Research Markets: Day 21 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

I hope everyone’s been having fun and learning new stuff and putting it into action this month, but did you know this is actually not the first platform challenge I’ve ever hosted? The first one actually led to the formation of a group on Facebook called Wordsmith Studio, and they’ve recently contacted me to invite everyone from this challenge to like their group on Facebook (and connect with everyone there). Click here to view their group on Facebook.

Research Markets

For today’s platform-building task, research markets for getting your writing published. Of course, I’m going to suggest checking out the latest Writer’s Market, because I edit that book. But there are some other methods to researching markets that don’t involve a trip to the bookstore or library below.

But first, you need to know what you’re researching:

  • Magazines and online publications. Any writer who does shorter form writing (like poems or prose that has fewer than 8,000 words) will want to investigate magazines and online publications as possible places to publish their writing. Unless you write picture books, that is. Some longer form writing may also find a home in publications.
  • Book publishers. For this market, writers need to assemble a book-length work of writing, whether it’s a collection of poetry or short fiction or an entire novel or how-to book.
  • Literary agents. For fiction and nonfiction writers who wish to get published by one of the major publishing houses that only accept agented material, well, literary agents is the way to go. There’s actually a great agent blog on this site hosted by Chuck Sambuchino (check it out).
  • Contests. For some writers, contests is a way to break in. They’ve helped propel many a career, but enter with caution. Many charge entry fees, which can add up quick, and the competition is usually tough. Enter contests that will provide a great deal of visibility if you win and that offer some sort of premium if you enter (like a copy of the winning book or subscription to the magazine). Then, you can still have something even if you don’t win.


Writer's Market Deluxe Edition 2016

Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition 2016

Get the Best Guide to the Markets Available!

The 2016 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition combines the power of print with the power of online to create a power-packed listing research tool of awesomeness!

Seriously, here’s what writers get:

  • Thousands of listings for magazines, book publishers, literary agents, contests, and more!
  • Articles on the business and promotion of writing, covering everything from submissions to taxes and more!
  • Submission Tracker tool that helps writers keep track of submissions.
  • Webinar titled “How to Build an Audience and Business With Your Writing.”
  • One-year subscription to the site.
  • And so much more!

Click to continue.


How Does This Help My Platform?

While platform can help writers find more success with their publishing goals, publishing can help writers increase their platform. Writers who work diligently to get published can create a sort of self-perpetuating platform machine of greatness. This is also why many bestselling authors write and publish several books before they break out.

Remember: Your platform is your reach to your target audience. If your writing is getting published and reaching your target audience, then you’re building your platform.

Quick anecdote: As an editor/blogger, I often feature interviews on my Poetic Asides blog about poets. How do I find my poets usually? Through new books that are published and/or poems that I read in journals/publications. So getting published can help a writers platform in many ways through one act.

What If I Can’t Afford a Market Guide?

I feel you on this one, but in the case of Writer’s Market, there are editions at the local library, I’m sure. Also, you can search on Google, follow markets on social media, and connect with other writers at live and virtual events (like this one).

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you’re taking part in this challenge, I’m assuming there’s a very strong will. Make it happen.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


Catch up on the first three days of the Platform Challenge here:

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108 thoughts on “Research Markets: Day 21 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

  1. ConnieCockrell

    I have the Writer’s Market and it’s a wonderful resource. I know it’s pricey but it’s so worth it.

    Other places to find markets: For stories 1500 words or less.
    Writer’s Groups: I’ve found that just chatting with other authors in my writing groups opens up discovery of markets I’d not heard of before. Markets from Pro to Semi-Pro, Anthologies, Books, Short Stories, Flash fiction, Poetry, and more.

    Hope one of these works for you.

  2. DRZ

    For the past 2 years I’ve gotten the Writer’s Digest market books and literary agent books. I like that they’re so helpful because it’s not just a listing–it includes lots of helpful articles, plus an online membership for a year to the Writer’s Digest Market. I had looked into contests for a while, but they’re often for short stories, which I had started writing a year and half ago….but I realized that the hour a day I had to write was spent on short stories instead of my book. And I don’t want to write short stories. I want to write a book. Limited time! In this case, beggars must be choosers.

  3. Cindy

    Trying to get back in the swing of things again. The last couple days have been really hard. We lost my Sister-in-law to breast cancer in March of 2012 for 43 yrs she was like my sister and she is so missed. My best friend now has breast cancer on Oct 21 the doctor did a partial mastectomy and removed some lymph node to test to make sure the cancer did not spread. Praying and worrying for friend brought back the sadness and heartache for my sister-in-law. I am praying that my friend will be cancer free now.

    I found and I also went to the library and borrowed the writers market. When person has no extra money to spend one must improvise. The library is free and usually has what one needs, even writers events.

