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.