Monday, 8 August 2011

If You're Going To Read Someone's Diary ...

... I would recommend this one.

In September 2009, Rachel Johnson took over as the editor of The Lady, the oldest women's weekly magazine in the world, and was charged with turning the magazine around and increasing its circulation.

This diary is an account of her first twelve months and is absolutely hilarious. It's not an insight into what happens in a typical magazine, but for those interested in writing for magazines, it certainly shows how frenetic putting together a magazine can be.

I should offer a word of warning ... to those who may have sent in articles to The Lady during Rachel's first year of office. Occasionally, she starts her daily diary by listing the post that has come in, which includes detailing the outlines of some of the articles and proposals that freelance writers have submitted. Don't panic, she doesn't name names, but if you sent in something you might recognise it ... and not like Rachel's comments. (But then, shame on you for not doing your market analysis properly!)

Not only is it revealing about the sort of material that writers send to editors, but the lengths an editor goes to get the front cover image they're looking for is interesting. I was a bit surprised to read about Rachel going into her nearest Tescos store and comparing how the front cover of The Lady looked on the shelf, with the covers of Take a Break, Chat and the "juggernaut" that is The People's Friend. (I must admit, I've never thought of The People's Friend as a juggernaut!).

Anyway, if you want to know how Rachel got on during her first year as editor (a role she hadn't done since her University student days) then this is a great read.

For more information, click here.

Good luck!


  1. It sounds an excellent read. I read a couple of the new magazine's issues and loved it.

    Fascinating to know that even someone at that level relies so heavily on basic research.

  2. I bought this on my Kindle yesterday after reading your post, and have abandoned all my other reads. It's fascinating.Fortunately I have never send in a query so shan't be shamed, but I think a lot of us have The Lady on our market wishlist.

  3. Am hitting the library for her other titles too:) Thanks for the "new" writer recommendation.