Friday, November 15, 2013

NW Bookfest '13 Workshop Review #6: The Advent of On-Line Magazines

Since my work is entirely on-line, I thought The Advent of On-Line Magazines would be an interesting and beneficial workshop to attend for the second day of NW Bookfest. 

The seminar was hosted by Nicholas O'Connell, publisher and editor of The Writer's Workshop Review a--what else?--on-line literary magazine.

Magazines have undergone a seismic shift due to the internet.  Printing costs keep rising, while on-line costs continue to drop.  Newspapers have been especially hard hit and some magazines have gone out of business altogether.

Some general characteristics of an on-line magazine include--

--Having smaller budgets, but operate with less money and reach a larger audience
--Distribution is simpler
--Literary magazines are often the stepping stone for fiction writers
--Such magazines are looking for new writers
--Often no set publication schedule for the literary magazines.

Literary magazines are a lot like blogs except they're more formal and articles can be longer than typical blogposts.  By "formal" I mean there's an editorial board of sorts that "curates" the magazine. 

Narrative was the first literary magazine to go entirely on-line, while Slate was the first one to turn a profit. 

Operating funds usually come from the writers themselves.  A magazine might charge $15-20 to anyone wishing to submit an article.  This slush fund is then used to pay the writers whose works get approved by the editorial board.

Sort of like an entry fee to a writing  contest.

What type of articles/stories get published?

It depends on the magazine and the audience can often determine the direction.

In Nick's case, he often gets stories about Ireland (due to his last name being Irish) and the Pacific Northwest (since the magazine is produced here in the Seattle area).

Good stories sustain a magazine, which often needs some prestigious writers to submit articles.  Otherwise, it's hard to attract the attention of new readers.

If you're thinking of submitting to an on-line magazine--

--Look for magazines that publish the kind of stories you like to read
--Read the magazine to get a feel for it.

Earlier, I mentioned how some magazines went out of business altogether.  This has been acutely felt by the table-top gaming community.  Some of the magazines we use to read here in the US were:  The Courier, Wargamer's Digest, The General and Strategy & Tactics suffered the same fate as the more mainstream publications did.

But now gamers can read--and maybe even write for--newsletters and on-line magazines, such as NHMGS's The Citadel and Warning Order

Wikipedia currently maintains an index of wargaming magazines, a few which are still in print.

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