The problem with this blog was that it wasn’t meant to be a real blog!
Initially it was designed to be a platform to spread the word about my fictional work … and then ‘So Am I an Author Yet?!‘ got Freshly Pressed.
‘So Am I an Author Yet?!‘ was originally just a commentary running parallel to my fiction work. An excuse/explanation/apology for having the nerve to call myself ‘author’ in the website blurb! But once people started reading and appreciating my non-fictional ramblings, I felt a certain obligation to continue.
The problem is, my life as an unsigned author, is a rather limited topic.
I really don’t want this blog to be a journal. I don’t think my readership want to be hearing the intricacies of my every day. (Though hopefully you all found Tales of a Starving Artist entertaining enough) Instead, I want this to be a forum for discussion about writing. Not just my writing. But writing in general.
So the first part of this blog post is a plea … are there any writing-based topics you’d like me to discuss? Please add them as comments and I’ll try my best to come up with something – like the ‘Getting Represented‘ piece I did in response to everyone’s questions about how I found an agent.
The second part of this blog is a rant about magazines. Which I actually touched upon in my recent rant about Work Experience.
I love to read.
And I love the idea of magazines.
And yet these days I’m finding magazines less and less reader friendly. Which I think is ironic, seeing as almost every magazine these days carries a self-conscious advert about how reading a physical magazine is way more rewarding than reading things from a computer screen!
Take Vogue, for instance. I was flicking through it yesterday, and counted 150 pages until I got to a CONTENTS page???!!! Then maybe another 30 until the first page of Anna Wintour’s editorial, which spanned three pages, and yet was separated by at least five more adverts. I understand that Vogue is about the clothes as well as the writing. But please give me something to sink my teeth into when I turn the cover. I can’t stress violently enough how much I detest having to flick through page after page after page before seeing a word which isn’t a brand name. It’s frankly ridiculous! Fair enough, advertising is necessary in the print world. But firstly actually pretend that the writing is important, by placing the contents page, and a couple of articles BEFORE the ads (or better yet putting all those ads at the back, so you can flick through them out of choice), and secondly, if you are making as much as we know you are making from advertising fees … then charge the reader less!! Why should I have to pay an arm and a leg for the inconvenience of flicking through almost an entire magazine before I can read so much as a sentence?!
Vogue isn’t alone in this failing. It’s simply the most ridiculous example of the cult of magazine advertising.
And then there’s another Conde Nast flagship title. Vanity Fair.
Now Vanity Fair has writing … and articles which I love. And actually a rather sensible smattering of advertising. But what irks me about Vanity Fair, every time I open the cover, is the extremely unaccessible page layout. Surely a magazine of VF’s grandeur will have spend thousands, if not more, on analysis of its readership?Surely a graphic design agency, and a market research team, and God knows however many other teams of analysts will have researched exactly how best to present the amazing variety of choice articles and interviews that only a magazine of VF’s calibre can gather.
So why on earth is the layout so awful?
I’m sorry, but it really is. The font is too small, the layout frankly dull! No matter the title, or topic of an article … I find myself tirelessly flicking through the pages, because they don’t capture me. The best example of this is when I’m at the gym. I love to read magazines when I’m on the treadmill or the cross-trainer. I’m most probably ruining my eyes, I know, but it’s the perfect minimum effort brain-food, when you need a distraction from the physical pain of your work-out.
But VF isn’t suitable brain food … because it’s NOT eye-candy! The font size used is so small and insignificant that I find myself practically falling off the exercise machines while I squint at the pages.
Now I’m no graphic designer, or market research expert … but I like to read. And I like to read magazines. And I know that the kinds of magazines I like, use large fonts and brighter colours to draw the eye in. That doesn’t mean they’re mere picture books … in fact, if you go back to my criticisms of Vogue, you’ll realise that’s the last thing I desire …
I simply want someone to catch my attention. I don’t want to force myself to have to read!
Anyone else in a similarly disgruntled boat???
PS No I won’t be applying for Work Experience at either Vogue or Vanity Fair 😉