What you thought about 2018, and what you want for 2019
With the year winding down, I wanted to take a look back at how Medieval Warfare magazine has performed over the last 12 months. One of the ways I do that is to check the feedback we get from our readers, and I wanted to share some of that with you.
A few weeks after we send out a new issue, we will email some of our subscribers at random and ask them to fill out a short survey. We just ask for their thoughts about the issue and what they would like to see in the future. We get a lot of responses, and I read every message. I find it very useful in understanding what our readers are enjoying.
The issues that got the best reactions in 2018 were Issue 1 - John Hawkwood and the Condottieri and Issue 2 - The English Invasion of Wales - with a lot of compliments on the themes and the quality of the articles. William Caferro’s piece on John Hawkwood’s career was very much appreciated by our readers, as was John Kenyon’s article on Edward I’s building of castles in Wales.
As for non-theme’s articles, I got a lot of positive feedback on Adam Ali’s “Warriors of the Abbasid Caliphate” from Issue 4. That article dealt with peoples and periods that hasn't got much coverage by us so far, and many of readers want to see more of that in future issues.
I don’t get many criticisms in the surveys, but something that comes up regularly is that you are looking for articles that are more in-depth. Some of you like the size of the articles the way they are, but no one has told me they want shorter pieces. Therefore, you will be seeing some longer articles that are more comprehensive and thorough - starting with the next issue where Michael Livingston is writing about the Battle of Agincourt.
In terms of subject matter, we get a lot of requests to have articles on different places and topics. Some of the messages I’ve got include:
Please cover: I would like to see more about small-scale local conflicts (like war between Italian towns or German leagues) or something about the Visconti family.
I'm generally most interested in the non-martial consequences of great battles. It's always fun to watch how the politics, finances and families affected the flow of the battles.
The Barons' Wars of King John and King Henry III. Also, the 'Anarchy' - the war between King Stephen and Matilda in dispute over the succession to Henry I after the loss of his son, William Atheling.
Other requests include more on China, the Baltic region, the Mongols, and early medieval peoples like the Vandals and Visigoths. The most often asked for articles relate to English warfare - the Anglo-Saxon era, William Marshal, and Richard the Lionheart are popular topics! We will do our best to accommodate, and in 2019 we will have themes on the Wars of the Roses and the Battle of Neville's Cross.
One suggestion I’ve got is to have more analysis of tactics, especially on the battlefield. I’m thinking about creating an ongoing column where we look at different battles to understand why medieval commanders made certain decisions on where and how to fight. Hopefully we can start that in 2019.
Lastly, we often get asked to include more maps, and I will try to give more work to my map-makers! I really love having them in the magazine too - both medieval maps and custom-made ones that focus on a territory or battlefield.
Overall I think our audience has really been enjoying the magazine, and I am very grateful for your support! I’m looking forward to making Medieval Warfare even better in 2019, and, as always, I love to get your feedback.