  4. Northside Girl

    References I have for my writing:
    2012 The Christian Writer’s Market Guide
    2013 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition
    2015 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Guide
    Subscription to Writer’s Digest
    Writer’s groups I belong to provide references: Gulf Coast Writers Organization (FL), American Christian Fiction Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Children’s Book Insider,
    and the list goes on. I will check out the links you provided here. Thanks.

  5. Sherlock

    Writer’s Market has been my writing Bible for years but there are often other online resources that will give you a few markets. I write magazine articles and have found that researching the type of magazines that do the articles I write is often beneficial. Most editors will be happy to send you the writer’s guidelines for their magazines if they are not already available online. Just remember to be polite and thank the editor because you might be querying them later!

  6. azlatic

    My 2015 Writer’s Market is well-worn. It was my first, and I found it incredibly helpful. I also created a list of potential agents, once my book is finished, based on a Pitch Madness session on Twitter (#pitmad). That was useful in that agents themselves were tweeting EXACTLY what they are looking for. I’ve read over and over again that you should submit your work only to publications you have read, so that you know if it’ll be a good “fit.” The problem becomes self-esteem at that point. Those published authors are incredible, and I feel discouraged about even submitting after I read them.

  7. randinha

    Well, this dovetails nicely with my previous plans for the day: to research other poetry contests!

    I have a question about Writer’s Market, though. Assuming that literary magazines are “Consumer Publications,” how do I interpret the subject categories? I’m frustrated with the subject categories in the online search forms. (My paper edition is thousands of miles away.)

  8. Diane Holcomb

    For my short story, I’ve been reading the Pushcart Prize Best of the Small Presses collections to find stories similar to mine, and see where they were published. Excellent collection of short stories!

    Duotrope is a good site to find extensive listings for writers:

    Poets and Writers have contests and submission listings:

    The Review Review is a great site for literary magazines;

  9. Majida

    Thanks to Wordsmith Studio for inviting us to join them. Since coming to the US I have participated in an essay competition and Writer’s Digest’s short story competition. In the past I got things published when I had time besides my full time job. I came to the US about two months ago I am thinking of focusing on writing after my morning job. Every participants in 2015 October Platform Challenge is so engrossed in writing so perhaps the websites I am going to share may seem too naive. Nevertheless I thought of sharing them. – Kore Press focuses on women’s writing

    I find Poets & Writers’ website useful: – This has a variety of contest; some with not fee, some others have only $5 fee. As a woman I think about it this way. How much do I spend on cosmetics and other make up products? Also how many times we buy things on impulse? It’s worth setting aside some money for contests. Occasionally spending money to enter a contest could be okay. After all writing enriches our soul.

    Oh, and Chuck’s blog is useful. I came across his blog about two years ago and have approached some of the agents based on their interviews Chuck shared on his blog.

  10. mebond

    I often read the Guide to Literary Agents blog. I have the 2015 Writer’s Market, so I spent some time looking through it this evening, and found a magazine I might try submitting a non-fiction article to.

  11. lmurban20

    I do plan submit an entry to writers digest poetry awards.
    And boy, that wordsmith page on Facebook definitely sounds interesting. I think I’ll check that out as well.

  12. clarkatniles

    I know I want to buy a Writers Guide at some point, but my book is so far from being finished that I’m waiting until I’m closer to the finish line so that the information will be as current as possible. In the meantime, I have a lot of notes from seminars, websites, etc. about self-publishing that I need to go through.

  13. G Hesslau Magrady

    This challenge reminded me to renew my magazine memberships! Whenever I get a monthly writing magazine in the mail, I hold it to the weekend and bring it to the coffee shop on a Saturday morning. It’s a perfect “me” moment!

  14. Lauren Walker

    I “liked” Wordsmith Studio and sent out a tweet this morning, encouraging others to check out #wschat. Thanks for that connection, Robert.

    Near the start of this challenge, it just seemed a natural fit to start checking out magazines that I am interested in targeting and contests to consider in the new year. I’d even started making a six month calendar to follow to target a few contests throughout the year. I need to do more in this area and will, but again, glad that my line of thinking is not off course. 🙂 I am checking this one off my list as DONE as it is an ongoing exercise. I will certainly purchase WD Market 2016 soon, as well.

    I found this URL ( of legitimate contests writers may want to check out in 2016. I also like the plethora of info Poets & Writers provides in the way of literary journals and contests to consider, which I believe another person already posted, but bears repeating. 🙂 Last but not least, this site is simply one to purchase magazine subscriptions, but it was great in giving me inspiration and ideas of how I might re-structure some of my articles to pitch to other magazines I hadn’t thought about. Perhaps it will provide similar inspiration.

    Hope these help!
    #platchal peeps…go forth and create!!



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