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How Freelance Writers Can Use Writer’s Market Online

Writer's Market OnlineThe other day I posted 8 Tips For Using Writer’s Market To Make Sales which referred to the book version. Today I want to do an orientation to the online version of Writer’s Market.

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 A book like Writer’s Market is bound to be out of date even the first day it’s published – books take a long time to assemble, even directories, or maybe especially directories.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.

Community

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?

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Image from WritersMarket.com

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • That was something I didn’t know. I will definitely check that out.
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  • Judy Goslow

    I bought the ebook (IPAD) version of Writer’s Market. It did not work and could take 2 hours to open a page, or even more.
    Kindle would likely be the same, because a publisher produces their own
    copy, not Apple or Amazon, etc.. Apple finally gave me my money back,
    which tells you just how bad it is. I’ve found the online WM to be pretty poor
    also. You say they have a new web site and I really hope that’s finally
    better, but I tried 3 different downloads on the ebook and would advise
    anyone to leave it alone! Just FYI.

    • Anne

      Thanks Judy… I never even thought of trying it on my ipad… so I’m glad to know it’s awful. Now I won’t try it. Wonder why they don’t fix that… although ebook formatting is still fairly arcane. If I could only use one, I’d use the book version.

  • I’ve used the print version of Writers Market since 1972, and the online version for about six years. I like the online version because it is updated regularly. What I don’t like is many of the markets don’t state that they are non-paying markets. In the print version one knows precisely whether a market pays or doesn’t. Not so with the online version. Although it has gotten better, the online version is slow in going from page to page.

    • Anne

      Hmmmm… I hadn’t realized that about the online version not being clear about paid v. unpaid. That’s not good. Thanks for the heads up… let’s all write them and tell them we want that changed.

  • I haven’t used the site yet, but it’s nice to know that it is there when I am ready for it. I need to put my novel through revisions before I’m ready to seek out a publisher for it. Might consider it for other things along the way.

    One thing I like about the online version is that it can be updated easily. I’ve always heard books can get dated before they’re even published. I know several sites that don’t update their information as they should, so it’s great to know that this site does.

    Thanks for sharing this resource!
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    • Anne

      You’re welcome Grady…

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