Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How Many Pages Should a Magazine Devote to Prose?

I'm currently reading Futures from Nature which features stories from Nature journal. There are 100 stories in around 300 pages so you do the math. Recently, the upcoming February issue of Pulp Magazine also features a translated short fiction by Khavn. There's a couple of local magazines as well such as Imagine and Rogue that features short fiction (usually flash fiction).

So my question is, how many pages should a non-prose magazine devote to prose? Should we stick to flash fiction or is there room for longer content?

I remember buying Dragon Magazine and haven't really remembered a time when I actually read the full-blown fiction stories included. The only time I did so was when it featured an excerpt from George R. R. Martin's upcoming novel.


Unknown said...

Well if we're talking a non-fiction magazine, it shouldn't devote much at all. A couple pages is fine, maybe two 2-3 page pieces, depending on the size of the magazine. People don't pick up non-fic mags to read fiction, generally speaking. At least I don't.

Sean said...

I think that it really depends on the audience. I picked up a few copies of Dragon myself, and ignored the fiction content just as easily. The plain truth there was that most people bought the magazine with the intent of crafting their own fictional scenarios. I think that the readers therefore held little interest in reading somebody else's fully-realized work.

There are more than a few publications out there, I think, that carry active content which is not necessarily aligned with their primary focus. FHM, for example, holds regular sections on technology and video games despite the fact that the magazine concentrates on... (*ahem*) other things. If a significant portion of the reading audience does express an interest in these outside topics -- fiction and so forth -- then they might be worth a shot. I'm saying that fiction should automatically merit a place in, say, Better Homes and Gardens, but we'd be surprised as to what markets it could penetrate.