Writing Magazines: Worth the Subscription?

When I decided I was going to start taking myself seriously as a writer, one of the first things I did was subscribe to a writing magazine…because that seemed like something a serious writer would do. So every two months (because a lot of magazines are bi-monthly) I received a magazine that covered subjects about the craft of writing, how to write a query letter, what agents are looking for, the benefits/dangers of self-publishing, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and then there was usually an interview with a famous writer. I learned a lot from reading the articles. So when my subscription ran out I renewed for the next year.

And then I received another year of stories about the craft of writing, how to write a query letter, what agents are looking for, the benefits/dangers of self-publishing, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…oh, and that “riveting” author interview. I put riveting in quotes because there are few things more boring than interviews with writers. Seriously, they’re horrible. They’re the equivalent of interviewing a carpenter about how he built a doghouse. No matter how much you love how the doghouse turned out, you still don’t really care about how it got made.

I think it was about year #3 of my subscription when I learned the truth about writing magazines: They just recycle the same stories and topics over and over and over again. It’s not their fault. There just isn’t that much to say about writing that hasn’t already been said a billion times already. I’ve read how to write a winning query letter about 308 times, the benefits/dangers of self-publishing 247 times, and what agents are looking for 228 times.

So then I subscribed to a different magazine and it was slightly different but after the first year the same thing happened: It just started recycling the same stories again. Every now and then there would be something about the latest trend or shift in the industry that would be new and fresh…and then that topic would be driven into the ground instantly. My favorite is when there’s a story about “12 Agents who are Looking for New Clients Today!” and you start to get excited because there’s an agent looking for clients and your work is EXACTLY what she’s looking for so you type up your PERFECT QUERY and visit the agent’s website only to discover she’s closed to submissions because she’s been inundated by hundreds of other writers who read the article and thought THE EXACT SAME THING AS YOU.

So I guess here’s the bottom line on writing magazines: They’re great for writers just getting started on their writer’s journey but eventually they become repetitive and pointless. Oh, and buy ezine subscriptions so the damn things don’t pile up around your house.

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~ by themoderntranscendentalist on October 30, 2014.

2 Responses to “Writing Magazines: Worth the Subscription?”

  1. Yeah, I bought some of those magazines years/decades ago and came to the same conclusion you did. If I ever become a famous author and get interviewed, I’m going to lie about my personal life to make it more interesting (and then see if anybody notices).

  2. Please do. The lies would be much more entertaining than the mind-numbingly boring truth.

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