Wednesday, June 20, 2018

6 Tips for Submitting to a Compilation

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

The anticipation of submitting an article, the adventure of writing it, and the hope that it will be accepted—writing for compilations can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. 

The first compilation I put together, Breaking the Chains, started as a blog series. Then I asked writers that I knew fairly well to be part of a book by the same title. Trust me, being on this end of a compilation is exciting and nerve-wracking, too. Deciding which articles to include and how long to make the book takes some time, some thought, and often, some prayer. 

I have just finished putting together Lighthouse Bible Studies’ second compilation, Heart Renovation, which releases tomorrow, June 21. (If you leave a comment on this post within the designated time frame, you will be entered into a giveaway to win a copy of the book!) 

I would like to share with you what I’ve learned about submitting to compilations and editing them. What makes a nonfiction article stand out? 

How to Make Your Articles Stand Out to a Compilation Editor

1. Go to the trouble to know the publishing house and their books.

Just as it’s a good idea to read sample copies of a magazine before submitting to it, it’s a good idea to look at a publisher’s previous compilations before submitting to a new one. Notice the format, lead-ins, and takeaway. Write down what makes their compilations unique, and then write down some action steps for your submission. Take into account their writer guidelines and follow them exactly. An editor will know whether you’ve cared enough to do your homework. 

2. Write on the topic from a slant.

Of course, we want to write about the topic that’s been designated. But writing from a slant or fresh perspective will keep our submissions from becoming too factual or dry. Include a word picture in your article. Start with a great story and use it as a theme. Incorporating metaphors and illustrations infuses our articles with creativity and color. Grab an editor’s attention by approaching the subject in a new or fresh way.

3. Start with a captivating lead-in. 

First lines and paragraphs can make or break our chances of getting into a compilation. Some editors will take the time to ask a writer to edit the beginning of a submission, but some won’t. So make your lead-in sparkle, intriguing, or powerful. Start with a story, question, statistic, quote, or intriguing thought. If you’re sharing a story, leave out just enough information in the first line so the reader keeps reading to learn more. Think storyteller. 

4. Make your voice encouraging, powerful, and warmhearted.

Speak to the reader—including the editor—as to a friend. Use the authority of Scripture to make your point. Show that you’ve been there—that you have experienced a certain struggle and trusted God to come through it victoriously. Share the principles you have learned. Encourage the reader to trust God as well. A friendmentality will influence how you say what you want to say, and it will keep the reader engaged and wanting to read further.

5. Include what the publisher wants. 

Does the publisher have an emphasis on takeaway? Be sure to include it throughout the article. Does the publisher want an explanation of Scripture? Take time to study with God and the resources on hand. Once you’ve written your article, go back and read the submission guidelines again. Make sure you have what the publisher is looking for. And please, put your byline underneath the title in the body of your article. I also recommend naming your Word file in the following way if you attach it to an e-mail: Title of Article_Author’s Name. It will make your potential editor happy. 

6. See the submission as an extension of your personal writing ministry, and give it all you have.

Writing from the heart comes through in our voice and the principles we share. Each piece of writing that we send out into the world is a part of the message we want to share with others. God can work through the 300-1800 words we send to a publishing house. Although it may take us two to twenty hours to write a submission, our words may alter the course of someone’s day or life. Each moment we spend investing in our writing translates into blessings we invest in our readers. 

So if the submission process is tough, don’t give up. If one submission isn’t accepted, try again. 

The time and attention we take for each submission is worth it, because they shape us as writers and sharpen our writing ability. So keep writing and submitting, and may God bless your efforts.

When you read a compilation, what types of things do you like to discover—the contributors’ stories, their approach to a particular topic, or the principles they share? Leave a comment below by noon on Thursday, June 21, and you will be entered to win a copy of Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character

6 Tips for submitting to a compilation - @KatyKauffman28 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Contributing to a compilation is a great way to get started as a writer - @KatyKauffman28 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Compiled by Katy Kauffman

“Under construction” is the condition of our hearts as children of God. He is the Contractor in charge, and Christ’s likeness is His flawless design. Written by thirty authors, this Bible study looks at God’s part in the renovation process and ours. The book can be used for a personal quiet time or in a group study. Visit Lighthouse Bible Studies or Amazon to learn more about the book, and check out our Facebook release party to celebrate the book and have the chance to win more giveaways.

Editor of the award-winning compilation, Breaking the Chains, Katy Kauffman is a Bible study author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. One of her favorite joys is meeting other Christian writers and working with them to share God's truth and love in the world. Katy’s writing can be found at,,, two blogs on writing, in online magazines, and on numerous devotional blogs. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best peanut butter cookies. Connect with her at her blogand on Facebookand Twitter.


  1. Saving this article and looking forward to your next compilation. Thanks for the important tips Katy!

  2. Thank you, Katy. I have written and submitted to a few magazines. It was exciting when they used the articles I sent. I should try that again, it seems to take so much time, but it's a good exercise.

    1. Hello, Donevy! It does take time, but I've found the time decreases as the years roll on. I'm glad you found this post helpful, and I wish you well with your submissions!

  3. And I should add, these tips will help improve my submissions.

    1. And you're the winner of our giveaway today, Donevy! Congratulations, and I will get in touch with you. Thank you for commenting and participating in the giveaway. Happy reading and writing!

  4. Great information Ms. Katy. With every article or manuscript I submit comes a simple prayer; "Lord, this is meant to bring you honor and glory. If meant for only one person, please bless it as you use it to bless them." Always information I save for future reference. God's blessings Ms. Katy.

    1. Hello, Jim, thank you for sharing that prayer. I'm so glad you found this post helpful. God bless you too.

  5. Donevy Westphal is the winner of our giveaway!! Congratulations, Donevy. If you all would like to join us for some fun in celebrating our book's release tonight, please visit our Facebook event page. The link is next to Heart Renovation's book cover above. Thank you for participating and reading this post!

  6. Unique topic with helpful advice. Thank you! And good luck on your own compilation.

  7. Thanks Edie, great post to get my day started!