It’s such standard writer advice: read the magazine. But why?
1. To get to know your reader. And don’t only read the stories. Read the letters page, the health page, the features. They’ll all help you form a fully rounded picture of the woman who picks up her People’s Friend every week, settles in her armchair, and trusts us to entertain her.
2. To keep up to date with the market. Magazines evolve all the time. Their readership changes. Advertising changes. Content changes. How else are you going to keep up with that other than reading your target title?
3. To see the kinds of stories we publish. If I had £1 for how often an aspiring writer has presumed that our stories are all sweet young romance for old lady readers….But our stories can be edgy, humorous, sad, romantic, and for a wide age range.
4. To keep up with the stories we’ve published recently. This way you won’t inadvertently send us an idea that’s very similar to a recent story.
5. To see where the gaps are. A magazine thrives on variety of content to be as entertaining as possible. So don’t just write what you see there, but also what you don’t see. But paying very close attention to our guidelines, too.
6. To support your industry. Look at how the market has shrunk as magazines fold. Every magazine you purchase helps ensure a robust future for the titles you love, and for your own career as a womagwriter.
7. To get to know who other writers are. See what they’re successful with and how often their stories appear. If they’re super successful, try to work out what it is about their stories that makes them so.
8. To gain inspiration. Other writers’ stories can spark ideas, as can the illustrations we use.
9. It’s great value.
10. It’s fun!