3 Things You Need to Know to Market Your Writing

Saturday, May 29, 2021
This market loves me,
 it loves me not.

Not too long after I started yoga, I met another newbie. We laughed when we realized we are both writers. But Kay was shocked when she learned I did work-for-hire. My educational writing is work-for-hire, meaning I get paid a set fee and the publisher owns the copyright.  

“You should self-publish like I do,” Kay said. Her work focuses on personality assessment and group dynamics. She speaks at businesses, churches and women’s groups. Her workshops sell out fast

When I told her that I write for the school library market, Kay laughed. “Just ignore me. Your market would never find you if you self-publish.” 

Finding the right market for your work is tricky. Get it wrong and, even if you find a publisher, your reader isn’t likely to find you. Get it right and you will make a sale and find readers. It’s no wonder we writers often procrastinate about getting our work out there. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to find markets. What types of markets you need to find and where to find them will depend on your answers to these three questions. 

What are you writing? 

A lot is going to depend on what you are writing. Although markets for poetry, essays, and recipes may overlap, there are also going to be separate markets for each. 

The first step in finding markets for your work is identifying what you write both in form and topic. I write library nonfiction. My topics include science, social science, social justice, and current events. If you write sweet romances, you will need a very different set of markets. 

Who is your audience? 

Once you know what you are writing, you also need to figure out who your reader is. In my own work, a piece for teens will be marketed differently than a piece for elementary-aged readers. It may go to the same publisher but a different imprint. 

Is the audience for your sweet romance Christian? Sixteen or 45? BIPOC and/or LGBTQ? An office worker? The answers will once again determine which publishers you look at because while there may be some overlap, it is highly unlikely that a single imprint will cater to each and every one of these readers. 

Where will they look for your work? 

You know what. You know who. Now you need to figure out where. A young reader who is doing a report on mammals or reptiles would look for books on these topics in their school library vs pulling up Amazon to buy the books. 

But a romance reader will look for different stories in different places. My local library has shelves of full-length novels. Readers scan the spines looking for their favorite publishers because they know what to expect in a Harlequin romance vs one from Tule. But what about a quick read that’s more short-story length than novel? That’s more likely to be marketed as an ebook than a print book. 

Finding markets for your work isn’t as tricky as it seems if you know the right questions to ask. Once you know the answers, you’ll know if a market is right for your work and right for you. 


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 27 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.

Her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on June 7, 2021).
Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins June 7, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins  June 7, 2021). 


Jeanine DeHoney said...

Great post Sue on marketing your work.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Thank you!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yep, the who, what, where, Sue, very important stuff. Remember that old song from The Music Man? You gotta know the territory! :-)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I had NOT remembered that one. Good memory!


Margo Dill said...

This is an excellent post with excellent advice! I was nodding my head along with you the whole time! This is just another example of know your audience!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Thank you! These are the things we consider as we query!

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