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Writers' & Artists' Yearbook: 100th Anniversary Edition    by A & C BLack order for
Writers' & Artists' Yearbook
by A & C BLack
Order:  USA  Can
A & C Black, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I love Ian Rankin's quote on the cover of this 100th Anniversary Edition of the well-thumbed resource: 'Even established writers can feel as though they're climbing a mountain. Think of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook as your sherpa'. The contributors listed on the back cover of this 'directory for writers, artists, playwrights, writers for film, radio and television, designers, illustrators and photographers' are big names like J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Bernard Cornwall, and Simon Winchester.

In his Foreword, Rankin tells how he used an older version of the yearbook to get published and find an agent. In addition to the major sections on different artistic venues - Newspapers and magazines; Books; Poetry; Television, film and radio; and Theatre - there is coverage of Literary agents; Art and illustration; Picture research; Societies, prizes and festivals; Writers and artists online; Resources for writers; Copyright and libel (I can think of a few authors who should have read this section last year!); and Finance for writers and artists.

The Books section explains what's involved in Getting Started, advises on the Dos and don'ts of approaching a publisher, and lists publishers. There's a useful chapter on Understanding the publishing process for those not in the business, and essays by authors successful in different genres - including Joanna Trollope, Terry Pratchett (who's almost as entertaining here as in his Discworld books), and Mark Billingham - as well as advice from G.P. Taylor on Self-publishing and from Andrew Crofts on Ghostwriting. And any aspiring author must read Alison Baverstock's 'Is there a book in you?', which talks about 10 key resources needed.

There's much more - all of it informative - on marketing, book distribution, recent publishing trends etc.. I found the sections on E-publishing and Electronic Rights very useful. Overall, this yearbook focuses first on the British publishing context, but covers other countries (like the US, Canada, and Australia) as well and offers insightful essays which apply to writers and artists anywhere. Ian Rankin thinks of this Writers' & Artists' Yearbook as a sherpa; to me, such volumes are more like security blankets for the creative process.

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