In the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some serious thinking about where I’m trying to head as a writer–doing productive daydreaming sessions about what I’d like my career life to look like, thinking over what kind of writing I could happily do or not, and writing up 5-year plans (if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s plans). One of the things that jumped out at me is that if I’m going to get anywhere with this, I need to seriously step up my submission rate. Doing three a week tires me out at this point, and my guess is I need to get at least to about 25 a week if I wanted to consider supporting myself with writing. Goodness.
So I was looking through my Writer’s Market guide, trying to put together a file of potential story and article ideas, and I have to tell you something: there are some strange magazines out there. Like, I understand that people have different hobbies and interests, but we are talking some niche stuff. Here are five of my favorites:
5. Atlantic Salmon Journal: This seems kind of normal–lots of people like fishing, and salmon are pretty neat fish, if you’re into that–but you need to think long term. This is a group of about 8,500 people who are prepared to put money into the promise that every three months, enough is going to change in the arena of this one fish to merit some hundred-odd pages of news.
4. Balloon Life: I’m just really excited this magazine exists at all. It makes me happy to think of the thousands of people who love hot air balloons so much that they can say, without sarcasm, that they have adopted a balloon lifestyle. They are balloonists. You get up in the morning, in your house for once because the new issue’s coming out, grab Balloon Life, hop in the ginormous red hot air balloon tethered to your chimney and head back to your natural habitat. This is what Jules Verne wanted Heaven to be like, I promise you.
3. Toy Farmer: I would expect there to be magazines about collecting toys. I would expect there to be a market for farmers’ magazines. Toy farmers, though? I’m not even sure I knew that was a thing. And I went to the website, and they have a Toy Farmer blog, for when the new issue can’t come out fast enough to keep up with the changes in the world of toy farming, and–AND–they have this link. It’s “Zeke’s Toy Box.” I’m not making this up. And you click it, because how do you not click something as adorable as “Zeke’s Toy Box,” and it gives you even more than you had imagined. “Zeke’s Toy Box” is where kids send pictures to “Grandpa Zeke” of their own toy farming inventions, or their dad’s combine, or what have you, and it is so cute I could cry.
2. Vintage Snow Mobile Magazine: Who knew? I may have been unsure of whether I knew about toy farmers before, but I promise you, I had never before in my entire life been aware of such a thing as vintage snow mobiles until I found out there was a magazine dedicated to them. Two and a half thousand people subscribe to this magazine, too. Think about that for a moment. Two and a half thousand people care about vintage snow mobiles so badly that they pay money to read about them. I don’t even know how many people are out there buying single issues off the grocery stand (in Alaska, I guess? Canada? On which newsstand do you find this magazine?), or just walking around feeling like they’re the only people in the world who are passionate about snow mobiles that have been around for a really long time. How old does a snowmobile even have to be to qualify as vintage? I don’t even have a basic starting point to know a vintage snow mobile if I walked outside and one literally hit me.
Finally, with this last one, I knew what these must be when I read the title, and I think I maybe had a book with one in it when I was very little, but the fact that there is a magazine for this proves to me that it does not matter what it is that you care about: you are not alone. There are probably thousands out there with you, writing articles, taking pictures, hanging out in whatever pocket of the Internet posts breaking news, and painstakingly printing hundreds upon hundreds of magazine copies about it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:
1. Miniature Donkey Talk. Oh my goodness. I wasn’t even going to say anything here, because the title alone is better than any words I could give you, but I just read the home page of their website, and you need to see these quotes:
“The best donkey magazine being published!” Dr. Julian Cable, DVM
AT LEAST 4 times greater distribution than ANY miniature donkey publication!!!
…which suggests there are more. I think I’m feeling about the same right now as if I’d just come across incontrovertible evidence of extraterrestrial life. I have actual goosebumps on my back.
I have not yet, I have to admit, submitted any articles or queries to any of these fine magazines. I’m not sure I’ll ever be qualified to swim in those waters. But I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for what’s out there. I’ve already started writing down the more esoteric of my interests. We’re gonna go explore.