Scouring the Markets: The Yam Method

magazine stand1We left the last post with a discussion of Sweet Potatoes and their penchant for Streamlined Production and marketing research.

Today’s discussion is about Yams, those who graze among the markets without necessarily having an audience or topic in mind.

This buffet aficionado is more relaxed about marketing and about writing within single markets.

The Yam Method

This writer is called a grazer because she enjoys working in multiple genres. One simply isn’t big enough to contain either her interests or her attention for any length of time. She might also prefer to work in short snatches on a topic or on frequent short pieces per work cycle.

The Yam seeks diversity and thrives on it. She looks for those markets and projects which help her grow as a writer. She might like the thought of fame and fortune, but her goal is more grounded in the pleasure of the work.

Yams write ahead of the curve, or laterally, on a regular basis. They don’t need an immediate market to craft an article, story, or creative non-fiction piece. Poets write whenever they have a spare moment to create verse. Having a specific market when they begin isn’t necessarily important to them.

To write whatever sparks one’s fancy is the grazer’s MO. After a piece has gone through the rough draft and first revision, the Yam will think about where she can find a new home for it. Creating something for someone else’s pleasure is her immediate goal. Secondary to that goal is placing the piece in question with a publisher.

Researching markets is an absorbing pastime for the Yam. Markets are gleaned from many sources, which have little to do with lists, though those do come into the mix periodically. Instead, contacts with other writers, poets, and editors or newsletters and forums augment information gained from frequent trips through the ether zone.

To look at the finished projects waiting for placement by the Yam is to see dozens of stories, articles, poems, chapbooks, novel outlines, etc. The project list might contain as many as six or seven genres. Some will be for literary journals, others for sci-fi online magazines, and still others for women’s features, children’s magazines, or travel.

The grazer is always on the look-out for a new marketplace. When a friend mentions that they just placed a piece with a publication, the grazer will take note of the market and look at the submission guidelines and the needs of that publication. If the magazine or journal, website or publisher looks promising, she will add it to her personal list of possible markets for projects she has in her pipeline. In this way, the Yam develops a comfortable list she can write to regularly. Most of all, she never has to conform to a solitary niche and lose the flexibility of writing in several genres.

Which Has Better Flavor?

Sweet Potatoes are tenacious writers, writing to the market. Yams, on the other hand, write and then find someone who wants what they have. Like all industries, publishing is one based on supply and demand. The writer is the supplier, the publisher has the demand.

A new factor has evolved, called the internet, and POD, along with Kindles, Nooks, and tablets are changing markets. Readers can download short stories, articles, poetry, essays, and just about anything else to read. They use their smartphones, iPads, and other devices. This new market opportunity helps fiction writers, especially, to gain readers by selling to mobile publishers like Ether Books and Alfie Dog Fiction.

How a writer researches her markets isn’t as important as finding a market that fits how she writes. Whether narrow and focused, or broad and general, writers must find markets if they want to sell their words. The method they use to be successful takes second place to getting the job done. There is no right or wrong way, merely a personal choice.


Are you a Yam marketer? How do you find markets for your writing? Share your tips in the comments below.





2 comments for “Scouring the Markets: The Yam Method

  1. October 15, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I’m a poet so a yam I am! That said, sometimes the lure of a contest will tempt me to write to the tune of a specific market, but that rarely works out well!

  2. October 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I know that feeling, fellow Yam. I, too, tend toward verse many times. My personal list of markets gathers new entries through watching recommended markets from poet friends. Most of the verse-slingers I know eagerly share their poem credits, which works to give me a look at the venue and someone to give it a thumbs up or down for the experience of working with that market.

    I write verse when I’m inspired, it’s true, but, writing toward a theme or specific subject is good practice for readying for contests. They, too, have been worthy challenges toward growth.

    Glad you stopped by and sat down on the Yam bench.

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