There are many institutions in the UK.
Most of these are visited by tourists from all over the world. There are so iconic that people see them in films, television, and on merchandise. As a result, they seem to know every facet of them prior to their visit.
But away from the buildings and throngs of people, there are other institutions in the UK that cannot be defined by a geographical location.
No camera can capture their importance. Nor can any tourist guide bellow out enough rhetoric to encapsulate their true value.
They may come in many shapes and forms but their common denominator is that they have such a resonance with a core group of the population that they have become institutions in their own right.
One such institution of the UK is the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.
1906 First Edition
It started out as just an 80-page booklet when it was first published in London in 1906. Although it only had listings for 7 literary agents and 89 publishers, it became an instant hit with writers and the publishing industry itself.
A Century of Support
As the literary landscape grew, so did the page count. Published every year by A & C Black from 1906 to 2000, it became the defining book for every writer in the UK. It still wielded influence outside of the UK with its international listings, but its predominant focus on UK contacts meant it resonated more with its UK readership.
Throughout an entire century it inspired writers to such an extent that it became more than a reference guide. If an aspiring writer asked a literary agent or publisher for advice on how to become an author, they would invariably be told the very first thing they had to do, was buy the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It was not an option not to own it. It was a prerequisite for pursuing a dream of publication for a writer. Prior to the Internet age, when only reference guides could offer help to a writer, the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook offered it like no other. With thousands of literary agents and publishers listed inside, it was a goldmine of contacts for a writer. Hence, why many referred to it as simply ‘The Book.'
Expanding on its influence, the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook was published in 2004 to focus entirely on the Children's market for the coming year. It too quickly became an integral book for every aspiring Children's writer.
The Internet Age
When the Internet brought a host of websites into the homes of writers, ‘The Book’ lost some of its influence. Writers with little money would trawl websites for the same information online. To counter this, the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook expanded to include help for illustrators and photographers, along with launching its own website in 2007. But Bloomsbury Publishing took the decision to make access to the website exclusive to only those who had bought the print edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, thus limiting itself from a wider online readership.
Fortunately, two years later, they relaunched their website. Every ounce of brilliance and guidance of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook was poured into pixels to produce an innovative website with blogs, advice, and courses. Instead of floundering in the digital age, Bloomsbury Publishing ensured the legacy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook would endure in print and online. Furthermore, they have merged the print with the digital so that they compliment each other to make Writers’ & Artists’ itself a brand. With the website and their social media platforms, they are now able to reach writers across the globe. Consequently, writers outside of the UK can now see why their UK colleagues revere the work of Writers' & Artists' so much.
There is no doubt as to the importance and legacy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. For over hundred years it has been the Bible for countless writers. A book they could depend upon. A book to inspire them to persevere with their dream to be published.
It has been responsible for the careers of so many authors - writers who would have previously quit or not known who to query and how.
The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook is a UK institution that will continue to inspire and help writers for generations.