Monday, September 9, 2013

Writing for Special Populations

Not long ago I went with a group of gal pals to see a popular musical geared towards older women. As we entered the theater an usher handed each of us a copy of Me* Magazine. My writer radar shot up. I didn’t have a lot of time to peruse the contents just then, but the next day I gave the publication a thorough going over. Lots of good stuff in there and all geared to a special population – women in that “certain stage” of life. Further speculation led me to wonder what other special populations are out there, and let me tell you, there are many. Following are some examples.

Almost every state has at least one publication that focuses on parenting. A Google search in any given state will turn up one or more links to follow. Simply type in the name of the state followed by “parenting magazine.” Often the publication will have tie-ins to a large city where you can do further research on education, family fun, health care or just about any subject of your choice for that region of the state.

To acclimate yourself to the idea of special populations, think of the people you regularly come into contact with. I have a good friend, a lovely woman, who is deaf. She gave me excellent insights into the handicapped world when I interviewed her for a book chapter assignment a few years ago. She helped me understand the world from a deaf perspective and lent authenticity to the article. And there was a bonus – new markets. Perhaps you have an inclination to try one of the following.

Odyssey is a magazine for the deaf put out by Gallaudet University. See guidelines at:

Christian Record Services for the blind publishes the online magazine Connected. Visit their website and scroll down on the page for guidelines. Very nice editor, too!

New Mobility magazine services people in wheelchairs. Here are the guidelines.

Subject matter is crucial when writing for special populations. Unlike writing for general niche markets, like woman’s, children’s or sports magazines, you’ll want to fashion your story more narrowly. Focus on whatever your target population is keenly interested in. That’s the mission and purpose of these publications. Don’t be afraid, either, to feel out the editor for pointers on shaping your piece.

It goes without saying that you should try to get a copy of each publication you’d like to write for. If you’re like me that means scouting out as many free ones as possible. Doctors and dentists offices are a good bet. Make friends with the receptionist and there’s a chance she’ll let you take the old ones home. Often there are multiple copies of a current magazine and a polite request will get one for you.

With a little effort your writer radar will turn up many more special population avenues for your work. Focus your attention towards life’s big stage and see what you find.

Happy Writing!

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. I think I missed moved? I checked different times over at the other one and no new posts. No wonder! Well, glad I found you here. :)

    1. Hi, Rhonda. Yup, had to move. Something went haywire on my old blog and I couldn't access my dashboard. Jennifer Brown Banks designed this new one for me. I announced of FB a couple of weeks ago. Glad to know you found me. Yay!