Friday, March 23, 2012

Three Mags

Since I haven't bought any writer mags in a while I thought I'd invest in a couple and see if they'd gotten any better or worse.

The March/April 2012 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine features a guide to writers retreats, how to choose the best residency, expert application advice, writing adventures and inspirational destinations. If you're lit and into it I imagine it's a great issue; I don't travel so it was wasted on me. I did find a bigger selection of no-fee sub ops (the best of which I posted yesterday) and there is an excellent article by author Maura Kelly on writer envy that should be required reading for anyone who can't kill their green-eyed monsters.

The April 2012 issue of The Writer Magazine had more appeal for the working writer with a section called The Fiction Answer Book that had some good advice, particularly for new writers. I also liked an excellent article featuring twenty ways to get instant writing motivation by Luc Reid; I may try some of these myself the next time I'm feeling like dodging my writing space. I was disappointed to see the Markets section had been devoted to conferences and workshops and offered sub op info for only four food magazine markets. There were also far too many first-person/my writing journey pieces packed in one issue.

I haven't bought an issue of Writer's Digest in fifteen years; this because back when I was unpubbed and clueless I responded to one of their ads that resulted in me nearly being swindled by Edit Ink. Their March/April 2012 issue reassured me that I have not missed much. Charles J. Shields has some decent advice on how to research like a pro, and the tri-authored "Mastering Voice" section was interesting even while I didn't agree with most of it (granted, voice is probably the toughest topic in the writing world to nail down.) I also enjoyed reading the long interview with author Mary Kay Andrews, enough that now I'll probably buy one of her books now. The rest of the content was either shilling Writer's Digest products, promoting Writer's Digest contests, or peddling the same old content dressed up with the same old carnival barker hoopla(Learn from the Pros! Secrets of Success! Transform Your Fiction!) Tiresome, really.

I think I'll look around the internet for some decent low- or no-cost e-zines. Does anyone subscribe to or hang out at any place online that they can recommend as a decent market/info/how-to resource for working writers? Please let us know in comments.

9 comments:

  1. I don't buy the mags much these days. I get info from a mysriad of sources online (blogs, twitter, specific sites). The mags can be fun & useful at times, for sure, but they should only be one source/option for an aspiring author, not the only or main) source of news & info.

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    1. The internet is my primary source of info, too, Jill. I'd love to see more sites like Ralan.com with market info, one for each genre.

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  2. Anonymous10:01 PM

    I've found Magical Words to be a wonderful online resource for SF/F writers, with daily posts by pros in the field. There's no market info there, but I find it an invaluable resource for writing advice and encouragement. www.magicalwords.com

    -- Julia

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    1. Julia, the link you posted led to a domain-for-sale site, but I did find a Magical Words site at http://www.magicalwords.net/

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  3. Zella Rees wrote:

    I like to read them so I can stay current, and to gather all the knowledge possible. Some are a hit, some are a miss, but I have a subscription to each for a pretty low cost.

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    1. (I'm reposting this comment by Zella as I accidentally deleted the original.)

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    2. I think Poets & Writers is worth the subscription cost for literary writers, or anyone who goes after contests and grants. The Writer used to be pretty great, but now not so much -- it's becoming more like Writer's Digest these days.

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  4. You can usually tell who a magazine is written for by looking at the ads.

    The ads in most of these magazines are either get-rich-quick schemes, probably aimed at those who think that all they need to do is write a book then put a down payment on a yacht while waiting for a fortune to head their way, or the ads are from dream parasites who scam authors who want to be published.

    The best blog on writing I can recommend is "Mystery Writing is Murder." http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com

    Yes, it's aimed at mystery writers, but the articles are always excellent, and Elizabeth S. Craig's weekly list of writing articles from all over the web is incredible.

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  5. Oh, and Elizabeth's Craig's site also has a link to her Writer's Search Engine where authors can find all kinds of articles specifically for authors.

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