Review: LDS Writer’s Market Guide 2010

Mormon Media Market (1981)
Mormon Media Market (1981)

When I was a student at BYU some enterprising student published a hardcover guide titled The Mormon Media Market, which followed the model of the Writer’s Digest annual guide Writer’s Market (now the subject of numerous spin-offs and copy-cat works). I thought at the time that this was a good idea, although it was clear from the content in the book that there wasn’t much of a market.

That has changed in the more than 20 years since that guide was published, and WindRiver Publishing is proving it, with the second (2010) edition of its LDS Writer’s Market Guide – 2010.

In my career in Book Publishing, I’ve become acquainted with many guides and reference works for the U.S. book industry, including tools like Literary Market Place, and Publishers, Distributors and Wholesalers of the United States. As near as I can tell, both the 1981 Mormon Media Market and this most recent guide were modeled after Writer’s Digest. That’s probably a good thing; writers are the largest group in the market, and the least likely to have all the knowledge they need .

WindRiver’s LDS Writer’s Market Guide is a credit to the need for this kind of a reference work. Its coverage is excellent, with listings covering not only the typical things authors need (publishers, agents, contests, conferences, professional organizations and associations and professional services), but also peripheral and industry listings that aren’t normally what the author has to worry about (self-publishers, book reviewers, bookstores and libraries). The number of listings is impressive: 51 publishers, 14 reviewers, 23 magazines, 34 contests, 17 professional organizations and associations and 214 bookstores.

One reason for the breadth of the listings is that there is no fee to be listed, no membership to be purchased to participate, so there is nothing to dissuade anyone from participating. As a result, the listings here are more complete than those elsewhere, and as a result, more useful.

I should mention that this work is by no means perfect. There are places where it is sometimes difficult to tell how “Mormon” a listing is, or even how it is different from others in its category. A few listings simply don’t have information other than the name and address of the company. I think some categories could be either sub-divided, or listed with more detailed types (for example, Archive Publishers is a reprint publisher, so authors probably won’t want to submit to them, while Zarahemla is a literary publisher, less likely to take genre works). And some authors will decry the omission of some widely-used organizations, such as the vanity publisher Lulu.

Still, it takes only a minute to realize that no reference book is ever complete, or categorized the way that we need it. I’m sure that with an increase in popularity and with additional time, this guide can improve significantly.

In the mean time, it is still an excellent tool for those who work in and with the LDS market.

19 thoughts on “Review: LDS Writer’s Market Guide 2010”

  1. Th., it only comes out every 2 years and while I originally applied to be listed, I declined when they called to confirm since we have limited openings and a full list for the next few years.

  2. MoJo, then I think that your view of what this book is all about is flawed.

    Given how difficult it is for customers to find LDS books that don’t fit the DB list requirements, I think you should want to be listed in anything that will give a bit more attention to your effort and books.

  3. Well, that is possibly true, I’ll admit. Right now, I’m kind of struggling where I want to go at all and the description I had given them when I applied didn’t, well, apply anymore.

  4. .

    And rumor has it that Peculiar Pages will be the best thing to be associated with since the Council of Fifty, so don’t miss out.

  5. What I would like to see is an online version that is updated, say, quarterly, and you could pay a subscription for.

  6. .

    I think you’re still in the minority there, MoJo. Most people still aren’t quite willing to pay for online content, or so it seems from here.

  7. Oh, I don’t know, Th. I mean, it only takes one person to say something that an idea takes hold. I’d be willing to bet it either A) hasn’t been thought of or B) the idea didn’t make it around to enough people to make a decision that way.

    Say you set up the little directory website, right? And you charge a little less for access than you do the paper book. Then you just charge, maybe $5 or $10/year for quarterly or semi-annual updates.

    If the book only comes out every 2 years, I think it’d be a good solution for a lot of people, especially in these precarious publishing times when we’ve got renegade publishers and their off-the-wall offerings. As POD technology gets easier and e-books catch on, there will be more. In 2 years, the size of that book could double.

  8. .

    What about Writers Digest? Its online version didn’t get off to a great start. How’s it doing now?

  9. I think that’s comparing apples to oranges. This is a 2-year LDS-only compilation. Some of the stuff in it isn’t easily googled, so an online version would be a good resource–

    –unlike Writer’s Digest, where there are online directories of agents and publishers for free, and you can actually bypass Writer’s Digest completely if you wanted to.

    I think there’s enough of a difference in what information is offered that it’s a viable option for this whereas not for Writer’s Digest.

  10. Mojo (11), I think JB would have to weigh in on whether this is even possible. The impression I have is that updating the database only happens once every couple years. You’re talking about JB’s people updating the database quarterly. That’s as much as 8 times the work for them. On that basis, I don’t know if JB would be willing to do it, no matter how much he charged for subscriptions.

    It would be nice, though.

  11. The impression I have is that updating the database only happens once every couple years.

    Yes, I know. Which is why I think an online listing would be of benefit to them ($$) and those who might use it.

    And really, 8x the work? I doubt it. To insert a few new (unsolicited) addresses every 6 months? Really?

  12. MoJo (17), I think the work is a bit more effort than you are implying. Believe it or not, the listings in the book also need to be checked to make sure that they don’t need to be removed because they are no longer valid.

    For example, there were 235 Booksellers listings in the 1st edition, but only 214 in the new edition. Do you really think any of the 21 bookstores no longer listed notified JB’s people when they went out of business?

    The only way that you can maintain accuracy is to do some kind of check of all the listings before publishing each edition.

    That sounds to me like a lot of work.

  13. .

    Well, you could do it on a cycle. Check a quarter of the listings per six months or something. Include on the site when the info was last verified. Not so bad.

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