Sunday, 19 December 2010
Inkspill Magazine Update & Advice from Lord Sugar
Inkspill Magazine issue 3 has been on hold for a while, due to my MA and freelancing taking up a lot of time. But I'm nearly there with the third issue now. I have all the content commissioned (and what a great load of content it is!), and I've drafted it all up in InDesign. I've drafted the cover, and am just awaiting confirmation from the photographer that she likes what I've done with her image. I'm hoping that I can finish everything before January, and send off for a proof copy, ready to start selling in early January.
Running the publication has taken a lot more time and effort than I had originally anticipated. And since my Masters degree and my freelancing work takes priority, sometimes I let things slip a little. I have been on the verge of giving up on it for some time... But in my heart I don't really want to.
I was watching 'The Apprentice' the other day, and someone on it said something along the lines of: If your business is failing, you don't give up on it, you adapt it. You have to constantly evolve it.
Well, Inkspill isn't exactly failing, but it could be better. Issue one and two were printed by differing companies, in an attempt to keep costs low and quality high. But the main problem is the distribution. I have been buying in bulk, and sending out printed copies to contributors across the globe. This leaves me massively in the red. And now that I'm not working full time, I can't afford to be in the red. So once again, I am having to re-think my strategy. And the solution is going to be print-on-demand.
I have always been against print-on-demand because one-off printing means higher costs. So I'm also working on changing the format to keep the price down. I want Inkspill to be an affordable publication. The set postage costs by the print-on-demand company are the biggest worry, though.
And contributor copies... I started off sending a print copy to every contributor, even if they lived in America or Russia. For this issue, I am only sending print copies to those in the UK and Europe, and those outside this area will receive a PDF version. For future issues, I'm considering only sending PDF copies to contributors, BUT having a £10 'prize' for the best piece in the issue. Just some ideas at the moment.
Talking of PDFs, I'm also considering perhaps making the PDF version free. At the moment, I'm charging £1.50, and get quite a lot of people buying them. Yet I wonder, if I make it free, it should reach a much larger audience, and I could hopefully secure some advertising to generate the finances. Again, this is something I'm unsure of, and might have to experiment with...
I'm also going to be changing how I receive submissions. I get hundreds of email submissions, and it's a nightmare to keep them organised. For the new issues, I'm looking forward to finally using SubMishMash.
A while ago I advertised for the help of some guest poetry editors. Again, I have let things slip, and have yet to go through the submissions and select some guest editors, but this is something I am intending to do, to help with issue 4 and 5. I'm hoping SubMishMash will make it very easy for me to share the workload of submissions.
I'm also considering overhauling the website. Many days of work went into creating the current site, but I'm considering changing to a blog platform, simply because I need something that is much easier to change, adapt and move around. Once again, this isn't set in stone.
One last thing. I intended for the magazine to be published quarterly. Yet this year, I have only managed 2 issues. And so I'm considering making it bi-annual. But again, I'm not sure on this point yet.
Any thoughts and opinions on all this greatly welcome. After all, this magazine isn't for me - it's for you! Anyone with a creative spirit. So suggestions and opinions welcome.
Inkspill Magazine issue 3 will be available to buy January 2011.
(With thanks to Captain Cat for the wonderful promo shots)