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.
Romance 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.
These 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.