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Change in the Magazine Market January 16, 2012

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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Writer’s Digest recently posted a stat (based on Affinity surveys) that at least 15 magazines generate a larger digital audience than print audience. These magazines included ESPN the Magazine, The Atlantic, Forbes, and Wired. I can see why Wired, a technology magazine, might have a digital audience bigger than its print audience, but I’m left wondering about the other 14-or-so magazines. How big is their print audience? If it’s really small, then the stat isn’t saying much. So many magazines have gone under in the past few years, and I’ve witnessed several that went from a print format to online before going under completely. Others are producing a free online magazine–no charge for subscriptions but no pay for submissions either. They’re still in business, but I can’t imagine them selling a lot of print subscriptions when they’re giving away the same magazine online.

I continue to write only for paying magazines, but this grows increasingly difficult as print magazines either go under or go online. Many e-magazines either don’t pay or pay little. Even when they continue paying the same word rate (X number of dollars or cents per word), online articles usually have shorter word counts. Fewer words, less pay. Sometimes writers can recoup some of that with graphics, photos, video, or games, but planning for these additional items requires a bit different mindset.

This last week, I also heard that a major women’s magazine plans to switch entirely to reader-written content. I wonder whether any of the reader-writers will be paid.

Times are changing. I’m taking note, adjusting, and continuing to sell . . . thankfully.

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