Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cult - Writer's Market

Posted by LD Keach on Thursday, March 4, 2010

I’m going to let you in on another vast and terrible dark secret; one that humankind was not meant to know, and as soon as your eyes stumble across the words you will most likely go irrevocably mad. It is a secret that has plagued the earth for centuries, whispered of in dark necromantic writers’ circles, and might actually bring about the fall of civilization—in fact, as I prepare to type this most horrible secret, I half suspect a bolt of lightning will burst forth from the sky and strike me down for my hubris.

Are you ready? Okay, here it is:

We do not need to buy this year’s Writer’s Market.

Okay, good; no lightning yet. I guess that means the dark gods have permitted me to live. Cool.

So, yeah, if you haven’t stumbled across this vast and terrible secret yet, I’m glad to have shared it with you. It took me a long time to realize I didn’t need to shell out the $40, $50, at one point 70 dollar smoke screen that is the Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition and its yearly online subscription. (I think the $70 point hit sometime around 2003, before Google had really rushed in on its white horse to save me.)

I mean, of course the Writer’s Market series of money-sinks—er, I mean market guides—have lots of handy information in them, without which I probably would not be where I am today. (Who’d even heard of a synopsis back in ‘99, let alone how to write one? Certainly not me…) For beginners, Writer’s Market is awesome. And I’m not suggesting that we outright shun the franchise entirely. On the contrary, I think every Sunday should be Writer’s Market day, reserved to rest and flip through the articles and skim through the markets to make sure there’s nothing that you missed while online…

So that brings me to the second part of the vast and terrible secret. Ready?

You know, your public library? The one you probably haven’t set foot in since you got high-speed internet?

That public library will have a copy of this year’s Writer’s Market.

Ask for it at the reference desk. Bring a pen and paper. Write down the website or guidelines for the markets you’d like—don’t fork out your last thirty bucks to take it home with you. That money would be so much better spent buying copies of the magazines you want to submit to, or donating to small-press publishers trying to carve a decent niche in the industry, or even paying your electric bill or buying yourself enough Ramen noodles to last the month. There are so many ways we can spend our money other than Writer’s Market and, in my opinion, those other ways will further our careers a lot more than the Deluxe Edition ever can.

But, of course, I may be struck by lightning any minute so, if that happens, I’ll advise you to check out the awesome deal they’ve got at Amazon for the abbreviated Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market edition. Only $19.79 plus shipping. The dark gods work in mysterious ways.