When I launched Elsie Magazine about five years ago, I had no idea of the wealth of independent magazines that are out there – all operating slightly below the radar, but in their own way building a solid and loyal number of followers. There are literally hundreds and hundreds.
In the intervening years, I’ve met many of the people behind these magazines – passionate people with a desire to create something new and unique – an antidote to the homogenous mass of magazines you’ll see on the shelves of your local WHSmith.
What’s apparent, when talking to publishers of independent magazines is money is rarely the primary driver – I’ve yet to make any money from Elsie Magazine, though it does just about break even.
Instead, people’s drivers are many and varied – they publish to express their creativity, to follow their passion, to further their cause, to stretch themselves, to step out of their comfort zone, to develop their skills, to build their CV, to exercise their minds, to communicate ideas, to celebrate creativity or diversity, or simply to have fun with their mates.
All of these things are possible through the publishing of an independent magazine.
The magazine is a gateway, a passport to new experiences, new relationships and new networks. And today, the entry price is lower than it has ever been. Digital magazines can be launched with little financial investment and even printed magazines can be produced very cost effectively, particularly with the growth of digital printing.
Then, of course, there is crowd funding – a hugely effective way of de-risking the launch of a new magazine, by selling the idea first to those prepared to effectively pre-order prior to printing.
If you publish your own magazine, I salute you – I know how much work goes into every issue. If you don’t – think about it…you have little to lose and much to gain from the experience.