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.
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.
Orthodox Book Publishers
- Judaica Press – Editor: Nachum Shapiro – no submission guidelines listed
- Feldheim Publishers – no submission guidelines listed -they can ask for camera-ready work
- Targum Press – Editor: Miriam Zakon – Read submission guidelines here
- Jerusalem Publications – no web page – editor Aviva Rappaport – firstname.lastname@example.org
(Lion Press is an imprint of Jerusalem Publications)
- Hachai Publishing – Editor: Dina Rosenfeld
- Israel Book Shop – a publisher that asks for camera-ready work
- Artscroll – Read submission guidelines here
(become familiar with the style of each before submitting)
- Hamodia Magazine – email@example.com
- Mishpacha Magazine/Family First Magazine/Junior Mishpacha – Read submission guidelines here
- Binah Magazine/Binah Bunch firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ami Magazine/Ami Living/ Aim (for kids) – email@example.com – Editor: Rechy Frankfurter for the adult, firstname.lastname@example.org for the kids
- Life Style Magazine – Editor: Debbie Shapiro – email@example.com
- Jewish Action: Anna Socher, Assistant Editor firstname.lastname@example.org – Read submission guidelines here
- http://www.jewishwriting.com/pages/articles/newsexpanded.html – a site that might be helpful but some info is out of date such as: Horizons magazine is no longer printing.