Whether you're passionate about food, fashion or fast cars, starting a small print magazine might be an appealing idea, particularly if you've got previous writing, editing or page-design experience. While starting a magazine might seem like too daunting an enterprise to attempt, it can be done with some careful planning and dedication.
Do market research. Examine how similar magazines are being distributed, how much they are charging, and what content they are offering. Determine how your magazine will be unique or how it will fill a need in the market.
Create a business plan that explains the ins and outs of your magazine. It should state what the content will be about; how many pages it will be; how much it will cost; to whom, how often and how it will be distributed; and how you expect to get content and advertising for it. Also, be specific about how much you expect to make from your magazine enterprise, and how much startup expenses and overhead you will have. Plan out how you will market your magazine.
Get the content. You may have to write some of it. However, you may also find others who are enthusiastic about your idea to write some articles for the initial issue as well. Once you launch the magazine and have revenue coming in, you'll be able to pay freelancers as independent contractors to do much of the writing. Create the magazine on your computer. You can do this using a program like Adobe InDesign or PageMaker and Microsoft Publisher. Make a template using the number of pages you'd like your magazine to have. Add elements that will appear in every issue, including a header, copyright information and a cutout subscription coupon. Place the name of your magazine -- in a large, attractive font and color -- on the top of the front page. If your magazine has a logo, use that as well. Lay out the content. Use photos and other graphic elements to complement the text on your pages. If you can't take photos to go with the stories yourself or get contributing writers to do so, use stock photos and other graphics. Create the cover. Place a large photograph of something that correlates to your feature story. For instance, if your feature story is "Ten Quick Summer Beauty Tips," a photo of a girl with beach-swept hair; a glowing, tan complexion; and shimmery lips might be appropriate. Add a headline or teaser text. Add elements such as teaser text for other articles as you deem necessary. Find advertisers. Start close to home with business owners in your community. If your magazine is about food, approach local restauranteurs and grocery chains about advertising in it. Your advertising should complement the subject of your magazine. Market your magazine. Advertise in areas that are populated with people most likely to be interested in the subject of your magazine. Make a website, and have it set up so people can subscribe to your magazine. Set up a fan page for your magazine on Facebook, and have a Twitter account for the magazine as well. Print your magazine. Use a professional print shop to achieve high-quality magazines. Try to work out a deal with the print shop so that the more magazines you print each month (or whenever new issues come out), the less you pay per issue. Distribute the magazine. You may be able to work out bulk-rate shipping deals with the United States Postal Service or private shipping companies depending on how many subscribers you get. Work out deals with retailers with magazine racks to sell your magazine. Distribute free magazines to professional offices with waiting areas to put your product in front of people most likely interested in it.
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