In 2006, after many years in the Australian children's book industry, I founded an online magazine for fellow authors, illustrators, editors and publishers. Thirteen years later, I am still compiling Buzz Words (www.buzzwordsmagazine.com) and sending it out twice a month to subscribers. There are hundreds of people who have invested $48 per annum ($2 an issue) to receive the magazine which is crammed with information from opportunities to interviews and much more. Frequently there are competitions (writing and illustrating) in Buzz Words. And in every issue that those who support the magazine with a subscription, have ample opportunities to feature in Buzz Words (interviews, have your say, articles and more) and to promote their books and achievements in the website.
It surprises and puzzles me how creative people don’t take full of advantage of what’s on offer. So many are working social media, taking a gamble on attracting interest for their books through websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more, but few contribute to what is, without doubt, the premier magazine in Australia for those in the children’s book industry. And even fewer contribute regularly. Most of the material in the magazine comes about as a result of me (as compiler) approaching people to contribute (and most do, when asked personally).
Last year, Buzz Words launched its annual Short Story for Children Prize, open to all around Australia, not just subscribers, and it’s on again this year. First prize for an adult writing a story for a child aged 8 to 11 years is $1,000 and second prize is $500 so the prizes are well worth winning.
In the first year we had just over 200 entries from writers all over the country, but not every children’s writer who subscribes to Buzz Words entered the competition. Surely if you write for children, you would submit a story to a competition that was open for three months before the closing date!
So often there are articles written online and in magazines for creative people to help them improve their skills. Conferences and festivals are crammed with beginners wanting to learn the tricks of the trade, the ‘secrets’ to getting published. But it seems that not every Buzz Words subscriber who pays good money to learn more is prepared to contribute (sometimes for payment).
No wonder I find it puzzling. What do you think? Why are creatives so reluctant to contribute?