Thursday, August 4, 2011

Writing Magazines and Why You Should Read Them

If you want to write and you don't think you can get all the info yourself through trial and error or from the experiences of your friends, you need to check out the writing magazines in your country (Ireland and UK share most magazines). These magazines are not only a good read, and they not only provide work for writers, they contain information across genres and formats that writers can afford to miss. As well as that, there are valuable submission opportunities in the pages of many writing magazines that would likely get lost among the years-old search results Google spews out every now and then (it's not their fault those pages are still popular!)

In the UK and Ireland, the two magazines that stick out for me on the shelves are Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum. While the former is my favourite of the two, WF does have it's benefits, especially given the fact that editors take different directions each month and have different writers. Even if both magazines covered the same topics, most of the time the writers will be saying a lot of different things that readers can make use of.

Unfortunately, the latest issues of both magazines had the same sort of articles on women's magazines. The market for women's writing is stronger but more competitive, and both magazines focused on the decline in magazines accepting short stories. There's not much else you can say on that, except for the writers to offer advice on submitting to the remaining magazines - and identifying what they want!

Both magazines also offer features on using the Internet as a writer. For Writers' Forum, Alison Baverstock occasionally takes up the position, but not every month. Baverstock's articles are also limited to a page most of the time, so they're more of an overview than anything else. Over the past few months, Rebecca Woodhead has been taking over two-three pages of Writing Magazine with in-depth guides on how to use Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook and more; each network is divided by issue, making them valuable and still short guides to these sites. For these guides, WM is the one to look for. (As a side note, Baverstock does have three excellent books to check out, on publishing, marketing and whether or not you have a book in you).

If you can spare the money - £3.60 for WF and £3.75 for WM, though it's longer and has more submission opportunities - these magazines are worth getting from the shop. If you want to subscribe but can't afford both, your best bet is to look at an issue of both and pick one after seeing how you like the writers and the content. Couldn't be simpler.

And, just in case you're wondering if you've read Rebecca Woodhead's articles: yes, I did use her tips to make my website, set up my Facebook page and set up my LinkedIn profile. The only thing I haven't done is a book trailer. I think I'm missing the word "yet" from there. Whatever the case, they were in-depth enough to teach me almost everything I need to know about using the different sites, and that's just one reason to go looking for these magazines. (There's also the tips from different writers on all genres and, in WF, a magazine-submission guide for different topics each issue: Law magazines, Religious magazines, Parenting magazines; consider what you want to do as a writer, then see which magazine is most helpful to you!)

No comments: