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Don’t Ignore The Small Press Magazines

March 17th, 2017

First, thanks to Julia for last week’s blog. After reading it, and the very polished entry that she submitted to the recent AFW poetry competition, I think she should stop being tempted to say ‘poetry isn’t really my thing’ – it most definitely is!

However, I definitely know what my thing is, and I’m not sure I should be boasting about it: collecting snippets of useless (but, in my defense, interesting) information. I recently read an article about Milton and Paradise Lost. Apparently, it’s been estimated that he introduced 630 new words into the English Language (Will Shakespeare was a laggard by comparison with only 229). Examples include pandemonium, fragrance, didactic, stunning, impassive, debauchery, self-delusion and terrific.

So, when I moan to myself about the introduction of trendy (for trendy, read ‘irritating when used too often’) new words into the language such as Brexit/Grexit, upstander (someone who stands up for a cause), glam-ma (glamorous granny to you and me) and out-strategize, I should really be grateful that our wonderful language continues to change and develop just as it has been doing for hundreds of years.

Moving on, I think that many people suspected that small press magazines’ days were numbered. It costs money to print and post out magazines. This means subscriptions need to be quite high and this in turn depresses the subscriber list. Everything was going online!

But that doesn’t seem to have been the case. I was recently looking through a copy of Writing Magazine and I was surprised to see how many print-based small press magazines around the world  were still currently accepting poetry and short stories plus artwork submissions. To name just three – but three highly respected ones – we have Orbis, The Moth and Crannog. You won’t get rich writing for them, but you will have something to touch and feel if your work is published and you’ll know that your writing has gone through a rigorous selection process, so acceptance really does merit giving yourself a pat on the back.

Incidentally, if you are interested in subscribing to Writing Magazine (a glossy monthly, packed with useful information and potential markets for writers) then you can get your first year’s subscription at half price if you are a member of The Association of Freelance Writers.

And coincidentally, my guest next week will be Simon Whaley who often gives advice in Writing Magazine. He’ll be looking at how writing little and often can soon build up a good bank of work that you can draw on for different projects.

Finally, don’t forget that the closing date for our Short Story Competition is fast approaching. You need to get your entry/ies to us by post or online by 31st March to be in with the chance of snatching a prize. We’re awarding £300, £200, £100 and £50 to the top four plus each winner also gets a Writers Bureau course of their choice.



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