Recently an article came into our editorial department from the "Publishing Executive" December 2008 issue about luring readers into actually reading your content. These are things to avoid. I thought I would share them with you. Whether you write fiction or magazine articles, they can apply.
Rule 1: Give'em more, more, more: Readers will decide to look at it later and we all know what later means.
Rule 2: Test-heavy means that's where the good stuff is: Too much text is certain death.
Rule 3: This issue is great: Readers take just 2-5 seconds to decide to read a page or not. (Terri's note: This is very true in descriptive heavy fiction.)
Rule 4: I'm not an artist: Think of your text as speaking. We stress what's worth stressing by our diction...do so in your writing.
Rule 5: Make headlines bigger: A small font in the same amount of space can be a big attention grabber. It says I'm important, look at me.
Rule 6: Headlines are the most important: Actually, captions are the most important. The photos draw the eye, the captions draw the interest.
Rule 7: Visual "wow": Be suspicious of visual fireworks, whizzbang, color, weird layouts and peculiar typefaces. They take away from the meat and become a "show" unto themselves.
Rule 8: The more color, the better: Never consider one page as individual, view it as part of a whole.
Rule 9: Design isn't critical: Think of it as editorial tool revealing content, organizing sequence, guiding the reader.
How do you feel about these rules?