Party On, Niches

Print’s not dead yet. Magazines with ultra-specific target audiences show signs of good health that mainstream outlets would kill for — lots of ads, glossy paper, high reader engagement. We dug through “Writer’s Market 2011,” a dictionary-thick listing of publications seeking freelancers, and selected 50 or so that accept “general interest” stories. These are the ones that answered our emails. We hope they’ll answer our emails when we need jobs, too.

Modern Drunkard

irregularly, $24 for six issues, Drunkard.com
Target audience: Functional alcoholics who want cocktail recipes, alcohol history and validation that it’s not a disease if you don’t go to the doctor.
Vocabulary:
“Ye Olde Drinking Slang, Circa 1851” lists “Master of the Wardrobe,” meaning one who sells his clothes to buy booze.
Useful in real life:
A chart explaining the worst possible alcohols you can buy, including rotgut, absinthe and Bacardi 151. “Isn’t it what fire eaters use to, you know, shoot fire out of their mouths?” the chart notes.
Best headline:
“Let’s Get Bombed! Booze In the Atomic Age”
Personality in need of an AMC drama:
The star of serialized detective story “Rip Griffin, Drinking Detective.” Griffin is basically Sam Spade if you soaked Sam Spade in whiskey and set him on fire.

Chile Pepper

bimonthly, $6, Chilepepper.com
Target audience: People who love their taste buds so much they want to shower them in flame.
Vocabulary: “Chile” is the pepper. “Chili” is the soup. Don’t mix them up.
Useful in real life: You really can incorporate chiles into every meal, as evidenced by the Habanero Apple Crisp recipe showcased in the January/February issue.
Best headline: “Ghana Make You Smile,” about chile pepper farming in Ghana.
To be continued: An ongoing series called “Chile Pepper’s Rib Challenge,” a search for the best ribs in the country.
Writer most deserving of syndication or possibly a spot on “Hoarders”: Vic Clinco, who writes the “Sauce and Tell” column, owns more than 4,000 bottles of the hot sauce.

Living Aboard

bimonthly, $5, Livingaboard.com
Target audience: Those who either do or aspire to live aboard their boats full time.
Vocabulary: “Liveaboards” are people who make their home on the water.
Real-life application: The tips for shedding belongings would help even the most land-bound hoarder.
Best headline: “Dock Approach Anxiety.”
Poet’s corner: The November/December issue features a poem called “Ode to My Dinghy Pump.”

Muzzle Blasts

monthly, $4, Nmlra.org
Target audience: Members of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association; people who like their guns the way the Founding Fathers carried them.
Vocabulary: “Blank load” means the gun will go boom but you won’t kill anybody.
Useful in real life: The January 2012 edition teaches you how to stalk a deer so slowly and carefully you can get right up to it before you kill it with your flintlock rifle.
Best headline: “Tecumseh’s Tomahawk and the War of 1812.” (Muzzle Blasts does not care for witty puns.)
Fashion to revive: Many of the men pictured are wearing actual coonskin caps.

Rosicrucian Digest

biannual, read for free at Rosicrucian.org
Target audience: Members of the Worldwide Rosicrucian Order, and any other seekers of truth who want to know about Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and Christian mysticism.
Vocabulary: The “Corpus Hermeticum” is a book written by third-century A.D. Egyptian mystics about Hermes Trismegistus, a mashup of gods Hermes and Thoth.
Useful in real life: “With loving performance of these techniques [vowel chanting, meditation and ‘inner silence’], we will modify our mundane vibrations into more and more subtle ones.” Translation: Quiet your mind and you’ll find God.
Best headline: “I Was a Priestess at Delphi: A Historical Meditation”
Personality in need of a daytime talk show: Christian Bernard, “Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order.” He even has his own official insignia.

Renaissance

bimonthly, $6, Renaissancemagazine.com
Target audience: People who don’t so much go to Renaissance fairs as live for Renaissance fairs.
Vocabulary: The “groom of the stool” was the lucky courtier who got to take care of the backside of Henry VIII after bathroom visits.
Useful in real life: Crafters, rejoice! For now, you can learn to make “no-hassle tassels.” In another article, a seamstress recommends using old curtains to create costumes for a noble.
Best headline: “Didst Thou Know?” is the name of the brief trivia pieces.
Breakout personalities: All the busty women raising money for breast cancer research by appearing in the Dresslikeapirate.com “Booty for Boobies” advertisement in issue No. 80.

