Sunday, September 21, 2008

Niche magazines I have known

The average American subscribes to 10 different magazines, as well as to the theory that any statistics I mention here are not totally made up. Silly Americans. Ten is just something I pulled out of my abacus. We subscribe to a lot, though, if my house is any indication. We get a bunch of those magazines women like which don't even have perfume ads, just strips of estrogen you can tear out and apply directly to your skin. Hearing our mail delivered to our box is like listening to newsreel footage of World War II artillery. I am not complaining. Subscriptions are cheaper than flying to see Oprah in person.

Being a freelance writer, I am always researching potential writing venues, but you probably have no idea of the sheer variety of mags in circulation, because they target such a niche market ("niche" is a French word meaning "low paying"). Take, for example, "Miniature Donkey Talk." This makes me think: a) I didn't know there was such an animal, and b) I didn't know they could. It is a real publication, though. Here are some other actual titles I found which amazingly somebody, somewhere out there, is reading:

"The Atlantic Salmon Journal." Sure, fish have every right. I just want to know how they hold the pages open.

"Big Reel," in contrast, is not a fishing magazine at all. It is for movie collectible enthusiasts, and isn't that just like a movie collectible enthusiast to brag about the size of his reel?

"Coonhound Bloodlines" caters to "a wonderful segment of the American population, many of whom still live by honest, friendly values." Like blasting the innards out of a fluffy critter. At least you can tell what the magazine is about right off, unlike:

"Catholic Forester." This has nothing to do with the outdoors.

"Wake Living" not only sounds like good advice, it sounds like some kind of ultra-inspirational, possibly religious publication, but just covers, in fact, people living in Wake County, N.C.

"The Roanoker" sounds dirtier than it is. "Jewish Action" does too. And "Rack." (It's for deer hunters). Not to mention "Friction Zone," which is merely a motorcycle mag.

"Toy Farmer" sounds intriguing. I was just wondering the other day how this year's crop of Barbies is coming along.

"Musky Hunter" is not, contrary to what you might think, a hygiene magazine for outdoorsmen.

"Silent Sports" covers activities like running, cross-country skiing and cycling. I think I could break in there with a first-person essay on passive-aggressive channel-flipping.

"African American Golfer's Digest" has a circulation of 20,000 copies, exactly the same quantity as "Muzzle Blasts" magazine. The fact that there are as many people interested in antique, muzzle-loading rifles as there are African Americans interested in golf is disturbing to me in a way I cannot exactly define.

"Fur-Fish-Game." I played this in college, and let me just say that rug burns take longer to heal than you would think.

At least "I Love Cats" magazine wears its tiny, inscrutable heart on its sleeve. You either buy it or you don't. But what am I to make of a magazine called "Frank"? Does it contain brash, undiluted opinion, or a discussion of meat by-products?

There is a magazine called "Combat Handguns," and another called "Numismatist" (for coin collectors), which makes me wonder what would happen if readers of the former got hold of the subscription list of readers of the latter. Would burglary rates go up? These are the things a writer ponders when he really should be busy writing. Yes, O.K., I'm going, but first there is a copy of "Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot" I have been meaning to get to.