Making the Magazine!

Given the feedback I got on the ‘How to support us’ post. I have decided to write a blog post on the process of creating Norwich Nights Magazine, the thing about the magazine and journalism industry in general is they tend to be viewed by outsiders as glamourous and mystical and extremely profitable. Don’t get me wrong they can be all those things for the very successful magazines or journalists, but honestly in my experience that takes years of hard work, luck and support from the general public (yes, you), timing is also key. If I could choose anywhere to launch a creative project, it would be Norwich. The city is ideal in terms of a supportive atmosphere to create in.

The initial decision to launch the magazine here was a natural one, I wanted the opportunity to write in three areas food, theatre and gaming so the content structure was also a straight-forward choice. But having an idea was just the beginning, I started to consider what skills I had, what contacts I had, how was I going to do this in reality, The biggest question of all how was I going to finance it and of course in the current market of magazines available what made my magazine idea different and why should people read it.

Here’s what I came up with, during my work experience with both Buzz magazine and Cardiff Times magazines I learnt a lot, after teaming up with Carl Marsh (Entertainment columnist for Cardiff Times) I had a fair idea of what it was magazine journalist did and needed to do to survive and also the running of a magazine from an office perspective.

  • From Buzz Magazine, I learnt a lot about the things I didn’t want to do: 1. I wanted to produce and make my own images where possible where not to source images direct from the companies I worked with or their PR representatives, 2. I didn’t want a magazine that was listings heavy, I much prefer a one event at a time approach and plus Outline magazine in Norwich pretty much have that covered and do an excellent job. I didn’t want to repeat content everyone was writing about and having a positive approach to content was very important to me. 3. I wanted the word count to be reasonable and not restrictive.
  • From Cardiff Times, I learnt practical skills, and lots of them I will forever be grateful to Cardiff Times for giving me experience and a solid foundation in Journalism. So, I knew how to format pages, I knew I had no intention of selling advertising all day, so that would need to be limited. I knew about competitions, and emailing contacts, putting blog posts and social media posts together with confident as well as what content to put where and the extensive time requirements to do it properly as well as the expense and problems that can come with distributing your magazine.
  • Carl Marsh taught me about confidence, how my avoidance of photographs doesn’t always work, all about making contacts as well as assessing situations as well as having a thick skin in reference to comments and feedback (seriously, Carl open a journalism school already! The Carl Marsh School of Journalism is my nickname for all the great advice he gave me whilst working together).

Once I finished analysing all this, I figured I was in a pretty good place to start making this project I reality. I had been reading Outline and Iceni Magazine for quite some time by this point. The model I then put together follows:

  • The Magazine would feature, a food column, a theatre column and a gaming column as well a diary of 5 things to do in Norwich each month, A night out diary based on an actual night out.
  • Only ¼ of the magazine would be available for advertising with charity rates which are 10% of the regular rates.
  • The first issue will be contained to online distrubution + pre-ordered printed copies and restricted to 20 pages in length.
  • Funding would be provided by a mixture of crowdfunding, advertising revenue and capital income and subscription income and sale of gift packs.
  • Content including reviews would be honest, responsible and positive where possible, negativity for the sake of negativity is strictly prohibited from Norwich Nights Magazine.
  • Social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used everything is posted to Twitter first.
  • The magazine would support the buy local ethos in the city but also support local businesses and charities on social media and extra advertising is available via our blog.

So, I now had a business model, it was time to consider what I needed to make it work. Now my model is mine every publication works differently, but this is the model Norwich Nights will work to.

So now to put together all the elements, raise funds and make a launch plan sounds simple right? The first step was,

I took to WordPress and built a website – it was time consuming but as a writer is was enjoyable plus I had already built my author website so I knew how, now the plan always was to start with a basic site and to upgrade as funding came in to do so.

I design a front cover and later content pages to display and started the social media channels, then came a Patreon page for subscriptions I set a launch date of February 1, 2020. Then devised a funding-raising campaign on Kickstarter things were going well, till I realise I didn’t have the audience need for the kind of exposure needed to run a successful crowd-funder campaign, although people like and share they don’t necessarily pledge funds. It was time to get flexible, I needed two plans one that relies on a crowd-funder to produce the first issue and the launch and a back-up plan to ensure the magazine could still launch on a restricted budget.

So, I started researching, printing costs, advertising and marketing costs, computer software to produce and provide online distribution, costs of events to reviews and a timeline for production. With a new plan in mind I continued to promote the crowd-funding campaign I set a deadline to start actively writing and producing the magazine on 2 January 2020 to give myself a month get the magazine ready for release.

By now you will be noticing how long this post is you’re now up to date with my process the Kick starter campaign closes on 2 January and funds only get paid if it reaches our target of £10,000. This may seem a lot but honestly it takes a lot to fund a new magazine.

Cost of producing the first issue of a magazine:

  • Equipment              
  • Software                 
  • Website                      
  • Writer’s Wages           
  • Editorial Fee            
  • Printing                        
  • Advertising                
  • Launch                         
  • Promotional                  
  • Distribution                
  • Expenses (reviews)     

Total: £10450.00

This is why an alternative budget is likely to be set if I do not reach the target of the Kickstarter campaign, the figures are based on my own research therefore may vary with other publications. Lucky enough future issues will also be cheaper to fund at an estimated: £5750.00.

That’s our process for now, more updates coming soon.

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