Writing for the Orthodox Market | Guest Post by M.C. Millman

M. C. Millman is the author of 35 novels for the Orthodox market,  YA and adult. She has written three young adult series and has had countless articles and stories published in a variety of magazines along with a weekly column in the Hamodia.  She also speaks and  gives writing workshops on Creative Wr-ecycling to schools and women’s groups. You can find her on Facebook.

Writing for the Orthodox market is rewarding in and of itself. It’s not going to make you famous, and it’s not going to make you rich, but there is nothing more fulfilling for a Jewish writer than writing for The People of the Book. This said, one needs to be aware of just how limited the Orthodox book market is since many don’t understand that the average novel rarely sells more than 2,000-4,000 copies over its short shelf-life. This might be hard to fathom but by realizing the two biggest problems for sales are the proliferation of Jewish libraries and the limited market of Orthodox readers, it becomes less hazy.

Newcomers welcome

But still you want to be published (of course). A heartening point for the newcomer to keep in mind is that long-selling, favorite authors sell pretty much the same number of books as newcomers and that there is hope in getting published. All it takes in some publishing houses is producing camera-ready copy, if you want to take this on — editing, page design, typesetting and illustrations. Some Orthodox publishers use this approach to shrewdly manage their upfront investment. For the newcomer, the publisher’s cost-cutting initiative becomes an opportunity.

Demand for “new”

But note that the Orthodox market is neither picky when it comes to polished writing nor long lasting.

The Orthodox market is made up of voracious readers who are so desperate to get their hands on new material, they will read anything that is “kosher.” And there is never enough out there, especially given the rapid lifecycle of most novels: sales peak by six months and go downhill after. Publishers print very few copies to cut costs and don’t reprint as readers are only hungry for new books. There have been a few reprints in recent years but only of classics or 3-in-1 books, which don’t appear until decades after initial publication.

A way to get your foot in the door

The Orthodox market is often the only one that fits even if it means putting out a camera-ready book as a way to get your foot in the door. If this is where your writing is headed, the following lists can help.

A note about Orthodox magazines:  Emailing submissions is the best way to go, but be aware that many magazines do not get around to acknowledging submissions or to letting writers know they’ve rejected submissions.  At best, they can take months to get back to you.

But take heart. If your effort pays off with a piece being published — it will certainly have been worth the wait.

Hatzlacha!

Orthodox Book Publishers

Magazines

 (become familiar with the style of each before submitting)

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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5 Responses to Writing for the Orthodox Market | Guest Post by M.C. Millman

  1. Dede Fox says:

    Thanks for the post, M.C. Very helpful information.

  2. I found this very interesting, thank you. The Orthodox market sounds unique. It does seem limited, but how nice that readers are open to new authors.

  3. Joan Seliger Sidney says:

    Thanks for your good info & peppy writing,
    Joan

  4. Leah Larson says:

    Please add Yaldah Magazine for Jewish Girls by Jewish Girls to your list. Yaldah seeks articles, poetry, interviews, crafts, inspirational, travel, and true experience stories submitted by Jewish girls of any background. We particularly need well-written, engaging, original short stories written by girls up to age 18. All material should be of interest to girls ages 8-14. We are also looking for editorial interns.

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