My interview on the ShowMe Food Podcast

May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Here’s an interview about The New Territory just before its release.

Finding a printer for my magazine

January 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

I Googled this subject line. Results include:

  • A Wikihow page riddled with exclamation points by an author who maybe has published a Zine or taken a marketing class.
  • A magazine startup guide on MagazinePublisher.com. MagazinePublisher.com’s logo uses the Impact font.
  • Various businesses offering to print your magazines.

Of course, these never answered, “How much will printing a magazine cost?” How could they? Every publication is different. When I searched for a printer for The New Territory, I didn’t use any guides and didn’t bother with services online. In fact, I probably spent relatively little time deciding. That said, I humbly offer this case study as an alternative to generic instructions.

mock1_cover

Mock cover of The New Territory, designed by Kerri Voyles.

How we decided how our magazine would look

Woo, hey, this is important: What’s the footprint (dimensions) of the magazine, and how many pages are you going to print?

Over the holidays, Katie—yes, the Katie of roadtrip fame, and now NT’s creative director (!)—and I fanned a couple dozen magazines over a table in a coffee shop. We talked the tactile aspect of magazines (likes: Offscreen’s size and subtle embossing, how ink soaks into non-gloss paper like the great photos on The Outpost; dislikes: Fast Company’s sandpaper cover, the disposable feel of Harper’s despite some of the most timeless and valuable journalism). We walked away with some pretty firm priorities that helped limit our decisions.

  1. Quality material: While I’ve been leaning toward a higher-end feel to the printing, the democracy-loving journalist in me cried a little. But, as Katie’s business-savvy husband coached, the magazine is a product, and to convince people to buy it, it needs to feel special. We can still post policy-important stories for free online, but the print product will be exclusive. So, thicker paper, perfect binding (versus stapled or saddle stitched), here we come.
  2. Size: Small-size publications that would fit well on a bookshelf just feel permanent. Since we’re indie, quarterly and longform, this seems like the right size for us at this time. If we increase frequency, we might redesign to mimic regular magazines, but for now we’re going small and thick.
  3. Local: The only firm focuses of NT is our regional scope, so we want to source locally whenever possible. And, it’s been really nice to visit printers in person, touch all their papers, see their titles, get good shipping rates, and know that if when I have boxes of leftover copies, I can just go pick them up and not have to pay for shipment.
  4. Responsible paper sourcing: We all come from strong roots in sustainability, so if possible, we want to lighten our environmental impact.

What printers offer, and how much they cost:

Turns out, mid-Missouri has several businesses in the national magazine printing scene. I researched a few and visited two. I share the following information for your comparison purposes:

Printer A: 96 pages, with a 60# soft gloss paper and 80# matte cover in 8.5″ x 11″*
* This company runs a web printer, so setup costs are high. The sales rep told me we could go as small as we want, but the web printer doesn’t have a lot of flexibility and whatever margins we slice off would end up recycled. And we’d pay the same price either way. So we were only quoted for a standard paper size.

1,000 copies: $5,306.16 (or $5.31/copy)

2,000 copies: $5,784.35 (or $2.89/copy)

My takeaway from this company was that they were really good, and they’re really well equipped to do big print runs. But, they said, until we can print about 5,000 copies, they aren’t able to do any custom orders on paper. The basic paper options were either too glossy or too low-budget-feeling for our tastes, too. So, the search continued.

#magazines #printing #printingpress #paper #ink #midwest #midmo

A video posted by Tina Casagrand (@gasconader) on Oct 23, 2015 at 8:01am PDT

 

Printer B: 96 pages, with 60# offset paper and 80# accent opaque cover in 8.5″ x 11″*
* Listing here for comparison purposes.

1,000 copies: $4,394.26 (or $4.39/copy)

2,000 copies: $5,432.80 (or $2.71/copy)

in 7″ x 10″*
* This printer does sheet printing, so they could fit more pages onto a sheet if we go this size or smaller.

