|Terry Plowman, Editor & Publisher
Delaware Beach Life has been named “2013 Business of the Year” by the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce. In 2009 it was named “Magazine of the Year” by the trade group, International Regional Magazine Association (called “international” because it includes member magazines in both the U.S. and Canada. Delaware Beach Life has won more than 50 awards since 2002 for writing, editing, photography and design.
Jan: Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk about your work. Tell us about your magazine Delaware Beach Life. What led you to decide to publish a regional magazine?
Terry: Coastal Delaware has long had good weekly newspapers that document local life, but no glossy magazine that focused on the unique qualities of year-round life in the coastal area. The statewide magazine, based in the metro/suburban areas way upstate, seemed to see coastal Delaware as a summer destination, so it focused mainly on that view. As a longtime resident, I felt that coastal Delaware had its own robust, dynamic, year-round community that could support “a magazine to call its own” as one reader said.
Jan: How did your years of prior experience as a newspaper editor help you as you’ve founded and developed your magazine over time?
Terry: The main benefit was the on-the-job training I got in Quark Xpress, Photoshop and other software. Those technical skills were key to being able to create a new publication anywhere that I could place a computer, allowing me to launch the magazine out of my home, with little overhead. Also, even though I had many connections throughout the community from having lived here since 1978, the connections I made through my newspaper editor position probably lent credibility to my new venture.
Jan: What are you looking for in the articles you select for publication? In other words – what kind of topics, lengths, focus?
Terry: Delaware Beach Life publishes mainly nonfiction features and profiles, and occasional commentaries, short fiction and poetry. Topics include local history, environmental issues, interesting people, the arts and political controversies. Feature lengths range from about 1,500 to 3,000 words, and departments run about 1,200 to 1,400. We also publish a popular Beach Briefs section with a mix of short pieces. The focus must be COASTAL DELAWARE. Even when I put that in all caps to writers, I still get queries that are not focused on our area. Not being focused on coastal Delaware is the main reason for rejection of a proposed topic. Another common problem is proposing a topic we’ve already written about in recent years.
Jan: What tips can you offer to writers when they query you about a story or feature?
Terry: Make sure your proposal is focused on coastal Delaware! Read back issues to get a sense of what we’ve published before, and make sure the topic and quality of writing fits in with that, but doesn’t repeat what we’ve done in recent years. We don’t do “advertorial” or stories about single businesses (although we do write about business topics in general). Local libraries have back issues, and digital versions are online at