An Introduction to Writer’s Market

I think Writer’s Market is one of the most helpful tools you can have as a freelance writer. It’s essentially a directory of all the publications in the Universe. Okay, maybe not the Universe, but close enough. Whether you’re looking for consumer magazines, trade magazines, fiction publications, or book publishers, you can find them on Writer’s Market.

Writer’s Market is also a great resource because it tells you things you can’t really find out anywhere else. Like whether or not a publication accepts freelancers, if they pay on publication or on acceptance, and how much per words they pay you.

Another exceptional resource Writer’s Market offers is the How Much Should I Charge? report. And if you really want your jaw to drop, go read that one. Because dang. Most of us are seriously undercharging for our work. This report doesn’t just tell you about what you can earn writing for publications, but what you can earn in basically all areas of freelance life. It’s my pricing Bible.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Writer’s Market before. I mentioned it in A Freelance Writer’s Guide to Researching, and it will come up in future books in the series, as well. But let’s look at it a little closer at the benefits.

The Directory of Publications 

If you’re ambitious about really digging into journalistic freelancing, Writer’s Market is essential to your career. You can search through consumer and trade publications and narrow down your options by location, genre, topic, publications who pay on acceptance, how much they pay, and more.

Once you’ve got your settings in place, you hit search. At that point, you’re returned a list of results. As you go through each publication, you’ll find a page that tells you what they look for, their contact information, who the editor is, their parameters, how much they pay (most of the time), what not to send, whether or not they accept freelancers, and more.

This is absolutely invaluable information, because it allows you to write a query letter that is rock solid. You know who you’re targeting, you know what they want, and, after perusing their site and previous content for a bit, you can pretty much gather what their audience is after. (But they usually tell you in the directory listing.)

The Directory of Publishers

If you’re looking to publish a book, you’ll be able to find a list of book publishers, as well. Just like with the previous directory you can narrow down your search based on a variety of parameters.

These directory listings will tell you who to contact, whether or not they accept unagented manuscripts, and the process for pitching to them. I self-publish, so I haven’t yet used this feature, but if I decide to publish traditionally in the future, this is where I’d go.

Advice and Training

Writer’s Market is part of/related to Writer’s Digest. Together, they have some of the best resources on writing, editing, submitting to agents and publications, and other areas of writing. Their entire goal is to help you sell what you write, and they do it rather well. Whether you want a full workshop, or you just want to read their blog and expert tips section, you’ll find information that will help you hone your craft and land more sales.

Keep in Mind 

You do want to keep the following things in mind.

  • Always double check the editor and contact information. It has been said that some editors give a dummy email address or submission address to WM, and people who submit there without actually researching the contact information go straight to the trash bin. While I don’t think that’s prevalent, it does happen, so it’s worth doing a quick Google search to make sure you are on the right track.
  • Many places say they don’t accept simultaneous submissions. In other words, they don’t want you pitching the same idea to several magazines. You’re supposed to sit there and wait for five months while they get back to you. That’s ridiculous. Most people I know pitch their ideas everywhere until someone says yes. You can pitch it from different angles depending on market, but don’t ever sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for someone to respond to you. Ever.
  • Check out the websites of the publications you’re interested in pitching. You may find their editorial calendar, which will tell you the topics they’ll be covering in future issues. Keep in mind that most publications work several months in advance. If it’s Christmas right now, you need to be pitching for Valentine’s Day or beyond, in most cases.
  • I suggest you come up with an idea, then try to find a market for it. Usually, if you’re writing an article just so you can pitch it to a certain market, it doesn’t go so well. Your content ends up sounding forced and fractured. So write about the things you really want to write about, and then use WM to find a market for it.

Cost

You can pay for a year of Writer’s Market, which I think is $30. You can also opt to pay $5.99 per month. It’s a ridiculously low price for the amount of information you can get, and it’s far easier to navigate the online version than it is to buy the book and rifle through it that way. Either way you go, Writer’s Market is more than worth the money.

Have you had any experiences with WM? If so, let everyone know in the comments! I will also be publishing a YouTube video soon showing you how I navigate WM so you can see it in action. I’ll link it here when it goes live.

Hope this helps, and have a great day!

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