Submission Guidelines for Writers

Reflections Christian Magazine
Photo by Kelly Galiszewski, Spiritled Photos

Dear Writer,

Hi, I’m Janet Eriksson, editor and publisher of Reflections Christian online magazine. Thank you for your interest in writing for Reflections and bringing encouragement, hope, and inspiration to our readers. God bless you!

Participation is voluntary

Participation is strictly voluntary. I cannot pay for submissions. I offer a byline with author bio/photo and up to two appropriate web links (all parts optional).

Word count

I accept original pieces up to 2,000 words. The ideal is 500-1,200 (easiest to read online). But I’ve also published pieces that were 150 words and profoundly encouraging. So no required minimum.

Christian inspirational focus

All pieces need to be Christian-focused and offer encouragement and hope to readers. That doesn’t mean pieces necessarily need to be light; but they do need to leave readers feeling hopeful and encouraged. The focus should be inspirational (rather than academic or current events).

Four sections of the magazine

The magazine has four sections: devotionals, featured pieces, columns, and prayers/blessings.

Featured pieces

The featured pieces can be fiction, non-fiction, articles, poetry, testimonies, prayers, song lyrics, journal style or letter style pieces, devotionals, how-to, missionary reports from the field, etc. Each featured piece needs to be Christian-focused and provide encouragement and hope for readers. While I like to include seasonal themes, featured pieces can be on any Christian inspirational topic year-round.

Devotionals, prayers, blessings

I accept devotionals, prayers, and blessings for each issue in addition to featured pieces. Devotionals, prayers, and blessings can be on any Christian theme, but I also love to include seasonal themes for each issue. If you submit a devotional, I may include it either in the devotional or featured pieces section, depending on how that particular magazine issue is flowing.

Column requirements and commitment

Writing a column requires an ongoing commitment because readers come to expect them.  I will consider prayerful ideas for columns from writers who have published in three or more issues of ReflectionsThe number of columns I can publish at any given time is limited.

Editing and feedback

In addition to editing and proofing your piece for publication, I will give you feedback on areas to edit or develop where needed. If something isn’t ready to publish, I will explain why, and I am always open to re-submissions. If you are unsure about a piece, the earlier you submit it, the more time you will have to get feedback and make changes before the deadline.

Copyright and “no duplicate” requirements

As the author, you own the copyright to your work. You are free to publish it elsewhere in the future. However, because Google penalizes websites for duplicate content, I request that before you re-publish it, you please let me know so I can remove it from Reflections. I am always glad to do this because part of the reason I offer this magazine is to give Christian writers a place to share their work. So I want to see you grow and publish in many places.

However, for the sake of our readers, I do ask that you plan to leave the piece online for six months after publication. I also hope you will create some pieces exclusively for this magazine so they can remain online for future readers to enjoy.

Devotional format

As I mentioned, devotionals are welcome for every issue, and they can be on any Christian theme. I prefer to style devotionals with the following headings: Bible Verse, Reflection, Prayer, Thought for the Day. However, I am open to other formats as long as you check with me first.

Submission limits

At the beginning of launching the new Reflections, I will accept multiple submissions from each writer for a particular issue. As we get more writers participating, I will put limits on submissions per writer per issue. I will let everyone know when that happens.

Optional photos and requirements

You are welcome to include thematic photos with your piece. However the photos must be either your original photos (or artwork) or they must come from either Pixabay or Unsplash.

If the photo/art you are including is your own original work, please let me know that in your submission letter.

If you are suggesting a photo from Pixabay or Unsplash, please send me the url to the page where the photo first appears (before download).

I must be able to locate easily and download the photo myself, along with the name of the photographer. So please send me the first url that will get me to that place.

A common problem is that writers download the photo and send me that url. I need the url a step before that process takes place, the first url you come to when you click on a photo in a Pixabay or Unsplash search.

