Friday, 28 September 2012

Magazine Fillers...

All writers eventually get to a stage when they feel they are good enough to make some money from their writing. Sadly that isn't as easy to do nowadays.

While I continue to get on with the fiction, I thought I'd start looking at fillers-writer friends had earned varying sums over the years, so I decided to see what was out there that I might be able to submit to...

But it looks, like unsolicited fiction, that the opportunities are reducing (as far as the regular weekly magazines are concerned).

I've yet to look at the specialist magazines, so there may be some openings there.

Just like book publishers' imprints, the best known magazines that you'll see on the newsagent shelves will be part of a big group and produce a variety of magazines.

Bauer, for example, produce 'Take A Break', 'TV Choice' and 'Spirit and Destiny' alongside 'Take A Break's Take A Puzzle' magazine.

IPC Media have 76 different magazines from 'Chat' to 'Horse and Hound' and even the 'Woman's Weekly Fiction Special'.

Every year magazines start up, and unless they've got a lot of financial support to back them, they will struggle, and many will close.

So it's not surprising that in tough financial times magazines have cut back.

Previously employed journalists have lost their jobs and moved to freelancing.

The magazines have glossy websites with loyal readers that can contribute to online forums for those who sign up- be it fashion, cookery or life, there will be free content.

Magazines that were once very conventional moved toward the celebrity obsessed end of the market, and also embraced real life stories - 'my husband was an alien bigamist' (I know this example is daft but I don't want to offend people) but you know the sort of stories I mean.

So today I bought a 'bundled' magazine- this is where more than one magazine is sold with another, and cheaper than if you bought both separately.

I got 'Prima' with 'Best' and a 2013 Calendar with seasonal bakes each month, and a booklet of money-saving vouchers ( a number requiring you to spend money to get the 20% discount). Plus free eye gel which you have to send off for by post and pay postage for it to be sent to you...

In Prima Extra, a section at the back of the magazine you can find a few money making fillers. Wise Words can win you £25, but you need to visit the Prima Facebook page for the latest Wise Words question.

If you're good at puzzles there's a whole section including a number which could earn you £100 to £500 if you're the lucky entrant drawn.

And if you have any useful tips and it's published you win £25 too. I'll need something original...
I haven't got anything vaguely antique or collectable that I could send a picture of that might get the highest value item shown and win £50.

Now here's something I might be okay with, a 300 word story that can be e-mailed, but sadly no cash for the winning story writer-you can win a Kobo eReader, and the runner- up will get a year's subscription to the magazine. Neither prize to be sniffed at, and your winning story will get read by lots of people.

Letter pages seem to offer prizes for the star letter now.

Well that's only one magazine, there are a lot more out there, and the next one I pick up may be perfect. So next Friday I will be found perusing the shelves of WH Smith, looking for opportunities...


  1. I know what you mean about magazines.Even the truelife stories are not written by the subjects but re-written using someone elses's words. Fiction is long gone and anything an ordinary writer sends is very unlikely to see the print run. Sad but true!

  2. IT's true that magazines are cutting back but there are still opportunities out there. I've found it helps if you can send along a photo with the letter or tip.

  3. You're right, Pat. I know someone who has done a few of the 'real-life interviews, and her written pieces were then edited to highlight the salacious/shocking aspects more.

    Yes, there are still opportunities there, Patsy. I don't think there is as much variety as there once was though.
    I'll have to make sure my camera is in my handbag for the photography slots. :-)

  4. Lots of good points here, Carol. And I agree that many magazines are now offering prizes instead of cash - sign of the times!

  5. I've never tried fillers, Carols so will be interested to hear how you get on.

    I may be wrong, but I understand that most 'true-life' stories in mags are more fiction that fact. Hmm, perhaps there's an opening there for a bit of fantasy writing?!!!

  6. I think you're right, Rosemary. And when companies are willing to provide products to get advertising it probably costs the magazine company very little to provide the prizes.

    Gail, I suspect many of them got wise to that trick, which is why they now want photos of the people and places involved...

  7. Good luck with the fillers, Carol. I've had some success with Reader Letters - I have a tip in the latest issue of Sewing World, but they've rearranged their mag and there's no prize now. In the past I won a prize as a star letter. My current sub to Prima was as a result of a letter, but I've found it really hard to get any tips published. I expect they have a huge stock pile! But of course, that doesn't mean we should stop trying! Good luck!

  8. Quite useful article. I am just stepping into the murky waters of writing and researching if there is any money to be made... well if not best stick to the day job.


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