10 Steps to Starting a Magazine

From the third floor of Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, Dan Smith, who helped start Valley Business Front and Blue Ridge Business Journal, shared his 10 Steps to Starting a Magazine.

  1. Figure out how to get advertisements. Smith said this is the part that was more difficult than he expected.
  2. Hire a staff and divide up the labor. You’ll need to pull in people to help you and make sure you show your appreciation for those who do.
  3. Hire a good designer. Echoing the advice we heard earlier in the day from Kurt Rheinheimer at Leisure Media 360, Smith said never to underestimate the power of good design and aesthetic.
  4. Read other magazines and read blogs.
  5. Hire a good lawyer. A good lawyer will make help you work with contracts, ensure that you have the proper business licenses and keep you from getting sued.
  6. Use local printers. The cost of printing your publication will be cheaper and you will have more control and small businesses might take more interest in your magazine. For example, they’ll tell you if you are about to print a photo upside down…
  7. Be careful about your distribution model. Consider all aspects of how you want to distribute your magazine (print, online, how often etc.).
  8. Create a good sample magazine. A good preview of what your magazine will look like will go a long way with advertising representatives.
  9. Learn how to manage advertisements and trade ads. You can get a lot done simply by straight advertising trades.
  10. Writers like writers. Rely on your writer friends. Writers usually like and want to help other aspiring writers!
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