Friday, September 07, 2007

Writer's Market: Do You Need It?

For many years, I relied on Writer's Market for information on magazines and book publishers. (For those who may not know the book, Writer's Market, or WM, offers listings for thousands and book and magazine publishers and other markets for freelance writers.) From the early through the late 1970s, I bought the new edition every year. Then I figured out that it was enough to pick up a copy of WM every other year, and supplement the market info with listings that appeared in The Writer, Writer's Digest, and elsewhere.

Eventually, I ended up writing for Writer's Market (in addition to listings, it contains how-to articles and interviews with writers and editors), and even appeared in ads in Writer's Digest, endorsing the book.

In recent years I've had a look at the local library's copy and used the online version now and then (along with Literary Market Place), but it's not really that important to me now. Still, WM is a worthwhile guide for new writers, and for publishing writers who work in areas where they deal with lots of markets.

If you are writing only one novel, or just one book of any kind, you may need to use the book only once or twice. Same if you're seeking an agent. You can probably get by with using the copy at your library. But if you frequently write short stories and/or magazine articles, or any other works that have multiple market possibilities, Writer's Market is an excellent resource.

And it is worth noting that just reading the market listings can generate ideas. I used WM for exactly that. Market descriptions inspired article ideas, and sometimes short story ideas. I also got at least one book idea from WM.

The only downchecks I give the book are that it has fewer listings than it used to, and definitely a lot less info in the average listing than in the 70s and 80s. And it's overpriced, though the Amazon discount makes it reasonable.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks

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