Every two years, I buy the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook because I carry this ambition to be a writer when I grow up. It is a waste of money, in my view, to fork out for it every year. It is not a perfect reference book and is not always up-to-date but it contains an enormous amount of guidance, ideas and contacts and has helped me gain several commissions over the years. It has taught me a lot, like an old campaigner pointing a rookie in the right direction.
It is a book for browsing and checking, mainly, but it also contains authoritative articles from experienced writers, editors, agents, et al.
I was impressed particularly with and encouraged by "Writing Features for Newspapers and Magazines" by Merope Mills, formerly editor of the Saturday Guardian and its Weekend magazine. She is now the San Francisco-based West Coast Editor of Guardian US.
She gives the beginner/learner sound advice on starting out, ideas, contacting publications, style, money, deadlines and editing.
"No one could accurately predict what shape the industry will take a few years from now, but one thing is for sure: every title needs great writers, ideas and well-written content. But be it for print or online arm of its operation, making the right approach, especially if you are unknown to an editor, is more essential than ever."
Somewhere in the book - I can't find the page right now - I found a site called clippings.me, an online showcase for writers to add links to published work. This is what it looks like: https://www.clippings.me/users/45142
It's another way to self-promote and costs nothing for up to 10 links.
Anyway, enough of this blether, I'm off to write a poetry pamphlet.