How Big Is the Market?

The market for writers to sell their work to is constantly changing, but understanding your place is more important than grasping its scale.

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How big is the market? It varies, it truly does. I could give you a figure right now and by the time I’ve pressed ‘send’ the numbers would have shifted up or down by a fraction. Nevertheless, there are around a thousand newspapers and magazines in the UK, some published daily, some weekly and others monthly. If you expand the definition of ‘market’ to include any or all paying independent publishers of semi-pro ’zines and other small-presses, you could probably add another few hundred or so to that number. The book market is even bigger, numbering some 40,000 new titles each year across all subject in a wide variety of literary territories. If you then include markets in other countries, particularly the USA, Canada and Australia, you can pretty much triple that number. Nowadays, it’s equally possible to make money writing for the online marketplace, with opportunities for journalists, bloggers, authors and contributing editors to create paid content for vast, info-hungry audiences who often hit entertainment and lifestyle websites in the hundreds of thousands each day.

So how can you, a prospective author, possibly know where to send your work? Well, the answer is deceptively simple. In order to make sure you’re totally familiar with the ever expanding marketplace, you need to quickly determine your own place in it. Check out this list: it seems very basic… but if you can answer the questions on it, you’re going to be able to target your work a whole lot more accurately.

What are you intending to write?

What’s the subject?

What audience are you seeking?

If you have a particular reader in mind, what is their age and gender? What are their interests?

Are you trying to emulate the work or style of a particular author or series? If so, who represents them? Who publishes their work?

David Grimstone (David Lee Stone) from Ramsgate is a bestselling author of series fiction for Disney USA, Penguin USA and Hodder UK.

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