Indie magazines
Craft and creativity

Making a sustainable independent print magazine

Kai Brach is the publisher, editor and designer of Offscreen Magazine. He has written about the lessons he has learned in a comprehensive Medium post: Indie Magonomics

Kai covers everything from sourcing content (“The hard truth is that most indie publications rely on a lot of favours by a lot of generous people”), to printing (“A lot of indies start with 1000–2000 copies. I started with 3000 for my first issue, but it did take me more than a year to sell them all”), to distribution (“Ask anyone who sells physical products and they will tell you that one of the most biggest challenges is getting the product from A to B. Shipping is hard”), and marketing (“…no matter how boring or old-fashioned it seems, email is still the most powerful marketing tool for most online businesses”), and finally, to making money

“My own strategy has been (and still is) to cover not just the printing but the entire production of the magazine through my sponsors. This includes fees for writers, photographers, and illustrators, the cost of proofreading and editing, the software I use, and everything else that goes into the making of one issue. This way, when the printer delivers the magazine, it’s completely paid for and I know that with every issue I sell I make a profit, and for every issue I give out for free I won’t lose money. It’s a very simple approach that has worked well for me this far. As you can tell, it’s important to figure out the true cost of each issue when establishing your sponsorship/ad fees.”

See also

  • So you want to make a magazinePeople often ask me what resources I can recommend for fledgling magazine makers. So here’s a list of sites and services that helped me when I got started and some others I discovered in the last couple of years.
  • Everyone their own editor — John E. McIntyre writing for The Baltimore Sun about staff cuts to his organisation
  • To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure — Slate’s Alison Hallett writes about and reviews Ryan North’s Kiskstarted “chooseable-path adventure” version of Hamlet.

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