The online version of Writer’s Market is a paid service, with a variety of payment plans ranging in 2011 from $5.95 monthly to $54.99 for a two year subscription. Often you can buy the book at a price that includes a discounted membership.
It’s also possible to buy only, for example, Poets Market or Novel & Short Story Market for $19.95. I’m not sure these are a good value unless you absolutely know you’re only going to write in one narrow market.
I think of the site in three ways – working with markets, information for writers and community.
Working With Markets
You can search in a couple of ways. I find the Market Listing Search the most helpful because I can use key words.
For example, I just searched on addiction, a topic I write about and got a list of four book publishers and one consumer magazine. Three of the book publishers are new to me and so is the consumer magazine. The best part is I can save that search and be notified when/if the publishers I’ve saved change their entry.
Yes, it’s the publishers who generate the information; Writer’s Market simply collects it and displays it.
I can also track my submissions through My Manuscripts (found under My Markets) which can be handy, although I’m not sure it’s better than doing the same thing in word or excel, but it’s nice to have markets and submission tracking in the same place.
What I absolutely love about the online version is the markets are updated more frequently – pretty much any time a publisher wants to update their listing. A book like Writer’s Market is bound to be out of date even the first day it’s published – books take a long time to assemble, even directories, or maybe especially directories. That alone can make the online service worth the price.
Information for Writers
Unfortunately some of the information for writers is simply copied from the book. This is true for the How Much Should I Charge section. I’d like to see that updated at least twice a year and would really prefer quarterly. The same thing is true for their Query Letter Clinic – and it’s easier to read in the book I think.
Their Market Watch is like a blog with announcements about changes in the publishing industry. It’s pretty easy to scan and see if anything applies to you or sparks an idea. I almost always get at least one new marketable idea when I scan that section.
Each section, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Children’s, Scriptwriting and Agents has articles about that topic by people who actually work in that portion of publishing. These make good, informative reading.
The site also offers discounts on many of the books and courses offered by Writers Market.
By the way, some of their links are confused because they haven’t updated everything yet as they’ve developed their new site. If you find a broken link email them and I’ll bet it’s fixed pretty quickly.
The community section contains groups, pitches by professionals for things like editing, coaching, and book design as well as two forums. Although I wouldn’t buy a membership just for their community section it does add some value I think.
Bottom line? For a writer who does lots of queries or is looking for an agent or a publisher I highly recommend both the book and the online version. While you can get all this information and more with searches on the web, in the book and on the online versions it’s well organized and highly accessible. I think every pro and every writer who wants to go pro should buy both each and every year.
What’s been your experience with the online version of Writer’s Market? Or do you have specific questions about it for me?
Image from WritersMarket.com