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3. Everything / Arts and Entertainment / Books & Literature / Publishing
The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook
First published in 1906, The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (currently on its 100th edition) is a guide and reference book for writers in the UK1, revised, updated and published every August by A and C Black. The modern editions have striking red covers, on which is emblazoned the name of the book, the year it will become outdated (ie, a 2007 edition will be published in 2006) and a quote or two from famous authors testifying to its usefulness. It runs to about 800 pages, divided into thirteen categories.
All this information is accurate to the 100th edition of the Yearbook.
Every section usually has a number of articles on the relevant subject, along with exhaustive listings. It is the listings that the book is really valued for, giving prospective authors and illustrators the addresses to which they can send their works and hope for positive replies. The articles will usually give advice on aspects of publishing, whether this be sending the book, script, poem or artwork in the first place, or helping to market it when it is eventually published.
The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook now sells over two million copies worldwide, and has even spun off into two additional volumes - the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and the Poetry Writers' Yearbook.
The first Yearbook was published in 1906, and was an 80-page booklet, with information on seven literary agents and 89 publishers. It cost one shilling.
Lists of contacts for illustrators were added, and later for photographers. In 1914 the first articles were included. Despite paper shortages, it continued to be published throughout both World Wars, and 1978 saw the debut of the now standard cherry-red cover. The most recent addition, a foreword, was introduced in 1998.
Getting Hold of a Yearbook
The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook has a cover price of fourteen pounds ninety-nine pence, and is available in most bookstores. However, wannabe writers and artists are renowned for being penniless, and fifteen pounds every year can weigh heavily on a writer's income.
Yearbooks are usually available from the larger libraries. Be warned that you will not be able to borrow or order them, but you will certainly be allowed to read them within the confines of the library. Take a paper and pencil or a palmtop for notes. The Yearbook can usually be found behind a desk, nestling beside the Thesaurus and the Who's Who. You may have to ask someone to take it down for you. The age of the copy will depend on the library.
As the book comes out every year, second-hand bookshops are usually full of out-of-date copies that you can take home cheaply. If you know a richer wannabe writer or artist, or indeed a successful one, you might perhaps ask to borrow their old copy when August rolls around. The publishers and literary agents are unlikely to have changed addresses, though some of the staff may have moved on - check by letter, phone or email before sending off a submission.
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