How to make magazines

by Steve Watson in September 2022
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Are you interested in starting your own independent magazine? Are you already running one and finding that you’re coming up against problems? Or do you just want to get a better understanding of what it takes to set up and run an independent magazine today?

We’re hosting a series of events, starting on Wednesday 19th October and running through into 2023, exploring the different facets of independent magazine publishing. Each session we’ll be joined by editors, art directors and publishers who will share their knowledge and expertise, showing what they do and what they’ve learned along the way. Our speakers will give presentations and take questions from the audience, and we’ll make sure there’s plenty of time afterwards for more informal chatting over drinks. Tickets cost £6 (free for students) and the first event is on sale now.

The series is supported by independent magazine printer Park Communications, and they’ll be on hand at all the events with a selection of the magazines they’ve printed recently. They have a wealth of knowledge about the practicalities of printing a magazine, so they’re a great place to start if you’re figuring out how far your budget will stretch, what papers to choose, and how to print as sustainably as possible.

Here’s the line up of themes and the speakers who will be joining us over the coming months:

An introduction to independent magazines
October 19th
Steven Watson, Stack
Dagny Tepper, Pilot

I’ll kick things off with an overview of the independent publishing world, looking at some of the most exciting magazines and the things they do well. Then we’ll zoom in on one new magazine, with editor and creative director Dagny Tepper sharing what she has learned from publishing the first issues of her brilliant shape-shifting title Pilot.
Book your ticket now

How to edit a magazine
November 22nd
John L Walters, Eye
Liv Siddall, WePresent

Editing is one of the most important and demanding skills needed to publish a magazine, so we’ve asked two experienced editors to show us how they do it: John L Walters is editor of the authoritative and insightful graphic design journal Eye; and Liv Siddall is the editor of WePresent, which specialises in presenting intimate and inventive editorial on culture and entertainment.

How to design a magazine
January 18th
John Holt, LAW
Veronica Ditting, Studio Veronica Ditting

The design of a magazine is much more than the sum of its parts, and we’ve got two very different makers who will show what they’re looking for when they create a magazine: John Holt stops short of calling himself a designer, but he’s the creative force behind the brilliantly powerful and personal LAW; while Veronica Ditting is the former creative director of indie behemoth The Gentlewoman, and is now working on a range of projects as Studio Veronica Ditting.

Reporting the climate crisis
February 22nd
Martha Dillon, It’s Freezing in LA!
David Reeve, Where the Leaves Fall

The climate crisis is probably the biggest issue facing us today, and lots of independent magazines devote their pages to grappling with the apparently impossible challenge before us. We’ll bring two of those magazines together to see the different ways they go about finding answers amongst the angst: Martha Dillon is editor of It’s Freezing in LA!, which published its latest issue earlier this year focusing on the intersection of climate and health; and David Reeve is the editor of Where the Leaves Fall, which mixes art and activism to report on the damage being done to the planet.

Pitching independent magazines
March 15th
Charlie Baker, The Fence
Louise Benson, Elephant

Our series concludes with a practical session focusing on the best ways to pitch independents – how can you make sure your email gets read, and how can you increase the chance of your idea being commissioned and published? We have two people who read a lot of pitches in the course of a working day: Charlie Baker is editor of satirical magazine The Fence; while Louise Benson is deputy editor of contemporary art title Elephant.

Book your tickets to An introduction to independent magazines

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