If you send me the wrong url, I will have to ask you to re-send it. Be sure to bookmark the photo page when you first discover it, so you can find it again if needed. Without the exact url, locating a photo again is like searching for a needle in a haystack. If you love the photo, be sure you save the address.

Song writing

If you are a song writer and choose to submit song lyrics to the magazine, you are also welcome to provide a YouTube link of you performing the song, provided the link is marked for full public access.

Use of Bible verses

If you refer to Bible verses in the piece(s) you submit for Reflections, please note these very important items:

  • If you are directly quoting from scripture, please list the “address” of the Bible verse(s) you use. You can either include the address as part of your sentence, or you can add it in parentheses at the end of the quote.
  • When quoting a verse directly, please be sure every word and all punctuation matches the translation exactly.
  • If you alter a directly quoted verse by adding your own bold or italics, you must write in parentheses, “Emphasis added.” If you add a word in brackets [ ], you don’t need any further explanation. However, please try to keep alterations such as these to a minimum and only do this when absolutely necessary. 99.9% of the time, please keep the Bible verse intact exactly as written in the translation you are quoting, without adding anything else.
  • If you are indirectly referring to scripture, please indicate the address of those Bible verse(s) in parentheses, so the reader can look up the information you are referring to.
  • Please be aware of the verbal habit of saying, “As the Bible says,” and then giving information without saying where it comes from in the Bible. In writing and publishing, you need to include those addresses every time.
  • If you are paraphrasing Bible verse(s), please indicate “paraphrased” in parentheses following the address of the verse(s).
  • If you are simply retelling a Bible story in your own words, you would not use quotation marks, nor do you need to write “paraphrased.” You would simply tell the story in your own words, and then follow it with parentheses: (See Luke 2:1-7.) (Or whatever your verses may be.) That helps the reader to find the actual story in the Bible to read for themselves.
  • Please list the translation you have used in parentheses after each passage. You can use the standard three-letter abbreviation for that translation. (If it’s a little-known translation, please write it out the first time and use the abbreviation after that.) For Reflections, you are free to use the translation you prefer, and you can use more than one translation in different sections of your writing, as long as you have identified it and quoted it accurately each time.
  • For Reflections, please write out the entire name of the book of the Bible (no abbreviations) and please use the numbers 1 and 2 (rather than I and II).
  • Please use double quotes around the entire Bible passage. In addition, please use single quotes for anything spoken within the passage. If the entire passage is spoken, please use double and single quotes around the passage. (In some unique cases, such as Numbers 6:24-26, there are four levels of quotations! To keep it simple for the reader, in such a situation you can just use double quotes around the whole passage. That’s the rare exception, and it’s only for the benefit of the online reader.)

Pronouns referring to God

For Reflections, you can refer to God either with pronouns in upper case or pronouns in lower case. Many writers prefer upper case to express reverence for God as well as to distinguish Him in what is written. However, often when writers are communicating with an audience that does not have a church-type background, they prefer using lower case pronouns for God, to avoid intimidating readers.

Either of these is okay for Reflections. However, the capitalization needs to be consistent throughout your piece(s). Before submitting, please read through and double check that all your pronouns match: either all upper case or all lower case. (There are rare exceptions, and you’re welcome to include a note for me about that.)

Remember that these pronouns for God not only include all variations of He, Him, and His, but also Me when God/Jesus is talking about Himself, and You when you are talking to God.

Title suggestions

You are welcome to suggest a title for any piece you submit.

Submission instructions

I will accept submissions of written pieces for the online magazine pasted only within the body of an email sent to janet.e.writer@gmail.com. (No attachments, please.) The subject line should say “Submission for Reflections.” At the beginning of the email, please include the following statement: “I own the copyright to this written piece (and any original photo/art), and I give Adventures with God permission to publish this piece (and any original photo/art) in Reflections online magazine until I notify Adventures with God to remove it.” Please also include the copyright year of the piece you are submitting (the year you wrote the piece), so I can include that information at time of publication in Reflections.