1,000 copies: $4,332.98 (or $4.33/copy)

2,000 copies: $5,326.03 (or $2.66/copy)

Of course, I understand knocking down the size means less space to put words and pictures—and thus we are actually diminishing our potential by rolling with 7×10. But it’s a principle and damnit, we’re standing on it.

Also, since this printer has equipment more attuned to smaller print runs, we save a lot of money on the upfront cost. “Once you get to 20,000, you might want to explore other options,” the sales rep told me. I’ll be super happy if we can get the first 1,000 in peoples’ hands for this first issue, so that is a-ok for now.

 

I also noticed that even though I told my sales reps we would be printing 128-page minimums, which is still within their 16-page signature standard, I always got quotes for 96 pages. I don’t know if that’s to not lose us at sticker shock, or if 96 is some sort of industry standard. But just so you know, we do hope to be thicker than 96 pages.

Other things to keep in mind when choosing a magazine printer:

1.) How the company will ship. Both these printers are equipped to take your mailing list and ship it out under their media license (Printer B even had a USPS office on-site), so they were pretty equal in that category.

2.) What other custom printing options they can offer. Do you want blow-in cards (those little subscription cards that fall out whenever you pick up magazines from the grocery store)? Do you want your magazine packaged in a poly bag, so you don’t have to design a name label on the cover (Printer A charges $50/1,000, plus a $75 setup fee)? Special inserts? Custom covers? Printer A prints its special covers through a “mothership” partner the specializes in yearbooks. Printer B has a little machine that can do embossing and metallic foiling on-site, but they still have to order die cuts for the process. These are all things you ought to consider ahead of time and ask during a visit.

Another option for self-publishing:

Like I said, I didn’t bother looking at online options, but when I scanned a few sites today, it looked like they were targeting companies just printing magazines as a sidenote, AND the sites charged more upfront than the local presses.

However, if you’re lucky enough to live near an “Espresso Book Machine,” that might be an option for a micro-run of a magazine. The Mizzou Book Store has one, and it does good stuff! The quality feels a little homespun, and the cost per copy is going to be higher, but the store keeps all their projects on file and can print on demand for you anytime. When I taught writing at the Missouri Scholars Academy last year, we got 25 copies of our class book proofed and printed in the span of 3 hours, and with the university discount, it cost just under $5 for a ~60-page book in 7″ x 10″. Not too shabby!

Alright, that’s all I know. Or–is it? I bet if you have questions, I have an answer. Leave me a comment!

« Read the rest of this entry »

{ How to run a one-man magazine show }

September 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Kai Brach is founder and publisher of indie mag Offscreen, a print book about the tech world. On its website, Brach blogs often about magazine making in a much more informed and succinct manner than I. He also gives talks on his process, and I’ll dissect one because I listened to it this morning and loved every minute.

Things he does that are different and/or practical and/or rad

  • Make a spreadsheet of the content plan! Ah, if only I could zoom into that video.
  • Use Google Docs as people enter their contributions.
  • Make a calm, sophisticated, thoughtful, approachable and friendly layout, to counter the hyperlinked world of the Offscreen audience.
  • Use 100% recycled paper! It even has woody debris?
  • Replace advertising with unified sponsorships. A reader told him they read every single word of the magazine, including the advertisements. Brill. Eee. Ent.
  • Go through stockists rather than traditional newsstands. I have put blinders on the idea that distributors take 20% of your cover price, and retailers keep another 40%. Plus, once it’s off the newsstand, the issue is sent to the crematory. “I don’t want to see my babies destroyed,” he said. Neither do I!!
  • He asks his subjects for photographer suggestions. Since this is an international title, it makes sense that you wouldn’t have a robust global network, especially at first. Could still apply to a regional magazine.
  • He also, somewhere in there, mentioned that he found people much like I’ve been finding people: Twitter, clicking links, reaching out. That’s encouraging, too. 🙂

And here’s a more recent talk, just as open and interesting as before.

Offscreen is donating $10 of all single issue purchases to help refugees in Europe, hopefully through the rest of the day (it’s already Thursday in Melbourne, oops).

