Discover more from The Magazine Diaries from Grub Street
The loneliness of the long-suffering publisher
In the ‘Nine things we learned…’ article mentioned below, we talked about the importance of community to
indie all magazines. We wrote “friends are everything in this game” and Grub Street really has some most excellent friends.
We keep a swipe file of all the comments we see and some of the feedback has been priceless, as much to remind us why we’re doing this as for bragging fodder. One of our favourites was an Instagram post from a publisher who simply said the magazine makes her ‘feel less lonely’.
Of course we want to make a publication that washes its own face; we would even like to make a profit at some point. But in these early stages, if we can bring the magazine industry we write about a little closer together, we’ll take that as a big, fat Grubby win.
If you’d like to contribute to our swipe file, post your thoughts to your favourite social media platform, comment on this newsletter or drop us a line.
Think about this
As mentioned, we wrote a thing for Media Voices about ‘Nine things we learned making an indie print magazine’. We learned at least 10, but apparently Google prefers odd numbers.
Anyway, number nine was ‘You can’t do everything’ and we think about that every day as we develop our Still-To-Do list. This isn’t one of those, ‘be kind to yourself’ posts typical of the Oversharer in our ‘What kind of LinkedIn persona are you?’ feature. It’s just a statement of fact.
You literally can’t do everything and you need to prioritise the things that will bring the greatest impact. For us that was making the best print issue we possibly could. It might be something different for you, but seriously, you really can’t do everything. Pick the important stuff and do it so well that you buy yourself the time to do everything else on your list.
Listen to this
Greg Krehbiel’s ‘Something I Learned Yesterday’ podcast picked up on our ‘Nine things’ post. Greg runs through all our lessons, but then gets specific about number nine, focusing on the idea that you’ve got a decision to make if you’re doing a print and a digital edition.
He says there can be a danger in making a digital edition of a print publication because you ‘limit your conception to what will work in both print and digital’. He imagines a Venn diagram with one circle what print does well and the other what digital does well. “By doing that, you’ve now limited yourself to the intersection of those two circles and that’s not good for the publication.”
Greg’s solution is to ask yourself, “How can I make this the best possible publication in print, and the best possible publication digitally?” And that, dear reader, when combined with the idea that ‘You can’t do everything’ is why there is as yet no digital edition for The Grub Street Journal.
Putting someone in charge of improving diversity and inclusion is more effective than performative promises – just ask Ridhi Radia of Immediate Media, who shares practical steps for making real changes.
Learn from the FT and The Economist: micropayments – where users make a small payment on a per-article basis – could help publishers build relationships with readers as part of a wider subscription model.
In an attempt to make publishing more accessible, book publisher Hachette UK has launched a Changing the Story Freelancer Training Programme, which offers fully funded editorial placements for people interested in becoming part of the industry on a freelance basis. Yes, it’s for books… but is this something magazine publishing could replicate?