The first time I purchased a copy of Writer’s Market was just over a decade ago when I was a bright eyed college student dreaming of becoming a writer. At that time access to the internet still involved a telephone line and a CD so, at that time, the online resources for aspiring writers were few and far between. My first Writer’s Market showed me a world of possibilities in the form of priceless publisher contact information and invaluable advice. That book remained useful even after Writer’s Digest Books released additional, updated, versions. Now, many years later, I found myself wondering if purchasing Writer’s Market was still worth it. I decided to invest in a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Market and here is what I discovered.
Wider Variety of Market Guides
My first surprise came when I initially got ready to order the 2015 Writer’s Market. When I searched I found these results:
Now Writer’s Digest Books creates specialized guides that focus on specific genres and needs. While I have no interest in a book featuring contact information for poetry publications or children’s books, it would be nice to have a guide that provides a detailed list of short story markets. Also, the list of literary agents could be invaluable to someone who is interested in appropriating publications that only review agent submitted works. The additional options are nice, but I was completely distracted and (to be honest) ended up spending more money than I previously intended.
The outdated Writer’s Market that I own provides a great deal of information that is extremely useful for anyone who is just starting out. The 2015 Writer’s Market offers advice and information that even a 15 year writing veteran would appreciate. There are tips on perfecting a query letter that I believe a novice would benefit from. Additionally, there are tips on how to repurpose, reslant, and rebrand past work that I am sure any writer who (like me) has a huge collection of previously published, or largely unused, work could utilize. There is also a lot of advice on how to find work through social media, blogging, etc. that actually leads to a decent income which writers who are used to working with print publication can learn from.
Don’t get me wrong, The 2015 Writer’s Market has an enormous amount of information that can help anyone make the jump from hobby writer to full time professional, but there were a few things that were missing. Some major publications that are only two or three years old are missing from this book. Yes, the 2015 Writers Market is filled with contact information and submission instructions for some extremely well known publications like The New Yorker, but because this industry is constantly changing it is hard for any publication (regardless of how well researched) to stay current. Plan to do a little bit of online research for additional markets, but only after you have exhausted the resources provided to you by the book.
My Advice to Writers
Now I want to take a second and offer you some advice directly from me to you on how to utilize any Writer’s Market once you get it. Spend some time and decide what publications you do NOT want to write for. Just because a publication is listed, and it is reputable, does not mean it is one that you want to start out with. Unless you are writing solely to see your name in print or featured on a website (I’ve done it in the past) do not waste your time on something that isn’t going to give you a good return on your investment of time and mental exertion. Personally I avoid magazines and websites that only pay upon publication unless I have something that is already submission ready sitting unused on my computer. Do not risk putting yourself into a situation where an excellently written piece is held in limbo by a magazine for months or years. Once you submit it is often a pain to get your rights back. Also, set a per word payment rate that you feel you deserve and stick to it. Focus on submitting work to places who are going to pay you what you worth and only contact your back up choices if each and every submission you send out is declined.
Overall I believe the 2015 Writers Market is worth the price and is a smart investment for any career or aspiring writer. It is one of the best places to find legitimate, high paying, job leads and get advice from experienced writers. IF you are someone who writes poetry, specializes in short stories, or has a large collection of unused work consider checking out the other market guides that are now available.