows.  Then, He occupies His rightful place to reign without our interference.

Weakness means we are dependent on God. Whatever the result, we can trust His sovereign, perfect will. Later, we can give Him glory when we realize that our shoes were a perfect fit.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (New American Standard Bible, 2nd Cor. 12:9).

Have a blessed week.


Works Cited

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

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