AMA: Kai Brach, Publisher of Offscreen Magazine

almost 6 years ago from Kai Brach, Publisher at Offscreen Magazine

  • Marz 1Marz 1, almost 6 years ago

    I'm in the process of working out the math on starting a magazine as well. Trying to account for all the factors in play, it's easy for me to get overwhelmed and paralyzed. Any tips on creating a solid plan of attack? I'm no stranger to hard work, especially behind something you believe in—but given current 'life' stuff, I'd like to minimize the amount of risk (especially financial) wherever possible. From my perspective, the aesthetic seems like the easy/fun part. It's the business side (ads/sponsors, production, distribution, etc.) that I'm trying to wrap my brain around.

    Also... one thing a friend mentioned to me when he was publishing, his biggest hurdle was distribution. How did you approach it?

    FYI: Bicycling to one of your NYC stockists as soon as I submit comment :)

    1 point
    • , almost 6 years ago

      I hear you. I think the most important part is that you have something to say. Nowadays a lot of designers launch magazines to make a nice product, but that product often doesn't have anything valuable to say. Have a clear intent and define your niche early. That's how you ensure to not just make one issue, but actually build up an audience.

      It's hard to summarise all the things that go into a magazine. Obviously content is key, so that's what I would focus on first. Locate good content sources (which doesn't necessarily mean that you create it yourself) and then build your publishing ideas around that. What types of features would you like? How much of it is text, photography, illustrations, etc? Create a content plan.

      Making the project viable is definitely a challenge. You can try to finance the first issue on Kickstarter (many do), but you'll have to work hard on making future issues sustainable through, for example, a high cover price, ads, sponsors, memberships, events, or a mix of all of those.

      And yes, obviously, distribution is always the hardest part (which is not unique to print, but more difficult in the real world). I was lucky enough to have a niche (web/tech) that finds buying their copy online quite natural, so I don't really depend on shops and distributors. Try to build that (online) community early. Build a good website. Share a lot. Connect with people and be authentic.

      Have a look at magculture.com. It's an important website for all mag makers.

      1 point