Kai! You’re an inspiration! Keep doing what you do, and I intend to join your print club soon. « Read the rest of this entry »

{ How To Make Money With Magazines: A Dreamer’s Guide }

September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Coverage Area-01Whaddup, readers. If I’ve been a wee bit absent, it’s because, this time, I’m actually moving forward with making a magazine instead of just blogging about magazine-making.

Cue the trumpets: We’re calling it The New Territory, and it’s going to feature the south-central U.S. in full color: a general scope of genres and topics, with a proudly regional focus. Of course I’ll discuss my process here, but The Gasconader will remain first and foremost a cheering/advice section for all kinds of magazines and Midwest art projects. To follow progress on The New Territory (TNT) specifically, subscribe to my new newsletter, The Roar of Discovery.

So. The last newsletter’s subject was getting “Down to Business,” and I highlighted some ideas for generating revenue for this title. After several years working in and around nonprofits as well as small businesses, establishing TNT as a self-sustaining for-profit company is important to me. Going for-profit is a rare approach for magazine focused on meaningful storytelling (rather than lifestyle, say), especially in our region. The only one that comes to mind is This Land Press in Oklahoma. Columbia Journalism Review did a great story about them back in 2012.

While I try to keep a close eye on both editorial and business ends of magazine-making, there’s still a ton to learn. I’m taking a moment today, using The New Territory as an example, to discuss different approaches to revenue and profit. If you want a primer on why it’s a good idea to diversify funding strategies, start with this Nieman Labs article, “The newsonomics of small things.”

Here’s how I weighed each idea, and keep in mind, I have raised precisely -$300 for the project so far. So maybe you should be schooling me. « Read the rest of this entry »

{ “Cool Pastoral Splendor” kicks off a new series of rural field guides }

April 23, 2015 § 1 Comment

M12, an international rural arts collective, just published two cool little books. From a publications standpoint, they’re really interesting: small “field guides” of ephemera, published as a series. Like erudite zines. Here’s what M12 said about the project in an email, sent yesterday:

The Center Pivot Series is produced by Last Chance Press (M12) in collaboration with Jap Sam Books. Each of the volumes is produced in a limited edition of 250 copies and formatted as a small field guide. Through interdisciplinary approaches, this series explores and connects the changing realities of rural landscapes and communities around the world. The books present an array of curated notes, documents, and research ephemera combined with images, poetry, and more formal visual and written works. Each volume is assembled and edited by M12 Studio. M12 is pleased to be working closely with publisher Jap Sam Books and designer Peter de Kan on these editions. The “spinning horse” logo for the Last Chance Press books and records has been designed by American artist Star Wallowing Bull (Ojibwe-Arapaho, b. 1973).

Cool Pastoral Splendor (No. 01)
“Cool Pastoral Splendor includes a selection of pictures from Richard Saxton’s Rural Research Archive and accompanying writings by Kurt Wagner. Saxton and Wagner are among a rare breed of artists focusing on the non-heroic, psychic and lyrical unfolding of daily events. Both Saxton and Wagner infuse the work with their own rural experiences, but no single genre or culture captures the whole of these intentions. Cool Pastoral Splendor leaves us in search of beauty hidden in plain sight.”  -Kirsten Stoltz

An Equine Anthology (No. 02)
“An Equine Anthology stitches together non-linear histories, testimonies, and interpretations of equine culture from the American Southwest and beyond. Far from representing binaries of the romantic and mundane, of personality and commodity, An Equine Anthology presents the reader with a broad topographical view of the horse, an image that reaches well beyond that of American mythology. M12’s anthology combines poetics with research methodologies that delve into the unseen, hidden, and overlooked to create a work that is greater than the sum of its parts.”  – Sanjit Sethi, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute

M12 is primarily concerned with art, research, education and outreach, so it makes sense for them to culminate their work into publications. They started with a book chronicling their ten years of work, so now I’m interested to see where the Center Pivot Series goes.

