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Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, Farewell and Good Riddance

By Lexi Revellian @LexiRevellian
Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, farewell and good riddanceI last thought it essential to possess a copy of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook in 2008. I was no doubt happy to hand over my £14.99 for their 101st edition, believing this was a step towards becoming a published author. Flicking through it now, it strikes me as all rather quaint.

Here's Alison Baverstock, writing a piece on How to attract the attention of a literary agent: "Think not what an agent can do for you, but what you can do for an agent", which is the exact opposite of my advice of what to ask an interested agent: "What can you do for me?" There's all the usual stuff about doing your research, meekly sending exactly what the agent wants, and waiting patiently and not bothering her as the months trail by. It's not called submission for nothing.

Little mention, in 2008, of self-publishing; one article mentions POD, with no suggestions as to how a writer can sell the books once they are printed.

In my copy I see I've turned down corners, crossed out non-fiction agents, and put lines and stars by the possibilities. So much hope: such a complete waste of time, effort, stationery, ink cartridges and stamps.

These days, Writers' & Artists' recognizes that a huge chunk of publishing is self-publishing, and have even got a section offering would-be indie authors advice. Unfortunately they, like most of the large publishers, have done a deal with the devil, Author Solutions (now owned by Random Penguin). A new writer filling in their handy form is very likely to be recommended to use one of the 'self-publishing services' of Author Solutions or one of their alter egos. He will then find himself subjected to a hard sell, and paying thousands of pounds for inferior and useless 'services' he doesn't need or could get cheaply elsewhere. He will end up sadder, wiser, and considerably poorer.

For more detail on W & A's perfidy, see David Gaughran, here.

And my old copy of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2008 is going in the bin where it belongs.

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