Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
Receive this blog by e-mail!  Enter your e-mail address:   

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Best UK Market Directories for Writers

We may not even be half-way through 2008, but already the 2009 market directories are coming out.

So I thought in this post I would take a look at the three main UK directories. I'll save the US market guides for another post.

As a UK-based freelance, I buy at least one of these guides every year. The content varies between them, but they all include comprehensive lists of UK publishers, agents, magazines, newspapers, and so on. Nowadays, as well, they include a growing range of articles and ancillary information. If you're serious about making a living from your writing, and UK-based or want to write for UK markets, having a current edition of one of these guides on your bookshelf is, in my view, essential.

The best known, and longest-established, guide to the UK market is The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, published by A&C Black. I've posted a link to the 2009 book's page at Amazon.co.uk below. As ever, if you're receiving this post by email, you will need to visit my blog to see this.


The 2009 WAYB is published on 15 June 2008, and has a foreword by Kate Mosse. It weighs in at 832 pages and is available for 9.89 UK pounds from Amazon.

The WAYB is still the favourite UK market guide of many writers. It has a good range of publishers and markets, and unlike the other guides includes information specifically aimed at freelance artists and photographers as well. It has a website at http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/, which includes a free search facility (although the only info given for a magazine or publisher is its website and email address). You won't go far wrong with the WAYB, but its two main competitors are ahead in some respects.

The WAYB's longest-standing rival is The Writer's Handbook, published by Macmillan. You'll have a little longer to wait for this one - the 2009 edition is due out on 25 July 2008. Here's a link to its Amazon page...


The 2009 Writer's Handbook also has 832 pages and costs 9.89 UKP on Amazon (what a coincidence!). It is edited, as usual, by Barry Turner. The Writer's Handbook has been my favourite market guide for a few years now. There's more information on writing for newspapers and magazines, and more on radio, TV, small presses and theatre companies. The new 2009 edition also apparently includes free online access to The Writer's Handbook website, offering a directory of markets and some additional resources and advice for writers. I don't have a URL for this, however, and assume the site is not operational yet (unless you know otherwise?). The obvious URL at http://www.writershandbook.co.uk/ seems to be owned by someone else and is currently up for offers. I assume some frantic behind-the-scenes negotiation is going on!

The last of the three UK directories is the 'new kid on the block'. Writer's Market UK comes from David & Charles and is edited by Caroline Taggart. The 2009 edition was published back in April this year at a slightly cheaper price of 8.99 UKP on Amazon.co.uk. It weighs in at an impressive 976 pages.


I bought Writer's Market UK for the first time this year, and was impressed by what I found. The presentation is more attractive than either of the two rival guides, who will have to start looking to their laurels. There are nearly 100 pages of articles on most aspects of writing, as well as a particularly wide range of publishing houses. There is a also a good selection of writing websites.

One thing I found a little bit confusing was that some magazines were listed under Publishers - so having looked for, and failed to find, the details for Readers Digest under Magazines, I fortuitously discovered them later under Readers Digest Association in the Publishers section. To be fair, I could have looked up Readers Digest in the index at the back of the book and found it there, but at the time I assumed it just wasn't listed.

Buyers of Writers Market UK also get a one-month free trial of their online service at http://www.writersmarket.co.uk/. After that, I assume you have to pay, but despite my best efforts I haven't been able to find out what they charge.

These are all excellent guides, but my overall recommendation goes to Writer's Market UK at the moment. When The Writer's Handbook 2009 comes out, with its promised free website, that may also be worth considering. The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook is slightly behind the other two in my view, but if your interests also extend to photography and art, it may nevertheless be your best choice.

Labels: , , ,

3 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

Just a little aside - a friend of mine went to see Barry Turner, the editor of The Writer's Handbook, give a talk last year. Apparently Mr Turner was wearing a bright yellow suit to match the cover of the Handbook. Full marks for branding there!

1:07 PM  
Anonymous neil the freelancer said...

Hi Nick

I'm a freelancer and I've only ever used the library's copy of the WAYB, very occasionally. I'm just wondering what these guides offer that the Internet can't, besides a bit more convenience?

11:51 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Neil
Some people prefer to have a real-life book in their hand, and it can be more convenient for browsing and getting ideas. But equally directories go out of date very quickly. Most directories nowadays have an online version as well, and I suspect that in the coming years sales of the hard copy versions will decline.

12:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home