Whether writers care to acknowledge it or not, writing is an industry. Just as attorneys subscribe to legal journals to keep up with the law, and doctors subscribe to medical journals to keep up with the latest treatment options for their patients, any aspiring writer would be remiss not to seek out magazines and other publications that focus on successful writers, tools of the trade, and publishing trends. Whether a writer is committing herself to a career of full-time freelance writing or simply penning her first novel during the forty-five minutes she gets for lunch, it is essential that she learn as much as possible about the writing industry and keep up with its ever-changing trends. Here are the best magazines for writers.
Writers Digest is the best all around publication for both new and experienced writers. At approximately $20 per year, it is affordable and well worth every penny. Of all the writing magazines, Writers Digest‘s content is the easiest to, well, digest. Its comprehensive format includes well-written feature articles, interviews, and tips of the trade. It contains an excellent balance of information devoted to freelancers, novelists, short story writers, MFA students, poets, and non-fiction writers alike. Whether you are shopping your work to top notch New York City agents or small presses in the Mid-West, Writers Digest will teach you enough about the industry to avoid the numerous pitfalls and otherwise inevitable first-time mistakes. My only disappointment with Writers Digest is that it recently went from publishing twelve issues per year to six. Still, Writers Digest is one publication you will look forward to finding in your mailbox every other month.
If you are really devoted to learning everything there is to know about the book-publishing and book-selling industry, you will keep up with Publishers Weekly. This weekly publication offers outstanding reviews of new books, interviews with best-selling authors, updates on hardcovers, trade and mass market paperbacks, and sales figures. At over $200 per year, a subscription to Publishers Weekly is certainly an investment, but a good one if you are that serious about writing. Of course, you can also find a copy of Publishers Weekly at your local library. (You may remember local libraries from the twentieth century). Check one out before you subscribe to see if Publishers Weekly is right for you.
Poets & Writers contains excellent information, even if its pages might seem a bit drab. Everything in the magazine is printed in black and white, except for the advertisements, of course. Recent issues have contained such useful article as “The Writers Website,” which explained the pros and cons of having one and what information to include. Poets & Writers‘ feature stories on writers are compelling and well-written. The price is right, too: you can receive one full year of Poets & Writers (6 issues) for $15.
The Writer magazine offers very practical articles and information to help you improve your craft. This self-proclaimed “essential resource for writers since 1887” is a quick and fun read. It always includes a lot of lists: “10 Steps to Analyzing a Great Short Story,” “10 Reasons to Say ‘No’ to Freelance Assignments,” etc., so that the information is easy to digest. At $32.95, The Writer is priced a little higher than most writers would like, but a new issue will arrive every single month. And remember, if you are writing in order to generate income (and who isn’t?), then all magazines and other publications are tax deductible.