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Thread: Any advice on how to start a literary magazine?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Dallas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Any advice on how to start a literary magazine?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm still new to this forum, and I'm not sure if this question is in the right place or not, but I was wondering if anyone had advice on how to start a literary magazine.

    I get the sense that I need a site/domain name/content for the magazine/ how I plan to publish (online or print)/ how I plan to publish content (as posts or PDF)

    But I would like first-hand accounts and advice if possible. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Жили-были дед да баба... davidjgalloway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Upstate NY

    I will let the experts decide if it's the right forum. But you seem to be talking more mechanics than rationale. Maybe you already have the rationale, but if not, you might pause a second. Can you answer these questions?

    -have you worked at a lit-mag before? If not, you should have a friend/mentor/partner in place who has and knows what it takes. If not, maybe you can work/volunteer at one for a time before you take the plunge, so you know what you're getting into.
    -why do you want to do this? Is your idea unique? Will authors want to publish there because you corner a niche for certain types of writing? If not, what is the motivation? There are LOTS of lit-mags, so how will yours stand out?
    -is this an altruistic venture or will it make a profit? If the latter, HOW? Do you have a 5, 10, 20-year business plan? (You should have long-term plans even if it will be nonprofit, since presumably you want to grow.)
    -what if it catches fire and becomes very popular? Do you have a staff to read the submissions? Folks who will partner with you? Are they reliable? Are they also in for the long haul? What if you are too busy/fall ill/dealing with RL for a time? Who runs things?

    That's just the beginning. I think the issues here are very similar to what comes up when authors talk about starting publishing companies. Just don't rush and take time to consider all the issues. Nobody wants to see you (or authors you work with) hurt or overwhelmed. You could make a lot of great friends doing this; you could also make more than a lifetime of enemies doing it wrong, so please take care.

  3. #3
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    In chaos
    The first thing you should do is spend several years working at the sort of magazine you aspire to publish. Learn how it's done, and what's required.

    That will be a full time job and won't pay you anything. So you'll need another full time job to earn your living; and it had better pay extremely well because you'll need a few tens of thousands of dollars to set up your magazine. And you are extremely unlikely to ever earn any of that money back, so you'll need to keep your well-paid job when you launch your magazine.

    It's very hard work, earns little or no money, and you'll get little thanks for it. I have several friends who have started their own magazines and done well with them, all things considered: but they've burned out very quickly, and have struggled. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into before you go ahead.


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