The 2008 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market (N&SSW) is now out from Writers Digest Books. While I'm of a mixed mind about the book's usefulness in actually submitting to fiction markets, I've decided to recommend it once again for both new and experienced writers.
First, the back story on my mixed recommendation. When I reviewed last year's edition, I mentioned that one problem overtaking the venerable market compilation is that online resources like Duotrope's Digest and Ralan's listing (which is specifically for speculative fiction writers) have overtaken N&SSW by offering free submission information that's more up-to-date than anything a printed book can offer. I especially like Duotrope Digest, which offers an easy-to-use online market and submission database. When I asked N&SSW editor Lauren Mosko if Writer's Digest Books was considering making all of N&SSW's listings available online, she said that "Free market resource sites like Duotrope's Digest are certainly on our radar, but we feel confident Writer's Market will remain the brand writers can trust." Lauren added that they were preparing for the upcoming redesign and relaunch of WritersMarket.com.
So it's now a year later. One very good change is that N&SSW began offering a nice blog, which contains market and other useful writing information. I highly recommend writers check out the blog on a regular basis. In addition, the updated Writersmarket.com has been launched. However, Writersmarket.com remains a subscriber based system which, in my opinion, doesn't offer enough extra information and ability above Duotrope Digest to justify the subscription cost of $29.99 for one year. In addition, purchasing N&SSW doesn't give you access to Writersmarket.com. So when you buy the book you're locked into an already out of date data set, at least with regards to market information.
However, I'm still recommending the market guide because editors Lauren Mosko and Michael Schweer have compiled an amazing collection of articles to aid both beginning or experienced writers. N&SSW once again features in-depth information on writing and submitting in genres such as literary fiction, mysteries, romance, and more; of particular interest to SF/F writers is an informative interview with author Kelly Link and John Joseph Adams' "Speculative Fiction: The Next Generation." For me, the authors interviews are the best part of N&SSW, especially since they give valuable insight into the business side of writing and help writers benefit from the mistakes and successes of others.
So if you're looking for a book which helps you write and submit a compelling story, along with giving useful advice from top authors in all fictional genres, this is a great book to own. But if you're purchasing N&SSW merely for the market listings, I suggest you give N&SSW a pass and move over to Duotrope.