Commentary

Periodical Exposure

This semester I’m taking two classes on magazines. My senior English seminar is all about the history of the periodical and the huge influence magazines have on writers. Magazines are often the very first place that writers’ works are published, only recently being replaced by the internet. I’m also participating this year in the class that will produce The Broken Plate, Ball State’s literary magazine.

Ever since the birth of the internet, writers and publishers have latched onto this new tool and amateur publication has exploded. Anyone anywhere can publish, either through established magazines, or by themselves in the form of blogs, such as this one.

As an aspiring writer, I relish this opportunity to get noticed by professionals in all sorts of fields who may find my skills of use. I’m well aware that being a good writer is not enough. Through my experiences studying periodicals and producing a magazine this year, I hope to become more marketable in the future.

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This year the Broken Plate is going to be produced on a much larger scale. Instead of publishing works just from Ball State students, we will be adding national submissions. This is a wonderful opportunity for those Ball State students who are selected to be published because they will get national exposure.

Many of us think of magazines as a quick, entertaining read with lots of pictures we pick up for a few bucks at the grocery store, but not as the tool they really are that can start a successful writing career. There are thousands of magazines in print, and hundreds of thousands more popping in and out of existence on the internet.

So many of the canonical writers we read in high school got their start in a magazine, probably most famously Charles Dickens. Today the internet is making it easier for writers from all walks of life to expose themselves to audiences that were previously unreachable.

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