Resource Review: Publishers Marketplace
Publishers Marketplace—a goldmine for market research
Let's start with a quick summary for anyone wondering what Publishers Marketplace actually is. This website is primarily famous for tracking and listing the majority of book deals signed in the mainstream publishing market. Each deal is announced alongside relevant details such as the size of the author's advance, the agent who signed the book, the publisher/imprint, along with a summary.
While PubMarket is primarily intended as a resource for publishers and literary agents, it is also a goldmine for authors who want a better understanding of the current market—what is selling, what isn't, and where might your manuscript fit into all this frenzy?
All of this lovely information comes in daily reports, and membership also includes a newsletter subscription. More on that in a bit.
What's even better than the newsletter and daily reports is the historical data from past reports. For example, you can search the announcements of past publishing deals for keywords that relate to your manuscript, making it quick work to determine what titles similar to your own have sold in the last few years.
The world is still waiting for the next groundbreaking and genre-busting novel to turn storytelling on its head, but in the meantime, it's still valuable for any writer to know exactly what the book market is gobbling up.
Can you find a literary agent on Publishers Marketplace?
Yes and no. Unless you have a direct referral or you met a particular agent at a conference, you will need to take the path of the query quest. For that, your best tool is QueryTracker.
However, Publishers Marketplace can still be a great resource for getting to know what a particular agent is into. Maybe you've written an alternate-earth spy novel. It's well worth a peek to see if a particular agent is keen on speculative thrillers.
Also, PubMarket includes a database of literary agents and sales—with representation records for nearly thirty thousand authors. There is also a contacts section with information on how to reach thousands of agents and publishing editors. (Though I would argue QueryTracker is still the superior tool in this regard.)
Is Publishers Marketplace worth it?
Gone is the free trial. However, PubMarket now offers a Quick Pass for $10 that gets you twenty-four hour access or a maximum of fifty page views, whichever comes first. That can be more than enough for the research needs of many authors.
For ongoing access, a full membership costs $25 and includes a subscription to the Publishers Lunch newsletter. Here's a list of all the benefits of membership.
How to best use Publishers Marketplace
There are two main ways this resource can be of benefit to writers and authors. First: targeted research. Find out what deals have been made in the last few years that are similiar to your own manuscript. Review sales results at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Cross reference bestseller lists.
Second: following the trends. Reviewing the daily deals and reading the Publishers Lunch newsletter will, bit by bit, teach you about what the market is doing, what it isn't doing, and where your work might fit into the bigger picture.