To Market, To Market With Words to Peddle...
Last week we agreed – well, at least I agreed, since I am after all writing this – that the purpose of writing is to be read by as many people as possible and that the best way of knowing there are people reading and enjoying your work is to sell it. No one is going to give you money for your writing just to make you feel better. Okay, maybe your mom. But she isn’t going to keep doing it. So, if you’re making a living from your writing you have to know people are enjoying it.
Besides being a useful indicator of popularity, money is good for all sorts of things. For instance, the local grocery store takes it in exchange for food (and takes more of it each week it seems) and no matter how much we explain to our bank that we’re running what amounts to a non-profit cat shelter for delinquent cats, it still insists on having us pay our mortgage in cash instead of warm fuzzies. (I know, I know. Very narrow minded of them.)
So, you’ve finished your manuscript, be it a novel or a short story, or even a collection of articles on delinquency in cats, and you’re looking for a way to market it. But how exactly do you go about it?
Well, first of all, you don’t know how lucky you are. When I finished my first novel, back in pre-history (it was 1985 and we chiseled our work on slabs of rock) I honestly had no idea what to do with it. As it turned out, I should have burned it, but since I didn’t know it at the time, I went to the library, got a copy of Writers’ Market and proceeded to send it out to all sorts of inappropriate places, from whence it was returned at speed (The Writers' Market is more reliable for non-fiction, and event here the listings are often outdated by the time it goes to print.) It was years before I found the appropriate places (which as it turned out also returned it at speed.)
Nowadays, you can do a lot of the research for where to market your book on line. Sites like Ralan list markets for Science Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy and Horror ranging from the professional-paying to literary and little. I was actually chuffed to find out they still existed. They used to be my go-to market listing back ten years ago when I was regularly submitting to magazines. (I haven’t done that in about ten years, because I’ve been submitting to by-invitation anthologies, and fulfilling book contracts. It’s one of those problems you trade up for in the writing field.) A friend of mine also uses something called The Grinder Diabolical Plots which is a combined submission tracker and market resource.