In college, my profs had plenty of reading for us to do. Lots of research. Oodles of papers due. But as an English major at that time (graduated 1997, oh so long ago) there was very little conversation about the business end of a writing/reading/publishing/English-y career.
It is possible that I wasn’t listening.
Listening skills aside, not once did I visit the Career Services office or ask my profs for job direction. Somehow I assumed, and they didn’t dispell the assumption, that a degree would magically open doors for me and I wouldn’t have to do a whole lot of work to make it happen.
Granted that was a different time and the economy was in a different spot. This isn’t a post about economics or the job market, though. This is about a basic tool that should have been a required textbook, like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. And I didn’t find out about it until I’d been out of college a long time. You can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Writers-Market-Guide-2012/dp/1414363478
Obviously there are other versions of this book which are more all-inclusive. The Writer’s Market is easily available at the library and even if you can’t get the most current copy, last year’s will still be relevant.
Maybe I’m the last one in any writing circle to find out about these resources; that’s pretty likely. But because I’m trying to make this blog all about finding your way as a writer, from the early stages and forward, I’m putting aside my pride and admitting that I wish I would have known about this many many years ago.
The nice thing about Christian Writer’s Market is that it narrows down the overwhelming amount of information provided. I don’t write erotica. I don’t intend to write erotica. So I don’t need to have the listings of publishers who specialize in erotica. See what I mean? But if you do write erotica or horror or fantasy (or anything else), Writer’s Market is a fantastic place to get all kinds of contact information about your area of specialty.
Another nice thing is that it also provides information about agents, periodicals, contests and more. It can be a huge time saver. I know some people like to do all their research online, but I’m too easily distracted and follow too many bunny trails. These books have the information I need without the extras. I find more details online once I figure out what I’m after.
I hope this is helpful to other new-ish writers out there. Go find one and pick out those markets that fit your writing best. For those of you who have been doing this a while, are there other resources that you reference regularly? Don’t keep it to yourself — let us in on it. Sometimes when you’re starting out, it is hard to even know the questions you ought to ask!
My challenge to you is to find one new spot you can submit your writing this week. It makes sense to submit your work somewhere it stands a chance. If you’re writing about parakeets you don’t submit it to a magazine that specializes in horses! These resources can ensure that you have the best chance of success.
I’m working on the same goal and submitting/sending a query to a new publication. Let’s check in next week and see what progress we’ve made. Good luck!