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The 3 Magazines To Which I Subscribe

January 15, 2014

I subscribe to three magazines – three print magazines that come to the mailbox at the end of my driveway.

They are:
– The Sun Magazine
Website Magazine
Poets & Writers

The Sun MagazineThe right side of my brain lights up with delight when an issue of The Sun Magazine is in the mailbox. Each issue of this literary magazine has a theme and follows a format that includes a substantial interview with a person of interest related to the theme. Also, there is photography, poetry, essays and short fiction related to the theme. The Sun Magazine is what it advertises itself to be: Personal. Political. Provocative. Ad-free. I’d like to emphasize “Ad-free” because it is completely ad-free. I love this magazine. I highly recommend it, especially to writers. To write well you have to read things that have been written well and that inspire. The Sun Magazine contains exceptional writing, and exceptional b/w photography, too.

Website MagazineThe left side of my brain timidly glows when I see Website Magazine in the mailbox. I read this magazine to help me with my online presence and to inform me for my business, Syntax and Style. But I will admit, I’m right-brain dominant. So, reading this magazine, which is full of all things related to the nuts and bolts of online presence – the ever-changing trends in website building, social media, phone applications, hosting, SEO, ROI, etc. – is less fun for me than reading The Sun, but perhaps it’s equally informative. Website Magazine has lots of ads, but the advertisers are partners of us all here on the web. The advertising, and magazine’s support of its advertisers products, is overt. Their advertisers host our sites, track our site statistics, provide SEO services, etc. This magazine supports the efforts of us individuals and businesses as we create and maintain our goals on the internet. And they openly show through their ads who can help us in our efforts. Website Magazine is all about marketing success on the web. I recommend it. I also recommend subscribing to their email newsletter.

Poets and WritersWhen I see Poets & Writers in the mailbox, my brain goes into a spaz. I suspect that if anyone were within five feet of me they would hear an audible groan. The right and left side of my brain each go haywire.

Either side of my brain would be happy to light up with anticipation when it sees Poets & Writers, but they both know they will suffer the same disappointment that accompanies each issue.

This magazine is advertisement heavy. Ads must fill 65% of it, perhaps more. MFA programs are a dime a dozen and they glut the pages of Poets & Writers.

Because it’s ad heavy, it’s difficult for me to trust any potentially inspiring articles in Poets & Writers. While this magazine’s title would make one think it’s in some way literary, it’s not. In one way or another (ads or articles) it’s promoting sales – of MFA programs, of retreats, of publishers, of agents, or of the presumably hip new writer or hip long-term writer or that writer’s new book. It is all about marketing, plain and simple. Sometimes I can’t tell an ad from an article.

I have come to know that in Poets & Writers I will read about how established and up-and-coming writers promote themselves (in part, by writing articles about their writing for Poets & Writers).

It’s taken me a long time to reconcile to this fact. But reconciled I am. I subscribe to it for one purpose – to keep track of writing contests. That’s it.

I’m not sure why this magazine bothers me so much. I think it wouldn’t bother me at all if the magazine were titled “Marketing for Poets & Writers.” Yes, that would do it.

I recommend this magazine only if you go into it knowing it’s all about promotion. Don’t expect to read good poetry or good fiction/non-fiction by poets & writers. For that, subscribe to The Sun Magazine.

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