Print media has taken a significant hit. The rise of digital platforms as well as a dip in the economy over the last decade have left the industry shell-shocked. However, there have been exceptions. The likes of NoBrow opened their doors in 2008 and Port Magazine was founded as recently as 2011. As a select few independent publishers seem to have bucked the “print is dead” trend, long form stories have found a new niche, and moreover, a new home on our shelves.
So You Want To Publish A Magazine from Laurence King and Angharad Lewis, co-editor of Grafik magazine, offers insight into the career of an independent publisher and acts as a guidebook for those who wish to take their ideas to print.
The book’s ten chapters aim to bring you the nuts and bolts of magazine publishing. From budgeting and distribution to design and print, it has the requisite material to bring you through every stage of the journey.
Lewis collects together case studies and thought-provoking interviews from the people at the fore of successful indie magazines, such as Monocle’s Tyler Brûlé, The Gentlewoman’s Penny Martin, and Jefferson Hack, the founder of the independent empire that is Dazed Group. These insightful dialogues give us a behind-the-scenes look at the development and resounding success that these publications have become.
While the book’s focus is primarily on print, Lewis discusses the possibilities of the Internet as an essential tool for marketing, interaction and awareness. Whether it’s spreading the word, getting feedback from your audience or simply keeping a reader’s attention between print issues, a magazine needs to work well within both the digital and physical worlds. Stand-alone digital content and mastering the art of social media are necessary facets of publishing today, and as such, are discussed as a vital element in the book.
So You Want To Publish A Magazine cannot offer sure-fire methods on how to build a successful publication (such a thing is near-alchemy), but it contains a career’s worth of industry information and seasoned advice. It acts as a mentor rather than blueprint and offers solutions for how to conquer the mountain of turning an idea into something more. This book is a must-have for any magazine lover looking to take the next step, to jump in the ring, to go from admirer to creator.
Angharad Lewis’ So You Want To Publish A Magazine is available from Laurence King here. You might also be interested in Matt Willey’s, (co-founder of Port and more recently Creative Director of Avaunt), OFFSET 2015 talk here and former Bloomberg Businessweek creative director, Richard Turley’s 2014 talk here.
Words and photos by Lauren Pritchard