Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Short Stories and Women's Magazines...

The petition begun (last week) by the Society of Authors against the cuts being planned by Radio 4 to short story slots from spring 2012, has reached over 5,000 signatures and will be presented to the Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams on Thursday afternoon at Broadcasting House. It will be accompanied by a number of authors and the director of the National Short Story week too, read the article about it, here.

As to Women's magazines...

Best magazine (that stopped their story slot last year) are running a short story competition for which you need to collect tokens- the first one is in the 2nd August issue out now, so you'll need the following three August issues for the remaining tokens. The entry form will be in the 6th September issue.

At the moment the terms and conditions they refer to at the back of the magazine don't give any information on required length or any rules of entry, nor what rights are involved. Hopefully they will reveal that soon.

I read and buy the magazines that do fiction, I don't buy the magazines that are full of supposed real-life stories. I want to be entertained and those type of stories don't do that.
Sadly many of the women's magazines when they revamp seem to consider these as essential. And with that goes the celebrity/soap items. (Okay many do like these slots, personally I don't.)

I like fashion and make-up, but please, affordable, available and not just suited to young and skinny women please.

Am I the only older (okay, I admit I'm 50+) but still young, woman, who feels the weekly women's magazine market is not catering adequately to my age group?

Compared to my mother's generation, the fifty plus women of today are very different, we lead much more active lives and many of us still have children/teenagers going through the education system.

And short stories please...

So magazine editors start considering us. There is a gap in the market that you are missing out on, and we all know that when it comes to the head honchos in the magazine business world, sales matter...


Diane Fordham said...

Great post Carol - it is true what you say about the short fiction in mags... surely with the all the writers around (and I daresay there's a mighty crowd of them)they will notice sales going down without the fiction in it. I have read many posts where writers have stopped buying the mags which have stopped publishing fiction.

Helen Baggott said...

Presumably these magazines have found a more profitable way to fill those pages.

However, with the number of readers who miss their fiction, surely there's still a market?

There isn't a way of quantifying that number - not every reader will complain to the editor about the loss.

Carolb said...

Most magazines fill those pages with adverts Baggy, as that brings in money. I've just looked at the latest issue of Best and within the 68 pages (including the front and back cover) there were 13 pages of adverts, the majority were full page adverts.
I know magazines accepting advertising keeps the cover price down and the magazine in business, but it also makes the magazine less interesting.

Helen Baggott said...

Exactly - they're earning from the pages rather than paying out.

Not sure how long readers will continue to buy such a magazine.

And when it goes belly up, the content won't be blamed, it will be the economy.

Carolb said...

I agree with you Diane, I don't buy as many magazines now because they have stopped fiction.

Sadly lots of the non-writing readers just accept these changes and don't complain when fiction is dropped- perhaps they even stop buying the magazine.

I will be interested to see what the womag editors responses have been to Vivien Hampshire's questions on the short story issue. The article will be in next weeks Writing Magazine.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I saw that bit about Best on Womag and went and bought it - must support any mag that brings back its short stories!

I stopped buying The Lady as soon as they stopped the regular story and the little Viewpoint slot. The latter was where a few of our writing group members had their first publication.

Carolb said...

I have been very disappointed by the changes in The Lady magazine Rosemary, I've glanced at it in the newsagents and have put it back down.

I hope Best magazine will be open to more writers, the new style has been good.

But I am concerned about Best's attitude to fiction, their short story competition while good, doesn't guarantee paying fiction in future.
But I will be buying magazines that have fiction in them.