Print’s not dead.
And the proof is in the resurgence of publications centered on community, culture and a spirit of collaboration. Here, writer Sara Radin shares tips from independent female publishers in London—a longtime hub in the world of independent publishing—for those curious about what it takes to run a print magazine in an increasingly digital landscape.
London has long been known for its independent publishing scene, which remains ripe with fresh voices and an abundance of creativity. In recent times, a group of women and femmes are breaking ground and lifting up their communities all the way through. In the process, they’re finding new ways to bring information to the masses— which in a time when print sales are down, and major magazines are shuttering—shows the lasting power of zine culture.
Here, we speak with three UK-based publishers, who offered their tips for those looking to get into the industry:
“For us, with gal-dem, I knew that we didn’t need anything other than good ideas and a sharp editorial eye to start producing content online. Producing a print magazine is completely different however. It helps if you have people who are willing to lend you a bit go cash (my mum and best mate) on the basis of you paying them back.
Think about how your magazine is going to differ from others on the market, what gap are you filling?
And go for it! Where there is a will there’s a way. It will be difficult however!”
– Liv Little, founder of gal-dem
“I think the main necessity in independent publishing is having a clear vision and genuine passion.
Even if you’re not the best writer or designer, if you’re passionate and convey your message/idea organically, people will receive your publication well.
When we started The Femme Colllective we had pretty much no editorial experience, just a clear idea of what we wanted to do and say. The rest, we learned along the way. Starting Femme as students meant we were pretty broke, but exceeding our target in our GoFundMe thanks to the lovely people of the Internet really enabled us to bring Femme to life. Like most creative projects, you’ll experience many roadblocks in publishing, but there’s always a way around them. Also, if you don’t know how to do something, just ask someone! More often than not, people are more than happy to help out other young creatives – no-one is born an expert.”
– Dani Ran, co-founder of Femme Colllective
“When getting into independent publishing, I would say pool all the resources available to you before shelling out cash you don’t have. I started by using my student loan to put together the launch issue of Polyester—and the zine has ticked itself over on a non-profit basis ever since.
Don’t be scared to take your time and succumb to the pressure of upscaling before you’re ready.
Work with your community. I always advise those wanting to get into publishing to contribute to other small publications before starting your own. It means you start building a network of like-minded people and offers you invaluable insight into how things are actually run. Most of all, don’t be scared to reach out to people; I didn’t know anyone when I started Polyester four years ago—but if you’re striving to create something authentic then those around you will want to come on board.”
– Ione Gamble, founding editor-in-chief of Polyester Zine