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By the author of An Arm and a Leg and Zombie Choices.
Anybody who has delved into the world of trying to sell the written word has likely stumbled across the title Writer’s Market at some point in time. This annually updated book is released each year and filled with the latest businesses that accept submissions from writers.
The book is often considered an essential tool for writing so that you can know where to submit your material to. Think of it as something of a giant phonebook, but for writers. But is Writer’s Market worth your money? Here are one writer’s thoughts…
Back in 2016, I went to a book warehouse filled with discounted titles. There, laying on one of the myriads of tables in front of me, lay a collection of Writer’s Market titles. I was able to pick up a copy of Writer’s Market, Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, and Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market – all from 2014 – for around $6 each.
I’ve had those titles for close to seven years now.
I’ve never bought a newer version of any of them. So, now, the question is: was it worth it?
Part of being a writer is collecting rejection letters. If you can’t get over that, you’ll never be a writer. I’ve collected well in the hundreds. I say that to let you know that despite multiple submissions to companies in both Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market and Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, I’ve yet to make a single sale. This has taken place over a period of seven years.
Writer’s Market is filled with the most companies that I’ve sent submissions to, however. Last year (2021), I really hammered the submissions to companies in this book, sending out who-knows-how-many manuscripts, queries, and so on.
I made one sale.
This was after hours of scouring through the listings and sending in queries.
Maybe Writer’s Market will help you more than it did me.
I’m a full-time writer now, but within the genre that I write for (prepping/survival/public health/backpacking), Writer’s Market didn’t really do anything for me. However, I don’t think that you should let that negatively influence your opinion of this book.
For starters, you may write in a completely different genre than I do. The audience that you reach may be starving for more content, and the companies within Writer’s Market may be looking for you. Also, there’s a very good chance that you’re a better writer than I as well. You could very easily have an easier time selling something to one of those listings.
Maybe people really want your information on how to take your cat on a backpacking trip in the Alps. You may have no problem whatsoever selling those articles. It’s hard to judge what content will sell and what will not.
I will say that as far as sticker price goes – if I don’t put a value on my time – I did come out ahead on that $6 purchase. I made $69. If I look at the time involved, then, no, Writer’s Market wasn’t for me.
I still say to buy a copy, however.
If you are starting to delve into the world of vocational writing, however, I do still recommend you pick up this title, particularly if you can find last year’s edition for a song. You’ll pay a fraction of what the new edition costs, most of the information is still pertinent, and you’ll be able to roll the dice. (In my 2014 edition, I did discover that 4-5 magazines I sent queries to were out of business. The older your edition, the higher your likelihood of this.)
I also recommend looking around at what is offered online and talking to your friends too. At least from the people I’ve talked to, it does seem as if word of mouth is how a lot of the writer’s world operates, meaning you get a lot of new gigs once you start to make connections. Networking matters. However, if you’re just starting, you have to begin to go out there and make connections in the first place.
That’s where Writer’s Market could very easily come into play.
So, overall, that would be my advice here. I do think that an older copy of Writer’s Market is worth the money for the simple reason that it allows you to take the gamble. If you don’t buy the book, there are a lot of venues out there that you’ll never learn about otherwise – venues that very well could be the ones that give you your first big break.
And if you buy the book and only make $75? Well, I still think there’s value in this. You can’t win a basketball game if you don’t ever shoot the ball, and you can’t get into writing if you don’t open yourself up to prospective failure.
Buy the book. I think it’s worth it, if for nothing else than that it helps you to begin.
If you are a budding (or successful) freelancer, do you use Writers Market? Or do you have other sources for submitting your work? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
4 thoughts on “I Bought an Old Copy of Writer’s Market. Was It Worth It? ”
I had a copy from 1988. I was a technical writer at the time. It had decent information for the time.
Interesting. My experience with The Literary Marketplace was very different, and extremely lucrative. However, I’m in the business of writing indexes for other people’s books. As you say, genre and niche make a huge difference.
How did you submit your work? Postal Service or email. If it was email, then you cleared $69. But if you had to submit manuscripts, the profit goes down. I have absolutely no experience in this, but I’ve been writing some and would appreciate knowing more.
I wonder if public libraries keep current copies in their reference sections? If so, maybe an old copy could be compared to the new one.
I suggest checking the internet to see if the listing has the same requirements. Or even the same contact person. A quick check on the internet is beneficial.