Pipe-dream alert: I am thinking of setting up a magazine for writers. I’ve thought along similar lines before – I probably first had this idea on a journalism module but it grew more into a ‘what’s going on’ kind of thing – but now I have the time, if not the money, to dedicate to it, if things transpire.
First things first, it’s going to be solely for writers based in Midlands. I haven’t quite drawn up an outline of what is and what isn’t the Midlands – safe to say if you live on the Isle of Mull, I’m afraid it’s a no – but I’m searching for an archaic map of Albion where I can draw perimeters based on history. Why Midlands writers? Because I notice when I’m flicking through opportunities for writers sometimes distinctions are drawn: so and so want an authentic northern voice, somebody else want a true southern voice. It seems rare that anyone ever wants a Midland voice (I’m sure there are such outlets, just I haven’t come across them yes. If you know any, do share. They could come in handy.) Where can submissions come from? Writers based in the Midlands would be preferable, but exceptions could be made for Midlanders who have left for pastures new. One key area that I want to try and target are students from Midland Universities (BCU, Birmingham, Coventry, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton – forgive me if I’ve left anywhere out), particularly, but not solely, those on Creative Writing/English courses. People like me.
Something I felt when I finished University was that I’d become a better writer, but I hadn’t become any more of a connected writer. I could write the stories but I didn’t know where to send those stories to. Such a magazine would become a place where we’d encourage students from the establishments listed above to submit work, hopefully with the backing of the Universities. Even more hopefully, for a bit of free advertising the Universities could maybe subsidise printing costs for a limited run? I am the least moneyed-up person on Earth so help with this part would be greatly appreciated.
That’s the vague(r) stuff out of the way. The more concrete stuff is what a magazine would need: contributors, people familiar formatting and designing magazines, illustrators. There are doubtless more that I haven’t thought of. Unfortunately, I’d be asking people to give their time for free, as I wouldn’t be able afford to pay anyone – including myself – and any money the magazine would make, if it was sold, would go straight back into the magazine for printing costs etc. A website or a blog would be much easier, I know. But a) there are more than plenty of those and b) I prefer the product you can hold in your hands and turn the pages, rather than scrolling down an eye-popping screen. Of course there’d be a web presence so people could get in touch and know where to submit to, though that would be it’s main use.
I realise how few specifics there are to this at the minute and how very stream-of-consciousness it all sounds. But with a little advice and help I’m hoping it could be knocked into some shape. That’s where you come in. Tell me what you know and what you think, what works and what doesn’t. Ask questions if you need more information, I’ll be happy to answer them if I can.