By Harriet Michael
The name of this post is supposed to be “Making Money Writing for The Upper Room” but truth-be-told, a writer does not make much money writing for The Upper Room, or any other devotional, for that matter. Devotionals are low-paying work so if you are writing to make money, perhaps you should learn how to tap into some of the more lucrative writing markets. I hear romantic fiction is a pretty solid market.
However, if you are like me—a mostly nonfiction writer with a passion for writing devotions—then yes, you can make a little money writing devotions which will help supplement your other writing income.
Money can be made in two ways when you get a devotion accepted for publication in The Upper Room.
The first of these ways is the check they send you as payment for your devotion. It is only $30 but that is actually pretty good pay as devotions go. (Did I mention that devotional writing is not a particularly high-paying market?) Some publications pay less, and many are actually not paying markets, offering exposure instead. The exposure angle is the other way a writer can make money when his or her work is chosen for The Upper Room.
Yes, the second way to generate money from your The Upper Room devotion is through the exposure you will receive. This is not just a vague, “it will help over time” monetary benefit, though that is true, too. No, there is a specific way that the exposure from an Upper Room devotion can benefit a writer.
The Upper Room has a practice of asking the person who wrote the devotion that day if they would also write a blog post for the blog on that same day. A few years ago, the devotion they chose happened to be about prayer, since prayer is one of my interests. The selection process for the Upper Room takes a long time and between the time I submitted that devotion and when it came out in their magazine, my book about prayer had managed to get picked up by a publisher and had just recently released. Naturally, writing more in the blog post about prayer, telling how I came about writing my book, and posting a link to it, seemed like an obvious thing to blog about, so I did.
That day I sold a lot of books, both print and e-books, and my author rank took a major jump. It climbed to 15,000 out of about a million writers on Amazon.
I mentioned earlier, there are better ways to make money than through writing devotions, but devotional writing pays off in so many other ways. I have been writing devotions in numerous publications since 2010 and have had so many times when a reader contacted me to tell me how God used what I had written to touch his or her heart in some way. This is the biggest reward in devotional writing—the ability to share something God has shown you with others and then watch God amazingly use it again in a reader’s life.
Nonetheless, if you do happen to get a devotion accepted for publication by the Upper Room, they do offer a huge, international moment of exposure for that one day when your devo is spotlighted.