Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.

Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:

My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:

Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:

Visit the writers' development service I co-run at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

About Me

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Leicester, East Midlands
As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring. In addition, I co-run The Writers' Shed, a service for writers, at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

Saturday, 21 November 2009

On-line Magazines

Last Monday, I attended another in the excellent series of talks on 'New Ways of Writing', run by the Writing School, Leicester. This time we had Farhana Shaikh of 'The Asian Writer' introducing us to the world of On-Line Magazines. This enterprising young woman set up her site in 2007, addressing a niche market of Brit-Asian writers/ readers and now gets 20,000 hits for each edition. There is no budget as yet to pay contributors but the site is regularly visited by agents and editors so it's a great showcase for emerging talent.

Farhana wasn't out to promote her own magazine to us but it's an excellent e.g. of the potential audiences of such magazines – far beyond the scale of small press journals with a readership of maybe hundreds. She showed us that the format of on-line magazines varies widely. Some are modelled on print magazine pages and may even be digital offshoots of such titles (see Marie Claire or The Guardian). You might sample and then pay to download a pdf file (see Five Dials). Or a site like The View from Here uses newer technologies and the style of social media with Flash design, You-Tube clips, hyperlinks etc. Typical features of on-line magazines include:
  • regular updates
  • original content if digital version of print mag.
  • Website channels/ options
  • features, columns, blogs
  • huge readerships
  • run by large media outlets or individuals
  • low overheads
  • use freelancers & often welcome submissions
Some on-line mags. do pay contributors. In particular, the US market for on-line mags. is huge and more lucrative. It's possible to identify possible UK sites through the comprehensive listings offered by Mslexia or The Poetry Library sites. The beauty of this is you can access a wide range of publications to sample for free at the press of a button. As with submissions elsewhere, you want to check guidelines, identify a named editor, research the readership and content and show you understand on-line media in any copy you send in.

Is it wise to write for free? It might be that such pieces could build a relationship with editors that leads to paid commissions. But understand you won't usually be able to sell published material elsewhere. But if that sounds harsh, take a peek at the Guest Writer's slot on The View from Here. This is regularly read by 7,000 visitors. Does your work usually reach that many readers in one go? It can't hurt to press that 'enter' button and take a trawl through the hyperspace of new media magazines. Just as soon as I stop attending writing courses, I intend to find time to do so!

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