Chemical Heritage

three times per year, free subscription with donation to the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Chemheritage.org
Target audience: Science, not just chemical, lovers — Chemical Heritage teeters on the border between niche and general interest.
Best headline: “Painless Dreams: Visions of Early Anesthesia,” the story that accompanies the evocative cover image above.
Useful in real life: A spoon made out of the element gallium looks like aluminum and melts in hot liquids. Tea-drinking friends, consider yourself punk’d.
Cocktail party tidbit: “Calorie” was first linked with nutrition during World War I, in the context of rationing. It didn’t gain weight-loss connotations until the 1920s.

Mushing: The Magazine of Dog-Powered Adventure

bimonthly, $5, Mushing.com
Target audience: Devotees of sports in which dogs pull stuff over snow.
Vocabulary: “Skijoring,” a winter sport in which dogs (or horses or motor vehicles) pull humans on skis.
Useful in real life: Howling Dog Alaska’s Ear Protector ($11, Howlingdogalaska.com), designed to prevent frostbite in racing dogs, is useful for keeping long-eared dogs’ ears out of the food dish.
Best headline: “The Unfortunate Death of a Not Very Good Sled Dog.” You don’t even have to read the story to know it will end in bawling.
Personalities in need of an “Animal Planet” show: Miriam Cooper, who writes about “connecting to sled dogs on a more personal level” in her “Off the Trail” column; and Ichabod and Hermes, her sensitive, handsome, once-troubled lead dogs.

Infinite Energy

bimonthly, $6, Infinite-energy.com
Target audience: The “Magazine of New Energy Science and Technology” has broadened since its founding in 1995, when it focused on cold fusion. Now it aims for readers also interested in cosmology, quantum reality, relativity and other esoterica.
Vocabulary: A toxin showing “hormesis” is harmful in high doses, beneficial in low doses. When applied to radiation, this is quite the controversial claim.
More vocabulary: Don’t call combining two atomic nuclei to produce energy at room temperature “cold fusion.” The preferred term these days is “low-energy nuclear reaction.”
Best headline: “New Theory Applied to Important New Technologies.” This versatile headline can be used over and over.
Cocktail party tidbit: 

Grit

bimonthly, $5, Grit.com
Target audience: Those who embrace the “rural lifestyle tradition.” So, people who live in rural areas, and urbanites who raise chickens in their tiny backyards.
Vocabulary: “Boilers” are chickens raised for meat. “Layers” are the other kind. A fast-growing boiler breed can be ready for dinner in eight weeks.
Useful in real life: Buy the special issue on bread baking and make the pretzels. They don’t keep well, so you’ll have to eat all eight of them in one sitting, which was surprisingly easy.
New use for old issues of Express: A combination of large newspapers — “national papers like the New York Times and The Washington Post work great” — and mulch, layered over weeds, will kill weeds without harsh chemicals.
Cocktail party tidbit: A machine called the “Featherman Pro” will scald and pluck four chickens at once.

Blade

monthly, $6, Blademag.com
Target audience: Anyone who likes to collect things that slice and dice.
Vocabulary: A “field-use hunter” is a knife taken by a hunter to dress the animal after killing.
Useful in real life: They test knives by stabbing them into the Yellow Pages and cutting pine stakes, rope, cardboard boxes and dense foam, so you should, too.
Best headline: “Going Hogue,” about Hogue knives.
Cocktail party tidbit: Victorian ladies’ pocketknives usually included a buttonhook for buttoning shoes or corsets.

Highway News and Good News

monthly, free, Transportforchrist.org
Target audience: Christian and Christian-curious truck drivers.
Vocabulary: A “four-wheeler” is a regular car.
Useful in real life: There are chapels in truck stops all across the country for anyone who needs a little spiritual refreshment.
Best headline: “Chaplain’s Log” has a nice “Star Trek” ring to it.

Written by Holly J. Morris, Kristen Page-Kirby and Fiona Zublin

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