Online Literary Magazines: Content Considerations and Functional Formatting

So you want to make a literary magazine.

magazine peopleYou’ve answered the questions from my first post and considered some underlying factors outlined in the previous post. Now you should focus on nutting out what content and form your magazine will have and take, and whether it is sustainable.

 

Content: Acquisition

When you make a magazine, it isn’t good enough to have a fantastic first edition. You must be able to commit to making every edition as fantastic as the first.

To do this, you must be able to sustain the acquisition of content. Will you have enough time in between issues to find high quality content to publish? Will you be able to find enough content?

Don't be stuck for content each edition; plan ahead. Photo source.

Don’t be stuck for content each edition; plan ahead. Photo source.

You can find, source, and access content several different ways, including:

  • Having permanent or changing notices on your website,
  • Connecting and making a community that encourages submissions,
  • Holding competitions, and
  • Commissioning work, either in-house or via head hunting talent.

Ideally you will be gathering content from several, if not all, of these avenues. The more you open yourself to receiving content, the more content you have to choose from.

Although this means never stressing about filling an edition, it also means having a bigger slush pile to sift through. A growing stream of submissions will therefore mean one of two things:

  1. Publish editions that are further apart, or
  2. Employ staff to go through submissions to publish editions that are closer together.

Technology

Once you have your content sorted, you need to consider the technological side of publishing an online magazine.

The following are very important for accessibility:

  • Internet speed,
  • Download limits, and
  • File sizes.

The last thing you want to do is limit your readership to those who have fast download speeds.

Be aware that the size of your magazine file may be too large for some users to download. Photo source.

Be aware that the size of your magazine file may be too large for some users to download. Photo source.

If you are publishing your magazine in a PDF format, here are some websites that will make the file size smaller:

Reducing the file size of your PDF document will solve issues such as internet speeds and download limits. Granted, those with slow internet speeds will still download the file slower than those who have high internet speeds, but the process won’t take an eternity.

And if you are publishing in a PDF format, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Weigh the pros and cons of using PDF as your magazine's file format. Information sourced from Writing and Publishing Industry lecture content Week 5.

Weigh the pros and cons of using PDF as your magazine’s file format. Information sourced from Writing and Publishing Industry lecture content Week 5.

Platforms

If you haven’t noticed, eReaders, iPads, tablets, and other mobile devices are becoming increasingly common for reading books and news on the go.

You might find it beneficial to consider publishing your magazine in a format readable by different types of devices.

 

Caption here. Photo source.

Due to the popularity of eReaders and other mobile devices, you might want to consider publishing your magazine in a file type accessible for these devices. Photo source.

EPUB files are widely accessible by a large number of eReaders and devices, but must be converted before they’re usable on the Amazon Kindle. EPUB files can also be opened on computers using any number of free programs like Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

Here’s a handy article that explains how to export files from certain programs into an EPUB format, make an EPUB from scratch and edit it, and convert almost anything to an EPUB file.

Dissemination

Finally you need to make decisions around the availability of your magazine.

The considerations that I’ve covered so far in relation to dissemination include:

  • How often will you publish and in what format?
  • Are there barriers to access like too-large file sizes?
  • Where will your revenue come from to fuel your magazine’s continuity?

You should have already addressed these considerations by this “making public” stage of your magazine. However, other decisions need to be made about the dissemination of your magazine. The main two are marketing and publicity.

Making a magazine isn't enough. Marketing a magazine is essential. Photo source.

Making a magazine isn’t enough. Marketing a magazine is essential. Photo source.

How are you going to market and publicise your publication? Are you going to create and maintain social media accounts that build a community around your magazine? Are you going to badger your friends to download your magazine or submit content for you to publish?

But importantly, how are you going to get the name of your magazine out there? How are people going to find out about this amazing new publication?

Here’s an article to help you get the ball rolling. Listed are five simple magazine marketing steps, including:

  1. Professional conversations: promote an expert’s opinion.
  2. Features: use appropriate, current content.
  3. Points of view: open yourself to reader feedback and opinion.
  4. Discussions: create a comments section on your website.
  5. Have humour: using photos that people want to share can generate interest.

 

Good luck!

 

<< Previous: Online Literary Magazines: People, Relationships, and Skills

<< Earlier: Online Literary Magazines: From Ideation to Creation

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