As I was prepping for this topic I made a discovery.
Publishers are being bought and sold and auctioned and given up during bankruptcies. The publication you might discover as a potential market for your short story or article may not actually be there by the time you are writing your cover letter or query. Or, it may be there, but run by a whole new group of editors. This also happens with websites. It seems the Publishing Universe is not settling out anytime soon. Always, double check the health of the publisher you chose as you were finishing up your submission. As writers, we need to double check, then check one more time because a change in ownership, generally means a change in submission trends and guidelines have changed.
Note on the publisher: As some of you may already know, Writer’s Digest’s former parent company, F+W Media, was auctioned off as part of bankruptcy proceedings in 2019. Penguin Random House LLC acquired the Writer’s Digest Books brand, including the Market Books and WritersMarket.com, while Active Interest Media acquired everything else branded as Writer’s Digest, including the magazine, conferences, contests, online education, WritersDigest.com, and more. So while we’re still excited about the Writer’s Digest Books brand, we do want to clarify that we’re now owned by separate entities.writersdigest.com
This news about the Writer’s Market threw me off my game. I was going to tell you how I used their Submission Tracker in 2018 and now, the website is down. A trip to the new owners’ website doesn’t mention anything other than how to buy their Writer’s Market titles for 2020. I did notice I could buy a copy of The Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market is available in ebook format as well as print. In the case of the Writer’s Market, I think holding the actual paperback makes me feel smarter.
I want to talk about choosing a Publisher. Substitute the idea of an Agent wherever necessary and many Publishers only accept agented work. (I have some notes on how to get around the need for an agent and they involve going to Writers Conferences and interning for publications, becoming somewhat known in the Publishing Universe.)
I am going to try to upload a pdf of a Market Research Form I use. Someday, I will turn it into a Word Template. For now, you can snag the image file or upload the pdf and read it. Oh, you might also double click the image to see if it loads in its own window.
Come on over to the chatroom and we will talk about how a Publisher’s Submission Guidelines will change some of the items in your Submissions Packet.
A Submission Packet should include each of the standard things you will come across in your Market Research. You may not use all of the items in your packet for each submission but having it in a readily accessible file is something you will not regret.
I do wish I could have accessed the Oh So Cool Submission Tracker from 2 years ago. Instead we can talk about the everchanging landscape of publishing. This, according to my experience, was a very successful company. I am sure Penguin and RandomHouse will continue the tradition well into the 20s. I have no idea about the website.
I will continue to prepare for this topic so come on over to the Chatroom on Sunday, 12 January and be prepared to share your favorite go-to references for Market Research and Submission Tracking.