Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Writing Magazines

Jean Stevens recently wrote to me asking .... "I wonder if you can help with with a question..... I am currently doing the Writers Bureau course and thought it would also be a good idea to subscribe to a writing magazine. I have a copy of the Writing Magazine and Writers Forum and wondered if you could advise me what to look for when choosing a subscription. I'm struggling to choose so I thought some professional help might assist me."

Now unfortunately, I don't think I was much help, because in my opinion, if you're interested in writing then you should be subscribed to at least one of these magazines if not more. I subscribe to many, but then writing is my profession, and that's a point I want to make. Don't think of these magazines as 'magazines' but as 'trade journals' for your profession. And yes if you make a profit from your writing, you can claim the subscriptions as a legitimate business cost for tax purposes.

Writing is a lonely business, so a regular 'hit' from the writing world can help to keep you up to date with what's going on. Magazines like Freelance Market News and Writers News, clearly contain 'news items' about new magazines, competition details, publishers seeking new material. But the others, Writing Magazine, Writer's Forum, and The New Writer provide a bit of information, along with a vast array of articles passing on hints, tips and writing skills.

There is also another magazine called Mslexia which is written by women for women writers. As a mere man, I wouldn't dream of commenting on such a publication, but the female writers I know certainly speak highly of it.

If you can only afford to subscribe to one magazine, then try to get hold of one copy to look at to see if you like it. Writing Magazine, Writer's Forum, and Mslexia can be bought from high street newsagents. Freelance Market News, The New Writer and Writers News are by subscription only, but contact them to see if you can obtain a sample copy, with a view to taking out a subscription.

With regards to Writers News magazine, this is subscription only, however, if you subscribe to Writing Magazine (found at the newsagents) you get Writers News included in your subscription.

Do you go to a Writer's Circle, or know of a writer friend? if so, why not consider swapping magazines? You subscribe to one, get your friend to subscribe to another, and then when you've read those copies, swap and hey presto - two subscriptions for the price of one!

At the writers circle that I go to, we often swap magazines. Again, it's another way of seeing what's out there before deciding which to subscribe to.

Remember, make a sale of an article or short story and the fee will cover the cost of an annual subscription.

If you can afford to take out at least one subscription, then I would encourage you to do so. It helps to keep you informed about current events in the writing world. And if you think that subscribing to these magazines is expensive, wait until you start writing books like me and have to subscribe to The Bookseller magazine, at £4.40 PER WEEK! Like any subscription, think of it as paying for information - information that could help your career as a writer to develop.

Good luck.