As a writer and a professor who teaches a class called Writing for Publication, I’ve become quite familiar with the variety of market guides available. These are books that help writers find magazines, presses and websites that may be interested in publishing their work, and in some cases will walk a writer through the entire submission process.
The first book I always introduce my students to is The Writer’s Market published by Writer’s Digest Books. This is a good general publication that is especially useful for non-fiction writers. It has a very extensive listing of magazines that take free-lance submissions and these are organized by topic. It also does a nice job of outlining the submission process, including sample query letters, manuscript format, etc. While it does include listings for creative work, most of these are larger, more inaccessible markets for first-time authors. My personal favorite of the Writer’s Digest Books is the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, which includes listings for high-gloss magazines and major book publishers, but also includes a very nice range of literary magazines, small presses and web publications. It also includes a list of agents who are open to newer writers. There is an equivalent book for poets, called The Poet’s Market, as well as other specialized guides, such as one for children’s writing. Writer’s Market listings are also available by subscription through their website.
The most entertaining market guide may very well be The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses published by Dustbooks. Unlike the Writer’s Market guides, this one does not include major publishers, but essentially begins with the best of the university literary magazines and small presses and works down from there. While not categorized as neatly as the above guides (this one takes some paging through) its listings are often entertaining themselves as editors specify what they do and don’t want. This is a wonderful guide for locating specialized markets, such a women’s issues or gay rights.
The Council of Literary Magazines and Small Presses puts out a market guide listing submission guidelines for their members. These are all small presses and literary magazines, but publications of excellent quality. At the recent AWP Conference, CLMP announced that their market guide will soon be available on-line.
Poets&Writers Magazine is an excellent source for book and magazine publishers looking for submissions and their website contains a searchable listing of publishers and agents and includes information on applying for graduate programs.
Links for the above-mentioned sources are listed below. There are many other magazines and websites, of course, but these are a great place to begin.