Do you deviate from the norm?

Hi Writers,
I have a confession: I don’t really think about the official demographic data when putting together the editorial content for Writer’s Digest. I prefer to think our magazine appeals to writers who cut a wide swath across the age, gender, income spectrum.

At any rate, our marketing department recently surveyed our readers and this is what they came back with:

Age:
74% 41 and Over
47% Over 50

Gender:
37% Male
63% Female

State:
18% FL, NY, TX (6% each)
12% California

Education:
64% College Degree
27% Master’s or higher

Experience
31% Published writer
55% Serious aspiring writer

67% are primarily interested in writing fiction
40% also interested in writing screenplays
39% also interested in writing non-fiction
25% also interested in writing memoirs
24% also interested in writing poetry

71% primarily use Windows XP
75% primarily use Microsoft Word

26% read The Writer
18% read Poets & Writers
10% read Publisher’s Weekly
 
51% visit WritersMarket.com
13% visit Publisher’s Weekly (pw.com)
9% visit MediaBistro.com

So please let me know where you fit—or don’t fit—into this survey.
Are the marketing folks way off base, or right on target? As always, I appreciate your feedback.

Keep Writing,
Maria
P.S. In my quest to get my bosses to yell “uncle” and let me digitize the WD archives, I’m going to post cool stuff from our archives all through March. So if you’re a lover of literary ephemera come back for more.

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17 thoughts on “Do you deviate from the norm?

  1. Dulcie

    Age: 34
    Female
    Currently disabled and not able to work at a real job – writing is not a real job in my family.
    Live in NJ but most of you count the upper half where I live as part of NYC.
    Published as a ghost writer for my previous career and now trying to pull myself together to finish my non-fiction works as well as become a journalist.
    Was published when I was young because of a few contests my English teacher submitted my pieces to but I have no real idea where they are and they are not archived anywhere…my step-sister threw away all my writings in notebooks that I had since I was six.
    Write two blogs – one my life story as a rare disease creature (true) and the other an inspirational non-fiction.
    Looking to get a Masters if I can find funding.
    Oh and I do mediabistro too!

    Hmm, I guess that makes me somewhat abnormal but i like to say unique!
    Use XP and sometimes get stuff done on the Mac when I can steal it away from the man in the house.
    Subscribe to P&W and WD but rarely visit the sites unless a column interests me – I never travel around to see other parts online since I love paper. I do visit other news sites and some gossip…who doesn’t…

  2. Linda

    Interesting stats…

    I’m in the 41 and older (but not too much older) group
    Female (but write from a male POV)
    Serious aspiring novelist with published shorts and academic drivel
    Windows XP and word user (but wish the world was Mac-centric)
    Maryland via MA via NC
    Subscribe to WD and P & W and devour like bon-bons when the arrive in the mailbox
    Subscribe to PW Daily and Lunch
    Subscribe to Writers’ Market
    Write novels, poetry, shorts, and starting memoir/essay
    Way over-educated
    Never been to MediaBistro… heading there now…

    I love that we have a few folks posting here representing both ends of the age spectrum! Peace, Linda

  3. soly paraiso

    Dear Maria,
    Here’s my stats:
    Age: over 50
    Gender: Female
    State: California (only 12% from my State?)
    Education: Freelance Journalism
    Experience: Regular contributor to a local newpaper here in my city. Have self-published a non-fiction book. Written some poems.
    Interested in non-fiction and poetry.
    Using Mcrosoft Word

    Regular subsriber of Writer’s Digest and the Writer magazines.
    Regular reader of your website, Kevin Alexander’s and Brian Klems
    Regularly visit WritersMarket.com

    That’s it, Maria, thank you.

  4. JohnOBX

    Age:
    74% 41 and Over
    Close enough.

    Gender:
    37% Male
    add one to this column

    State:
    18% FL, NY, TX (6% each)
    12% California

    What? Half the forum is from North Carolina. Clearly this is skewed.

    Education:
    64% College Degree
    27% Master’s or higher

    No OTJ training? Guess not.

    Experience
    31% Published writer
    55% Serious aspiring writer

    As of this year, +1 in the first column 🙂

    67% are primarily interested in writing fiction
    Yes
    40% also interested in writing screenplays
    No
    39% also interested in writing non-fiction
    Barely
    25% also interested in writing memoirs
    No
    24% also interested in writing poetry
    Hell no

    71% primarily use Windows XP
    Yes
    75% primarily use Microsoft Word
    Yes
    26% read The Writer
    18% read Poets & Writers
    10% read Publisher’s Weekly
    I’m in the minority…well, actually the majority in each of these as well.

    51% visit WritersMarket.com
    Yes

    13% visit Publisher’s Weekly (pw.com)
    Is that the Ed McMahon site that gives away money?

    9% visit MediaBistro.com
    Hang on. Good grief that’s a busy web page.
    Okay, does one visit count?

  5. Lloyd Mardis

    Interesting statistics. Glad to see so many writing while still young. Maybe my response will help with the averages.

