There’s a mixed bag of emotions whenever my co-writer David French and I get a magazine to print. We produce two a year – on a good year – and it’s very much a labour of love. Ideally, it would be a labour of wealth and recognition too, but that’s never been the main consideration.
Every writer knows, or yearns to know, the singular joy of seeing something you’ve created right there in print, in your hand or on a shelf. You feel like you’ve accomplished a great journey and indeed you have. Along the road from initial ideas to writing and rewriting, you’ll have learned a lot and probably suffered a little too.
But for the independent or self-publisher, there’s an added dimension to the puzzle. Because now you have to sell your wares, which is a whole different set of skills. Marketing, sales and even that battle cry of the modern age, customer service, are all required. You need to know your market and, unless you’re fabulously wealthy or fabulously indifferent to money, you need to run at a profit.
The conversations we’re having at the moment though centre around whether you can judge a magazine by its cover, or by its sales figures or by the enthusiasm of its supporters.