Re:Fiction - The Fiction Writers' Magazine

Review: Writer's Market 2019 by Robert Lee Brewer (Editor)

Target Audience

Beginner to intermediate writers

About

You've finished your manuscript. After long, grueling months, or even years, of writing, revising, rewriting, editing, and proofreading, you've finally polished your manuscript into a shining jewel. So, what's the next step? 

Writer's Market 2019 gives a concrete answer for aspiring writers who want to see their work published. Not only is this edition made for beginner authors, but for any writer who is looking to expand their publication opportunities. Edited by Robert Lee Brewer, it simplifies the process of: 

  • Researching your markets

  • Finding the right literary agencies and book publishers

  • Determining your next steps after securing a six-figure deal

  • Making a profit from your other writing projects

  • Marketing your work

Writer's Market offers concise, rich information from various experienced professionals to help you make the right choices for your career.

Pros

Writer’s Market 2019 is an easily accessible guide for the inexperienced writer. The best feature is the list of resources it offers those just breaking into the industry: literary agencies, journal publications, fellowships, and awards. There's even an invaluable pay-rate chart that provides an estimation of how much you should charge for your writing services. The resources are organized and categorized for easy filtering and navigating your learning experience. Not sure what ‘subsidiary rights’ mean? A glossary for industry terms is available in the back with clear definitions.

I particularly appreciated the inclusion of advice from industry professionals. Prolific bloggers and freelance writers all have valid tips on how to organize your business and stay ahead of the market. You can learn how to write a query letter for your novel and even write a cover letter for short story submissions to magazines. You can even view handy examples of what’s acceptable and unacceptable to send to agents or editors.

Cons

Unfortunately for the Writer's Market 2019, its faults are as glaring as the pros. At the beginning of each year––ideally January––the book is available to purchase with resources and indexes. Because of that, the guide's information is incomplete. Printed copies can’t be sufficiently updated if a publication is shut down or if a literary agent's contact information has changed. It's mainly up to the reader to make sure all the provided information is still relevant. 

While the guide is flexible for any writer, it does leave the reader with broad, generic information. If you're only looking to freelance, Writer's Market 2019 is an excellent place to start. However, it shouldn’t be your only guide of learning how to be the sole proprietor of your business. The focus of the book is to provide a database for fiction and nonfiction authors; specifically, how one can diversify one's income. Despite the premise of the book, it doesn't offer the same array of information for freelance writers looking to expand their business. Instead, any section for freelance writing is filled with banal details that I found disappointing.

A clear example of general information is in "Finding Work." Finding gigs as a freelance writer is a long, laborious process that involves self-hosting a website. While these steps are in this chapter, it's short, simple, and not given the exact length the subject deserves. The section is still incredibly useful, however, because it's dedicated to helping authors on querying, marketing, and funding your career through fellowships and workshops.

Conclusion

Writer’s Market 2019 has concise information on laying the groundwork for a successful writing career. For the budding novelist, freelance journalist, or beginner tech article writer, Writer’s Market 2019 has the knowledge you'll need to curate a successful self-employed business. It includes an index of publications, book publishers, consumer and trade journals, literary agents, and funding sources for writers. With this guide, you’ll have an entry-level overview of what to expect when you begin your writing career.

Sharrisse Viltus is a freelance writer based in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She specializes in blog writing and articles about marketing, writing, and entertainment pieces. Before becoming a freelance writer, she graduated from Bridgewater State University with a B.A in English and Public Relations. When she isn't working on her own creative writing projects, you can find her napping at the beach. Visit her website at http://sharrisseviltus.com.

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