Pros: LOTS of markets and publishers; help for beginning writers
Cons: Goes out of date quickly in this business
Rating: 4 out of 5
First published 1/19/2001
If you’re a writer who wants to sell some work, pick up the latest version of this book. I can’t say it much more plainly than that. Every year a new version of the “Writer’s Market” comes out; in it you’ll find submission guidelines for magazines, book publishers, script buyers, and even non-fee-charging agents.
More importantly for the beginning writer, there’s advice as well: query letters, cover letters, proposals, agents, professionalism, manuscript format, word counts, sending in submissions, and more. The 2000 edition has an 11-page “query letter clinic,” with real examples of query letters that succeeded and failed. There are hints on crafting synopses, and interviews with successful writers. There’s plenty of information here on the business of writing: details, reprints and rewrites, pay rates, writing for the web, online writing markets, and yet more information on agents.
That’s just the first 98 pages of the book.
The listings are very detailed: name of publication, address, phone and fax, the name of the editor you should submit to, how many submissions they receive, how much they publish, whether they publish new writers or accept unsolicited submissions, how long you should expect to wait before you hear from them, whether they accept reprints or simultaneous submissions, what sorts of material they want, what they pay, and any tips they have for those who want to write for them. Obviously the number of these items that are detailed depend on whether the publisher provided the info, so some listings have more information than others.
Everything is handily broken up by topic: things like Home & Garden, Literary, Music, Sports. There are handy big symbols by the names so you can find what you want easily; you can identify new listings, markets that buy at least 50% from unagented or first-time authors, publishers that accept agented submissions only, and in the case of the magazines, comparative pay rates.
They know their audience well: early writers, primarily. People who don’t necessarily know all of the details on query letters and cover letters. People who don’t yet have established relationships with book publishers and magazines. People who haven’t found the massive online market databases yet.
In fact, that’s the one problem with this book: markets change faster than you can blink. Magazines fold or close to submissions; book publishers decide to stop publishing in a certain genre. The listings in this book are very time-sensitive. Visit the many online, searchable databases of markets as well.
When you start out, however, it’s worth it to get a copy of this book, for at least your first couple of years; the opening helpful information is more than worth it. Even after that it’s a good idea now and then, to remind you of some of the wide variety of options out there that you might accidentally miss. Remember that a new version of this guide comes out every year, so pick up the latest! You’ll also find specialized versions for novels, short stories, and much more.