How to create a magazine

by Dean Cook, April 8, 2016
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Anyone can have a great idea for a magazine but what goes into creating one. How does a magazine become a successful product?

For anyone who has had great ideas, the immediate realisation is that you can’t do it all yourself. Just because you have an inkjet printer, it can’t replicate high-quality publications. And even if you purchased all the software production artists use each and every day, there is no way of instantly gaining the skills and experience necessary to turn the idea into suitable materials and output to standards for a commercial printer to replicate high-quality images on paper — unless that is, you’ve just escaped the Matrix.

It’s obvious: you will need some help.

What you will need is experience and guidance with more than a little bit of talent as well as an assured approach to planning out each step of what can be perceived to be a complicated process.

To enable us to help, what we will need is clarity of vision where your idea is concerned with a rational approach to both the cost of production and the relative value of the commercial return.

While classic mistakes are numerous, we do see many tripping into the same pitfalls. Here is a brief realisation attached to great magazine ideas.

  • Some great ideas aren’t great commercial prospects. Not all great ideas can cover their costs (or be profitable)
  • Some great ideas have a limited audience. If you have limited audience, you have limited circulation and therefore limited opportunity to cover cost — but that’s not such a bad thing if you’ve  tapped into a qualified market and possess every contact in that industry
  • Some great ideas are still very conceptual. Some magazines will struggle to fill pages with quality content written in a meaningful way
  • Some great ideas are very reliant on advertising. If pages become overwhelmed with adverts it will detract from the publications original purpose to offer quality content.

The first question we often get from first time producers is: how much does it cost?

It’s probably helpful to understand how a magazine is costed. We usually offer a price ‘per issue’ on the basis of how many pages are required and how complicated the design and production of the magazine is. The type of content and what the magazine is about is mostly irrelevant at this stage: it doesn’t matter if you are producing a magazine about super yachts or a magazine about rubber ducks, we are still more interested in content quantity and page count than topic. This will enable us to hone in on a realistic price for production and how it will affect printing costs.

The second question is: how quickly can you publish it?

If we have fully formed designs in our inbox — we can produce a magazine surprisingly quickly — days in fact. However, we rarely get something so fully formed. Even from our more experienced clients, we still need to fill a lot of gaps. If we started off with nothing more than a good idea and some scant content, it could take several weeks.

You can’t do it all (and we don’t expect you to) — but do talk to us early on because we can give you great advice to avoid the typical pitfalls that first time publishers often face.

So if you are one of the lucky few who have a great idea for a magazine and would like to see if it is financially viable to pursue tentatively stepping into  magazine publishing for the first time, we would love to hear from you. So call us on 01273 911730.

Your call to us is free of obligation and we can quote you very quickly. However, if it is your first time, then it’s best to call us on 01273 911730 so we can hone in on your requirements quickly. Let us guide you properly from day one and you’re more likely to see your great idea sitting proudly in front of your readers.

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