{ In which I profess my love for Belt Magazine }

March 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

If I could point to a publication that’s doing—conceptually—what I’d like to do, I’d throw my whole stance, Lewis-and-Clark-style, toward Belt Magazine. Belt doesn’t just “lead the pack” in Midwest publishing. It is the pack. A lone wolf, if you will. And as the print-anthology and online-journalism publication heads toward its third year, I’m still as excited about it as when it first came out. Born of a Cleveland writing anthology, Belt Publishing is creating a platform for Midwest writers to congregate and do just damn good work.

Belt Magazine publishes independent journalism about the Rust Belt. Online only, it launched in September 2013, and focuses on longform journalism, op-eds and first person essays of interest to the Rust Belt and beyond.

Belt Magazine publishes independent journalism about the Rust Belt. Online only, it launched in September 2013, and focuses on longform journalism, op-eds and first person essays of interest to the Rust Belt and beyond.

Tomorrow I’ll post a quick interview with Belt’s editor, Anne Trubek. But first, here’s why I think the magazine is so important:

Belt bolsters Midwest regional writing.

“There are a number of high-quality regional publications,” founder and publisher Anne Trubek told The American Prospect. “The New Yorker is the most obvious one—you don’t think of it as regional but it is. Texas Monthly and Pacific Standard are other good examples. There’s not a single example in the Midwest. People read those publications who aren’t in those regions because they’re interested in them, or because the writing is very good. That’s what I would like Belt to be seen as, and become.”

{ See also, “Midwest Lit: the new nostalgia.” }

It’s identified a regional audience for Belt not so much by geography as history.

Which is a little academic, a little heady. And I love it for that.

Trubek again: “There are a lot of similar issues in these cities that had their peaks around the same time, are facing similar problems now with housing and manufacturing loss. They have incredible cultural institutions that are about the same age, similar immigration patterns—there are so many commonalities.”

{ See also, “Where is the Rust Belt?” }

It curates sophisticated, serious, longform journalism and first-person essays.

Some of my favorites include this piece on Pittsburgh’s Conflict Kitchen, a fascinating investigation of a county probate judge’s weird attempts to take down the local parks district, and “A Middle-Aged Student’s Guide to Social Work.” There’s an underlying, unapologetic certainty that social justice, culture and the environment deserve deep journalistic dissection.

“We’re trying to avoid the trap of page views, which snares you into a cycle of putting out more and more things. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that strategy, but if everything’s like that then you’re going to lose certain kinds of writing.”

I also love this closing quote from a Nieman Labs interview, in which Trubek takes a firm stance that people in Rust Belt cities should care about what’s going on in other Rust Belt cities. That there should be a way to get “Clevelanders to read about Buffalo,” for example. This is bold. Most publishers would approach this the other way, right? See what ideas are viable among communities, and then choose a philosophic approach? I’m interested to see if/how Belt might influence the regional identity.

Trubek has pretty much insisted that women be published equally.

At one point, I went to social media and said if we don’t get more women pitching I’m just going to shut down Belt for a week.” – Trubek, to the American Prospect.

Annnnnd its first print magazine is all about wildlife.

I’m in love.

{ Read more about Redhorse: The Rust Belt Bestiary. } « Read the rest of this entry »

{ When in doubt, give magazine subscriptions }

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Heyyyy it’s 5 days ’til Christmas, and if you’re like me on a typical holiday schedule, you’ve probably forgotten to buy gifts your best friend, or you haven’t found the right thing for your boss who you love, or you’re just a few bucks away from filling that Secret Santa box. You know what comes in handy in times like these?

Magazine subscriptions!

Forget shopping and wrapping. Just grab a card and say, “Hey, I got you this magazine subscription.” And then every time an issue comes in the mail, your special person will think of you. [ Insert obligatory comment about “the gift that keeps on giving” here ] If you really want to wrap something, you could go to Barnes & Noble and buy the latest issue.

Here’s a short list of high-quality magazines that I sure would love to give some people (and then promptly borrow). Most of them are actually not stocked at Barnes & Noble, and that’s what makes them special. They fill niches that generalist newsstand publications don’t, and limited distribution = really hip.

