How to Start a Magazine
Posted On March 8, 2000
HOW TO START A MAGAZINE (or How to put yourself in the poorhouse)
Believe it or not, I had a job 6 months ago. It was a great job by Bellingham standards. I actually had money in my savings account, a nice little place to live, and enough left over to start playing around with producing a ‘zine. That was my first mistake.
My ‘zine, Conchsense was well received by everyone who saw it. Without even really trying I had four businesses paying to advertise in it. I thought, “This is great. People like this so much I can quit my job and start doing this for income. “ That was my second mistake.
This article is going to focus on my mistakes, if you avoid them, you might be successful in the business of publishing. I am not successful. Here are the things I did to make my magazine a reality. If you avoid them, you might be successful.
1) 1) Come up with a great theme that appeals to people without money, they’re the ones who don’t have a “tailor made” publication yet.
2) 2) Collaborate with friends who describe themselves as “flakey” but share your value system.
3) 3) Sink your savings into getting things going.
4) 4) Become embroiled in environmental politics.
5) 5) Rent an office space.
6) 6) Expect that altruism will pay off.
7) 7) Believe business owners who say, “I’ll definitely advertise next month”
8) 8) Pawn your stuff, close your savings, and sink it all into your magazine knowing that it will pay off.
9) 9) Address issues that appeal to you, don’t sell out, and be creative.
10) 10) Quit your dayjob.
11) 11) Distribute your magazines for free, because undoubtedly, the people who enjoy it will subscribe to support it.
12) 12) Persevere in the face of adversity.
13) 13) Become your own salesperson (this is the quickest way to become discouraged and bitter)
14) 14) Believe in yourself.
15) 15) Do all of the above in Whatcom County or another third world county.
Does all of this sound bitter..it is. Am I ready to quit? Everyday. Will I? No, unfortunately I seem to get off on beating dead horses. Where has all of this led me?
Last week, I did the equivalent of washing dishes for my supper at my printers because I couldn’t pay the bills. Today, I sold the last books and cd’s I own that anyone will buy so I could pay rent. For two months I’ve been seeking ANY work, but somehow became unemployable. I go to the food bank every week so that I can eat. It’s glamorous.
So what does the future hold for Conchsense? Expect to see themes that appeal to people with no money or power. Expect to see me making sales calls. Expect issues that appeal to me. Expect to see me at the pawnshop and the foodbank. Expect to see one issue after this one distributed for free ( after that subscribers and retail sales will be the only way to get Conchsense.) And , finally, expect to see me persevere in the face of adversity and believe that altruism will pay off, believe in myself, and believe that this county apathy will wake up and begin to support a good thing like my magazine Conchsense. I mean, you like this magazine, right? Why not support it?