Writer’s Digest: C-

I remember spending some long afternoons curled up in an armchair at the public library, flipping through old issues of Writer’s Digest. I loved reading anything and everything about writing at the time, and reading the magazines made me feel like I belonged to part of a wider world.

However, I’ve had a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine for about a year now, and by the tenth “Renew now!” postcard, I don’t feel any more inclined to renew that subscription.

Articles: B-

Some of the articles are interesting, but I now recognize that they really only repeat the same adages– take a chance, network, and edit. A few issues attempt market analysis, but the conclusions are open-ended and can be drawn by any hobbyist. The articles about new electronic publishing in particular betray the age of the writers as “blogs” and “self-publishing” are treated as far more novel than they are.

Publishing Opportunities: C

Published fiction and creative nonfiction is confined to the winners of monthly contests, and often take up less than half a spread. I think a writing magazine could have far more in the way of… you know.. actual writing. I’ve not yet read anything particularly inspiring. To enter the contest (or read past winners), you have to navigate through an antiquated site– one of the most annoyingly unhelpful I’ve ever tried to use. Information about outside publishing opportunities lacks specifics, while the annual list of best writing sites includes many broken links.

Other: F

Spam, spam, spam! If you subscribe, you open yourself up to all sorts of mail regarding writing scams, which in addition to being annoying, is just trashy on the part of WD. At least half of the magazine also consists of scammy-looking ads, which in my opinion, puts WD magazine in their category.

Overall: C

Save yourself the $13, or whatever a subscription costs now, and try Poets and Writers Magazine instead. I’ve flipped through a copy and found much better quality material. Also, their site is very handy, listing specific publishing opportunities, such as anthologies currently seeking material, or legitimate short story contests.

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