What are Literary Markets?

Literary market is the broad umbrella term for the venues in which a writer can submit, sell, and have a piece of their creative work published.

A literary market refers to the specific audience that the sales of your work will be directed towards. Generally, a literary market is indicated by the genre of your work, and the audience in your work is best suited for. For example, in terms of short stories the main literary markets are literary magazines, anthologies, contests, and non-literary publications that feature short stories.

Literary markets vary greatly, therefore it is important to clearly identify and research the specific market that your work will fit into. There are a wide variety of options that a writer has when considering potential literary markets.

  • Online publishing, electronic books. Recently, online publishing has become a viable market for writers of almost all genres. A writer now has the option to have their many works published and made available in an electronic format. Magazines (called e-zines), novels and textbooks alike are all being published online.
  • Literary magazines and journals. These magazines often print a variety of works that largely focus on specific genres and deal with works that are of a literary nature such as short stories, poetry, and essays.
  • Traditional print publishers. Not all publishers are the same. Before contacting a potential publisher do some research, as not all publishers will deal with all genres, most specialize.
  • Newspapers and other periodicals. Newspapers and periodicals are a very specific type of literary market, dealing almost entirely in articles.

Navigating literary markets

  • Identify the specific market(s) in which your works fit into to better target where and to whom you ought to sell your works.
  • Research libraries, bookstores, or industry magazines, to see how literary works are classified. 
  • Attend literary conventions and conferences for industry information and contacts. 
  • Read books of a similar genre to help you identify your work’s niche within the market.
  • Not all publishers deal with all genres of writing. Make sure you know where you are sending your work.
  • Most often literary markets consist of print, magazine, literary journals, books, online magazines, or e-books. 
  • Talk to your local writer’s group or the publisher as they may be able to help you identify any potential markets. 


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