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Tilly
11-09-2006, 03:35 PM
I often steal borrow Myslexia from my sister, but someone recently leant me a writing magazine I hadn't read before, and it's an issue from about a year ago. After reading it I wondered how many dodgy writing myths come from writing magazines.

Some of the articles were good and helpful, but one in particular about self-publishing stood out as worrying. The author has self-published her novel, and in the article she wrote about the unpublished gems in publishers' slushpiles, the importance of internet marketing, and from what I could gather, she's not sending books for review until the book is published. What she wrote was very much at odds with what I've read from people who are, in one way or another, involved in the publishing industry. The very fact that she was advocating self-publishing fiction made me uneasy. To be fair, this seems to be one of a series of articles on self-publishing, so perhaps the others have been better. And I wish this author every success, but she also mentioned that journalists had been interested in the fact that she'd remortgaged her house to pay for publication.

I don't read many writing magazines, is this sort of thing common? How useful do you think writing magazines are?

KTC
11-09-2006, 03:48 PM
Someone who is remortgaging her house to pay for self-pubishing needs to be put on meds, in my opinion. Of course she's going to write about it favourably if she's doing it. Every argument has people on both sides of the fence. I'd have to have a gun pressed to my head before I self-published anything more than a chapbook...but to each his own. Maybe the magazine was trying to be unbiased and has published arguments for both camps of the self-publishing war?

Tilly
11-09-2006, 03:56 PM
Maybe the magazine was trying to be unbiased and has published arguments for both camps of the self-publishing war?

Quite possibly, I only have the one issue, so overall it could be pretty well balanced.

Momento Mori
11-09-2006, 04:01 PM
Tilly:
someone recently leant me a writing magazine I hadn't read before, and it's an issue from about a year ago.

That wouldn't be a magzing with 'W' and 'F' in the title by any chance? I used to buy that before I finally clued in to the fact that it pushes self-publishing - a lot of the advertising space seems to be taken up by self-publishing outfits or vanity publishers and there were a lot of articles about how to market self-published books or interviews with 'successful' self-publishers.

[Note: I am not knocking self-publishing by any means as it can be v. successful - but when a magazine is clearly operating in the self-publishing interest it raises serious questions about the editor's intentions]


Tilly:
I don't read many writing magazines, is this sort of thing common? How useful do you think writing magazines are?

I read a number of writing magazines including Myslexia and Writing Magazine - they have some interesting and thought provoking articles, but there's a lot of puff in there as well.

To be honest, I'm coming to the conclusion that writers would be better off reading short story publications (both because it helps to improve the market and it helps show you the sort of quality you need to get published) and reading something like the Times Literary Supplement (given that it has articles about the market and what's going on) or book review supplements in the quality papers as they do get you thinking about writing.

I think the problem with writing magazines is that by their nature they can't go into detail with particular themes, so you often get a superficial article or something that's mainly opinion and when you're paying 3.50 per month for one, I think it's better value to either buy an actual novel (again - it shows you the kind of quality you need to be producing) or even a self-help books (because it's something you can keep on your shelf and dip into now and again as you need).

KTC
11-09-2006, 04:04 PM
I don't even bother opening up the writer magazines anymore myself. Their chock full of advertising and I feel like they are just another gimmick for the writer to fall into.

Tilly
11-09-2006, 04:15 PM
That wouldn't be a magzing with 'W' and 'F' in the title by any chance?

Oh lordy, I've seen that one too. This is a different one.
They're read by members of my RL writers' group. Many of the members are very hazy about the differences between, and possible drawbacks of, self-publishing, vanity publishing and commercial publishing. I'm wondering if misleading articles in magazines are partly why.

Shadow_Ferret
11-09-2006, 05:01 PM
They still make writing magazines? I was just in the Barnes and Noble recently and couldn't find one writing magazine, not even Writer's Digest. Nor could I find any magazines with fiction in them. It was a horrifying experience.

I haven't read Writer's Digest since I let the subscription lapse when I was in my early 20s. Up until then I had been a faithful reader for many, many years.

Now on the rare occassion that I pick one up, I tend to see the same articles rehashed that they were writing 35 years ago.

ChaosTitan
11-09-2006, 06:58 PM
They still make writing magazines? I was just in the Barnes and Noble recently and couldn't find one writing magazine, not even Writer's Digest. Nor could I find any magazines with fiction in them. It was a horrifying experience.

I know Borders still carries them, but it took me ten minutes of searching to find them. Bottom shelf, back corner, tucked behind the other "Art" magazines about watercolors and digital photography.

No respect. In a building chock full of the written word, magazines *about* the written word are shoved into a dark corner (not that some don't deserve to be there, but still....).

veinglory
11-09-2006, 07:15 PM
I used to buy a few copies of the two "writers..." title but found that they dod perpetuate myths like poor man's copyright, the push fee charging contests and almost every advertised company or service was a scam. I also looked into the expertise and credentials of the writers and found that a good proportion didn't have any.

Linda Adams
11-10-2006, 06:26 AM
My biggest disappointment with the writing magazines is that when I subscribed, it was because they had articles written by agents or about agents or quoting agents. That's all suddenly disappeared. I don't think I've seen one in more than a year.

And none of that includes the same article that turns about every other issue--the "Do these five things for publishing success " (i.e., cut out adverbs and adjectives) as if magic will happen when you follow those rules.

SeanDSchaffer
11-11-2006, 08:18 AM
I read one of those magazines once, but I've learned more about writing from reading other authors' works, than I have from any writing book or magazine.

That's the one thing I like about reading: not only does it entertain, but it also can teach a great deal about the Craft.

Consequently, I do not read writing magazines all that much. I might read an AW article every now-and-then, but I generally do not read much else in the way of writing mags.