It would be great if you could explore the most effective ways to use Writer’s Market Online, as it can be pretty overwhelming.
First, as you probably know Writer’s Market comes in two forms, the hardback and the online version. Although there’s a fair amount of duplication I approach each one in a different way.
Here are my eight tips to getting the most out of the hard bound book edition. We’ll take a look at the online version tomorrow.
- I set aside an evening just for getting oriented to the new edition. I may not do much reading – mostly I want to see what’s new and interesting to me.
- Start with the table of contents. The first 200+ pages are what I call instructions to writers. Since I’ve been writing for years, I don’t necessarily want to read everything in this section, at least not at the first sitting.
- Check mark beside the articles I want. I make a check mark – yes, I write in reference books – beside the articles I want to read. For example, since I plan to do more self-publishing soon that’s a section I want to read. I may do some reading in that first sitting or not.
- Peruse the markets listed in the table of contents. In a very general sense I want to make a check mark beside any market I’m sure I want to explore in detail. I also use a / mark beside those that are new to me or I’m just curious about. I always, for instance, put a check next to “Journalism and Writing.”
- Scan markets to find a home for ideas I already have. At a different time, I’ll take my idea file, and use Writer’s Market to see if I can find a market for any ideas that I’ve listed. Just because I’ve written on a topic for my blog doesn’t mean I can’t develop the article into a new direction for a print publication. I generally do this a couple of times a year or more.
- Scan markets for new ideas. Two or three times a year I’ll sit down with the book and just randomly read the markets. Oh, I may start with the table of contents or the index, but my goal is to let what the editors have written about their publications, and the agents say about what they want. It seems like it only takes a few minutes before I’ve added four or five ideas to my idea file.
- I mark up the book as I go along. It’s not unusual for me to use a highlighter and a pen each time I approach the annual. I might, for example, highlight the pay rate and, in a different color highlight those that pay only on publication. I won’t submit to a magazine that doesn’t pay on acceptance any more. I also may underline topics or other info that I think I may want to spot easily the next time through.
- Refer to their pay rate charts and articles. Although I know my own rates well I use the pay rate charts when I’m doing something new or something I haven’t done in a long time. For example, I’ve recently been hired to do a series of press releases. I was able to use the information in Writer’s Market to help set my price.
Your approach may well be different. Mine has changed over time. The changes reflect both the way my writing business has grown and the way Writer’s Market has expanded, which it has.
What’s your favorite tip or hint for using Writer’s Market?