    Age: 80 on July 10, 2008
    Gender: male
    State: Tennessee
    Education: Degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Psychology
    Experience: Burro and the Basket, Children’s book; Mother Nature Ain’t Nobody’s Mom, an account of my adventures bicycling 8,000 miles in Texas starting at age 65. Five novels just completed– a series in the genre of romance/mystery. I’m considering having them published by Outskirts Press and marketed primarily through Amazon.
    Use: XP and WordPerfect 10
    Read: The Writer. Member RWA and read Romance Writers Report
    I write in the morning and do acrylics in the afternoon.
    Lloyd Mardis, Memphis, TN. lrmardis@yahoo.com

  6. Tricia Grissom

    Age: 38
    Gender: Female
    State: Missouri
    Education: Master’s
    Experience: Published
    Primarily interested in nonfiction, but some fiction
    Use Windows XP and Microsoft Word
    Subscribe to Writer’s Digest, but visit Poet’s and Writers online.
    Visit Mediabistro
    Visit Publishers Weekly (but not a member)
    Visit Writer’s Market

    Apparently, most of us commenting are too young to fit the demographic.

  7. Dawn Goldberg

    Age: 36
    Gender: Female
    State: Maryland
    Education: College Degree
    Experience: Serious aspiring writer
    Primarily interested in writing fiction
    Primarily use Windows XP, although I do have a Mac
    Primarily use Microsoft Word
    I rarely read the other magazines, as Writer’s Digest is far superior. I have, on occasion, picked up The Writer and Poets & Writers. WD is the only one I have a subscription to.
    Visit WritersMarket.com

    I hope this helps!

  8. Lori

    I can’t speak for now, but back when I started subscribing, it was more like this:

    Age: 30-35
    Gender: Female (still is, by the way)
    State: PA
    Education: High school (A BA now)
    Experience: total beginner
    Primarily used Windows 3.1 (I’ve upgraded since 🙂 )
    Never read any of those other mags (not so much now, either)
    Visited WritersMarket.com: Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet….

    I have a WM subscription, and I do visit Media Bistro.

  9. Kevin

    Age:
    39 going on 40

    Gender:
    Male (last time I checked)

    State:
    WV (yes it is an actual state. No I don’t live near the beach.)

    Education:
    College Degree (I’ve got two, an associates and bs)

    Experience:
    Serious aspiring writer
    primarily interested in writing fiction

    primarily use Windows XP: Yep
    primarily use Microsoft Word: Yep

    read The Writer: A few times
    read Poets & Writers: Nope
    read Publisher’s Weekly: Nope

    visit WritersMarket.com: Nope
    visit Publisher’s Weekly (pw.com): Nope
    visit MediaBistro.com: Nope

    Hope that helps.

  10. Scott B.

    I’m in the CA-12%, under 40, and male category; aspiring.
    Current English undergrad at University of the Pacific.
    I can’t help myself, I live for fiction!…but I also love memoir and autobiography.

  11. Victoria E

    Age: 23
    Gender: Female
    State: California (but moving to Oregon in June)
    Education: High school diploma & some college (no degree)
    Experience: Published writer
    Primarily interested in writing non-fiction, but also interested in fiction and memoirs
    Use both Windows XP and Microsoft Word
    Don’t read The Writer, Poets & Writers or Publisher’s Weekly
    Visit MediaBistro.com

    Hope that helps 🙂

  12. Stephanie Humphreys

    Here goes-
    Age: 36
    Gender: Female
    State: n/a, I’m in Canada
    Education: some college
    Experience: Serious aspiring writer
    Interested in writing fiction
    Use Windows XP
    Use PageFour for all my writing, but Microsoft Word to prepare things to submit.
    I’ve subscribed to Writer’s Digest off and on for seven years.
    I pick up The Writer once in a while from the bookstore.

  13. Gabrielle Linnell

    I consider myself a deviator.

    I’m 16 (and I’ve been a WD subscribe for three or four years) and I live in Virginia. I’ve never been to college (done dual enrollment at community college) and I’m seriously aspiring to working as a full-time book editor (alongside serious aspirations to writing my own full-time books.) I, too, read The Writer, a dozen publishing blogs and a few writing e-zines. I, however, do not visit the online websites of most magazines, if that makes any sense.

  14. Joel Heffner

    67% are primarily interested in writing fiction
    40% also interested in writing screenplays
    39% also interested in writing non-fiction

    The fact that there are so many who probably want to write a novel is not surprising. The fact that an equal number want to write a screenplay as want to non-fiction is very surprising. I would have also asked how many do any copywriting to earn money.

    As I have found from the authors who have contributed to How We Became Writers, the trail to becoming a writer is very varied and usually very interesting.

  15. Mary

    My stats –
    Age: 33
    Gender: Female
    State: n/a, I’m in Canada
    Education: some college
    Experience: Serious aspiring writer
    Interested in writing fiction
    Use Windows XP
    Use Microsoft Word sometimes, mostly I use Liquid Story Binder for all my writing
    I read The Writer
    I visit visit WritersMarket.com

    It should be interesting to hear from other readers of the blog!

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