Publication info

Reflections is published online on its own WordPress site. There is no charge to read the magazine, and there will be no paid advertising.

General themes

I accept devotionals, featured pieces, prayers and blessings on inspirational Christian themes. (The focus is inspirational, so this is not a magazine for academic pieces or current events pieces.) Each inspirational piece needs to be Christian-focused and provide encouragement and hope to readers.

I am providing here some examples of themes that are great for this magazine. However, these are just a few ideas. This is not to limit, but simply to inspire. If you have any questions about whether your topic is appropriate, please feel free to contact me: janet.e.writer@gmail.com.

  • Trusting God
  • Giving your whole heart to God
  • Quiet time with God
  • God’s everyday lessons
  • New growth, new life, transformation
  • Majesty of God
  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • God’s love
  • Family
  • Testimonies
  • Prayer
  • Miracles
  • The peace of Christ
  • Joy of the Lord
  • Favorite Bible verses and inspiration
  • God’s help through hard times
  • Ministry of Jesus (then and now)
  • Holy Spirit
  • Attributes of God
  • Generational healing
  • How God helped you overcome a struggle
  • Inspirational, God-focused reflections from the mission field, Christian life, or everyday life
  • Seasonal themes (with a Christian focus)

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Due Dates

Here are the Reflections due dates for the next four issues:

Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 issue will be published in mid-October. In addition to general themes, I also accept Christian-focused themes related to the Fall season. Even though this issue comes out in mid-October, this is also a great time to help readers prepare their hearts for the upcoming Thanksgiving season.

Fall submissions due: September 1, 2020

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Winter 2021

The Winter 2021 issue will be published in mid-January. In addition to general themes, I also accept Christian-focused themes related to the Winter season. Even though this issue comes out in mid-January, that is also the perfect time to help readers focus on their New Year with God.

Winter submissions due: December 1, 2020

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Spring 2021

The Spring 2021 issue will be published in mid-April. In addition to general themes, I also accept Christian-focused themes related to the Spring season. Keep in mind, this issue will be published after Easter Sunday, which is April 4, 2021; however, Easter Season lasts 50 days till Pentecost Sunday, May 23. So this issue also gives you a great opportunity to help readers reflect on the full Easter Season, resurrection life, Pentecost, and life in the Holy Spirit.

Spring submissions due: March 1, 2021

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Summer 2021

The Summer 2021 issue will be published in mid-July. In addition to general themes, I also accept Christian-focused themes related to the Summer season. Published mid-summer, this issue is also a great time to include prayers for Summer family time, as well as back-to-school prep prayers for kids, parents, teachers.

Summer submissions due: June 1, 2020

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Reflections Blog

In addition to the online magazine, which is the centerpiece, Reflections also has a blog. The Reflections blog is a helpful way to share the magazine with a wider audience and to provide inspirational content between the quarterly magazine issues.

Writers who contribute to a Reflections magazine issue are invited to submit an additional devotional or prayer, if they desire, for the Reflections blog to follow the magazine issue. (At this time, the blog is limited to devotionals and prayers.) Of course, contributing to the blog is optional for the writer, but available. The blog is meant to enhance the magazine, so the magazine issue will need to be filled before blog posts can be published.

Once again, all blog submissions are voluntary (not compensated). Authors retain original copyright and will be thanked with a byline, author photo, and up to two appropriate website links. It is my hope that sharing additional work in the blog will benefit Reflections writers.

Please submit writing for Reflections magazine first before writing any pieces for the blog. When you hear back from me that your piece has been accepted for publication in Reflections magazine, at that point please let me know if you would like to write an additional devotional or prayer for the blog.

Thank you for your interest!

God bless,

Janet Eriksson, Editor & Publisher

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of nine books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches at https://adventureswithgod.blog/. She enjoys volunteering with Transformations. Janet received her M. Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary.

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