Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Any ideas?

Over on the People's Friend Blog, Lucy Chrichton has asked "Where has all the fiction gone?"

What do you think? Has it just been reduced because of the reasons she suggests, or are there other factors?

As a reader, does the inclusion of fiction make a difference to whether or not you buy a magazine?

8 comments:

carrie said...

Interesting, Patsy. The number of magazine has indeed fallen. And of course the fact that some of the magazines want full rights is off putting for many. I think a number of readers (as I'm sure too, writers) are loyal to certain magazines. Really not easy for anyone trying to break into writing fiction now. Thank goodness The People's Friend are a magazine that does still accept fiction.

Sharon boothroyd said...

The closed writer's lists too are very offputting to a new writer.
But I also feel that the decision to fill the mag pages with celebrity reality TV stars and the like is to blame for the fall in commissioning fiction slots in mags.
I suppose it's about attracting a younger readership. I stopped buying most of the popular weeklies because of this. However, I like the good quality ones that are aimed at the mature market.

Anonymous said...

The People's Friend is estimated to have 400,000 readers, I believe, whose loyalty is surely in significant part due to the strong story element. With figures like this, I cannot understand why so many other magazines seem reluctant to carry original fiction. I'd love to see a resurgence and live in hope - it would be great for both writers and readers. Best wishes from Eirin Thompson

Liz said...

I wrote for teenage girls' mags in the 1980s and my theory re. the demise of that market is that they tried and failed to capture the girls who *weren't* into traditional fiction - and, in doing so, alienated readers who were.

I wonder if the same thing is happening with women's mags? Trying to increase circulation by targeting those who want celebrity gossip and, at the same time, annoying the readers who don't?

I read People's Friend and really miss the days when magazines meant lots of fiction and really interesting/entertaining features.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I absolutely prefer a magazine that contains at least one story as I'm not interested in celebrity-led mags. So pleased that PF is still maintaining, and inviting, fiction!

Anonymous said...

I've only ever bought magazines that contained fiction, as I've always felt being able to sit down with a short story is a treat. Many of the magazines on the shelves today fail to inspire in any way. Thank goodness DC Thompson and a few of the other publishers recognise there is a big market for fiction. Good wishes Kate Hogan

Patsy said...

@ Carrie – I'm sure readers do stick to their favourites much of the time.

@ Sharon – I don't know that young people are any more interested in celebrities than us mature lot. Personally, even as a teenager, I wanted something fun or interesting to read, not photos of famous people in expensive clothes. Youngsters are probably more likely to read online than buy magazines though.

@ Eirin – I suspect cost has a lot to do with it. As well as paying for the stories, someone must be paid to read and edit them. Filling the space with another advert instead will earn them money in the short term at least.

@ Liz - Your theory makes a lot of sense. The People's Friend are trying to attract new readers, but they're taking great care not to upset the existing ones. Some other publications don't seem to bother about that.

@ Rosemary – The inclusion of fiction to me suggests content is important. When it's missing, there doesn't seem to be muchother than adverts taking its place.

@ Kate – I think many readers value the short dose of entertainment and escapism which a story provides.

Anonymous said...

(SusanG)

I guess that these days there are more ways for people to read fiction, and people's habits change. For example, now that so many have Kindles/e-readers it is easy to find and download fiction on line. There's quite a lot of fiction available free of charge(eg on Amazon), so it isn't even always necessary to pay for it!

Other magazine content has its issues too. Even the mags that focus on celebrities are generally not doing very well. That sort of content is readily available on line and there is less and less need to pay for it. Likewise, people who want to read about beauty, make up, heath, fashion tips, food, cooking etc can get all of that on line and with a 'live' experience (eg video clips, sound). I know it's nice to sit down with a coffee and a physical copy of a magazine but presumably that is not how everyone sees things.

Clearly the People's Friend has maintained its niche very well. The mags that seem to suffer the most are the less focused ones with smatterings of wide-ranging content where they are struggling for readers to see why they should hand over their hard-earned cash for material so easily accessible elsewhere.