Saturday, August 4, 2012


by Scott Rhoades

A couple weeks ago I got a heart-crushing e-mail, announcing to contributors that The Writer magazine would go on hiatus following their October issue while their parent company, Kalmbach Publishing, seeks a buyer for the magazine.

I wanted to post something here right away, but didn't know if we were supposed to keep it quiet. It's been all over the blogosphere, though, so I guess I'm letting out any secrets.

This makes me incredibly sad. The Writer is my favorite magazine. It's been handing out excellent advice since 1887. It's the only magazine I subscribe to now. I've also subscribed to Writer's Digest, another great writing magazine, but I let that one lapse (although reluctantly--it was hard to fit two magazines a month into my reading time) and kept The Writer.

The Writer also had the impeccable taste to publish an article I wrote a couple years ago. I'll always be grateful to them for that.

I hope hope hope that they find a new owner. Even after several years of subscribing, I still get a happy little jolt when the new issue arrives. It's almost as much fun as when the Scholastic book orders arrived back at Louis B. Ruschin Elementary. OK, not really that close, but in the same ZIP code at least.

This isn't only a loss for writers who want to improve their craft. It also means the loss of an excellent, decent-paying market. Too many of those are disappearing. When they accepted my article, I learned that The Writer has a friendly editorial staff who are pleasant to work with and pay promptly. They kept me informed of scheduling changes, and they sent me not only the galleys to review but also a copy of the article in its final layout so I'd have the chance to give it a final OK. Since having that one little article published, The Writer has included me on e-mails to contributors. They've even sent me Christmas cards. So, for me, this is not merely the loss of my favorite magazine. I'm also concerned for the editorial staff and other employees. They are good, friendly people.

I believe that this may be the tragic end predicted by the Mayan calendar. But, since 2012 is also the year of the zombie apocalypse, here's hoping that this wonderful publication will rise again, seeking the brains of several writers each month, including some of the top names in the industry, so they can enlighten the rest of us.

More sad news (8/5/2012):  Scholastic Books has decided to stop publishing its Weekly Reader newspaper, distributed to school children for 84 years. Scholastic purchased The Weekly Reader back in February, and have now announced that it will cease publication. Neal Goff, president of The Weekly Reader from 2005 to 2010, believes that the newspaper is a victim of a reduced emphasis on current events in the typical curriculum. I remember looking forward to reading this publication back in my school days in The Long Long Ago. I believe it broadened my world and increased my curiosity about the way the world works and how people live. I'm truly sorry to see this wonderful publication die.


Julie Daines said...

I've never heard of the Writer, but I do enjoy my issues of Writer's Digest.

I hate it when the things I love are discontinued!

Scott said...

Alas, Julie, I fear that might be part of the problem. People know Writer's Digest. The Writer, although old and fairly prestigious, is less known. Both are very good, but I prefer The Writer. That's why I submitted to them first, and they surprised me by accepting.