Canadian Magazine Freelancers Survey: The results
The big day is here! Tonight, the National Magazine Awards will be handed out at the annual awards gala, where Canada’s journalists will sashay down the red carpet in their designer duds and borrowed gems from Tiffany’s, wave to the screaming crowds and pose for the paparazzi, stopping now and then to sign their fans’ dog-eared copies of last year’s hottest issues.
Right? No? Oh, okay. Either way, it’ll be fun. And here are the results of our Canadian Magazine Freelancers Survey, which asked respondents both how things were going for them in the magazine freelance biz and which publications and journalists they think should take home some hardware tonight at the NMAs.
Are you doing more or less freelance work for Canadian magazines than a year ago?
If you’re working less for Canadian magazines, it is because (respondents could select multiple answers):
You are now in a full-time job: 28.6%
You couldn’t make ends meet as a freelancer: 28.6%
There isn’t as much work as there used to be: 28.6%
You’re doing corporate or other types of writing instead: 42.9%
The industry is less fulfilling than it used to be: 28.6%
The editorial process has become too onerous: 0
Magazines are now demanding an increasing number of rights (digital, electronic, syndication etc) without appropriate compensation: 42.9%
Other, please specify: 14.3% (Sample response: “Went back to school, in part because of bad market for magazine freelancers.”)
How much of your freelance writing income is derived from online-only publications compared to a year ago?
0-20% more: 16.7%
20-40% more: 16.7%
40-60% more: 0
+60% more: 0
What was the best story you read in a Canadian magazine in 2010?
Me and My Dad, Heather O’Neill (Chatelaine)
A 10% World, James Mackinnon (Walrus)
10-Percent World, J.B. MacKinnon
“Testing the Waters,” Kate Barker (explore)
Michael Bryant’s Very Bad Year, Leah McLaren
What the elephants know, Nick Hune-Brown (Toronto Life)
Still Waiting, by Linda Goyette
Swordsman Wanted, Patrick Scalisi (Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine)
Fatherhood, Marcello Di Cintio
Exodus, Doug Saunders (Outpost)
George Smitherman vs Himself, Gerald Hannon
Toronto Police Farce, Derek Finkle
(Not all respondents answered the question, or some replied “can’t think of any” or “none in particular stand out.”)
Who was the best Canadian magazine editor you worked with in 2010?
James Little (Explore Magazine)
Matt O’Grady (BCBusiness)
Susan Nerberg (enRoute)
Dan Rubinstein (Canadian Geographic)
Carmine Starnino (Reader’s Digest)
Michael McCullough (Alberta Venture)
Graham Scott (This Magazine)
Michael Totzke (Canadian Interiors)
Lianne George (Eye Weekly)
(A sampling of the responses; not all respondents answered the question.)
What publication is, in your opinion, the Canadian magazine of the year for 2010?
Most common responses:
The Walrus (overwhelming winner)
(A sampling of responses; some respondents opted not to answer the question.)
What Canadian magazine is noticeably slipping/losing its mojo lately?
Toronto Life (nearly half of the responses that named a publication)
Avenue Magazine, Calgary
(This is a sampling of the answers, and not all respondents answered the question; another common answer was “none.”)
What Canadian magazine pays you most promptly upon invoice?
A wide variety of publications were named in response to this question, with no distinct trends. The publications that received the most mentions were Reader’s Digest, Maclean’s, and Cottage Life. Other common responses were variations of “none, they are all slow” or “all my clients pay promptly.”
Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine
What was the longest a magazine took to pay an invoice of yours since the start of 2010?
Less than 60 days: 15%
More than 60 days: 20%
More than 90 days: 25%
More than 120 days: 15%
More than 6 months: 20%
More than a year: 5%
Which magazine took the longest to pay one of your 2010 invoices?
Air Canada Vacations
(Other responses that didn’t name magazines included : “none” and “mags were all 30-60 days,” which is nice to hear, isn’t it?)
Who was your favourite National Magazine Awards emcee of all time?
Scott Feschuk (most mentions)
How often do you think the layers of judges who score magazine submissions to the NMAs choose the correct winners?
More often than not: 57.9%
Other than the time I won, never: 0
[Note: We've opted to remove the responses to the question "Who was the least effective editor you worked with in 2010?"]