Friday evening I attended the banquet for the Maryland Writer’s Association that kicked off the weekend conference. It was a pleasure to reconnect with other writers and publishing professionals, especially because it was such a positive night of good publishing news–something we can all use in this economy.
Two magazine editors spoke at the banquet: Brian Lawrence of Style Magazine, and Dan Patrell of Maryland Life Magazine. They discussed the tone and focus, audience and readership, and writers of their magazines. Both were pleased to announce subscription growth since the first of the year, and thought that because they are niche magazines, and because people like to display and collect magazines, they will continue to thrive in this economy.
The editors of both magazines said they are open to freelance writers in addition to their own staff, and prefer voices that match their tone and style, and who can put a fresh spin on an old story. For example, Brian Lawrence suggested that an article for his fashion pages about purses wouldn’t excite him. But an article about what is revealed about a woman by the kind of purse she carries and what’s in it would grab his attention.
Dan Patrell of MD Life remarked on the effectiveness of advertising in magazines. He said that because people do collect and display magazines, ads can get more views, people tear them out, and people respond to what they see in full color print. He also said they measure success “fifteen dollars at a time.” Those two pieces of information resounded with me as I pondered my own book sales and publicity.
During dinner, I was able to meet a literary agent from New York, who also had some good news for me. She said that recent fiction sales to publishers were way up last month (usually nonfiction outsells fiction) and that people are really looking for “escapist” fiction. I couldn’t be happier about that, since my book is not only set on a gorgeous tropical island, but it also moves to another time period.
I think it’s time to start querying those agents…