{ FOR THE 20-SOMETHING }

The Intentional Quarterly is a literary and culture magazine pretty much aimed right at Millennials. They publish stimulating art and articles about everything from the sex trade to navigating neighbors of deep backwoods Ozarks.

Subscribe for their Christmas special: $25 for 4 issues

And if you want to get super-niche about it, you might consider Intern magazine, meant to empower young interns in the creative industry through showcases and social dissection. They don’t seem to do print subscriptions, but you can get a digital one here.

{ FOR THE CULTURALLY CURIOUS }

The Outpost is a magazine of possibilities about the Middle East. It’s English-language, it’s intelligently designed, it’s engaging and well-reported, and the paper just feels great. If you can’t afford a trip to Beirut, I promise this will get you close.

Get a 2-issue subscription for $30

{ FOR ANYONE }

n+1 is a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics published three times a year. Each 200-page issue contains essays, fiction, translation, and reviews “by the best American writers you’ve never heard of.”

Subscribe for their Christmas special: $30 for 3 issues and online digital access to 10 years of the publication

And then there’s the classic Harper’s, which is a great pick for a print subscription because they notoriously don’t publish their content online. Old-fashioned, perhaps, but that makes the physical book all the more valuable. Look for monthly political and cultural commentary, great longform journalism and fascinating ephemera.

Subscribe online now and pay $30 for 12 issues, or try finding the fly-in cards at your local bookshop. I got my subscription that way for just $18.

{ FOR THE SCIENCE APPRECIATOR }

I say “science appreciator” because let’s face it, some scientists want only the facts. These are facts enhanced with culture and philosophy. The Nautilus Quarterly publishes online and in print, and the print copy (from what I’m told) is worth the hefty price. It contains some of the online magazine’s best content, brand new original contributions from the world’s best thinkers, and gorgeous full-color full-page art (like the current issue, from Ralph Steadman).

Subscribe: $49 for 4 issues

{ FOR THE NATURE LOVER }

I received Orion as a gift from my cousin Kim for several years, and would subscribe it again if I weren’t still enjoying the back issues so much. Their tagline is Nature, Culture, Place,” and their pages are filled with some of the country’s greatest contemporary nature writers.

Gift subscriptions are just $19 for 6 issues.

{ FOR THE BUSINESS PERSON }

The problem with rich relatives is that they don’t really need anything. That’s where a good magazine comes in. You can say, “hey, I get what you’re about.” I don’t even run a business, but I do appreciate creativity and innovation, and I love to see what’s going on in the entrepreneurial world. I subscribe to Fast Company, and I love it. Also, it’s real cheap!

Subscribe: 2-for-1 special is 2 subscriptions for $10, 12 issues

{ FOR THE MAKERS AND THE LADIES }

Slow lifestyle. Kinfolk has such features as “The Meaning of Light: interviews with a neuroscientist and an artist about the positive effects that sunlight can have on our well-being.” It seems like a heavier, yet airier Fast Company.

Subscribe: $60 for 4 issues and their “online pass”

Oh Comely “inspires people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things. There are adventures that capture the feeling of being free, stories from people with tales to tell, recipes to warm your heart, and crafty things to make. All these things, wrapped up in beautiful words, illustration and photography.” Admittedly, I’ve only seen covers online and read their blog, but it looks like Country Living and Spin made a magazine baby that turned out way smarter and lovelier than its parents.

Subscribe for their Christmas special: $39.07 + $31 shipping from the UK, 6 issues

{ FOR THE A/V ATTUNED }

Little White Lies is all about film. There’s also Sixteen by Nine, about television, but they don’t have subscription options yet because they’re brand new. They both have great art.

Subscribe to LWL for $45.32 and $20.18 shipping from the UK, 6 issues.

{ See Also }

This Little Mag Gift Guide from Stack Magazines.

We can also play a parlor game where you tell me your giftee’s interests and I’ll match them with a magazine. Yeah! Let’s do that. In the comments. Or you can tell me what YOU want for Christmas.

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