Friday, July 29, 2011

How (not) to make a magazine

We. Are. Fried.

And happy.

As experts in our own (artistic) fields we are feeling the strain of jimmying open windows that are not ours. This week has seen us handover the BIG magazine document to Maree (Paper Runway) to design. It is not like we are handing over a postcard or flyer. It is sixty pages long -  and with Maree currently juggling her own magazine, a stationery line, and 3 children, we are imagining it will be another big week all round.

We have certainly experienced the making of each single text box and spent two weeks side by side in long distance lockdown to arrive in the eye of this continuing storm:

Very first drafting of BIG page order
- Hours and hours on the phone til well past midnight.
- Images cut and disappearing without a trace or saved file.
- Names and details falling over each other like rain and so difficult to pull apart.
- Page changes and re-drafts and sudden epiphany's to redirect order and flow.
- 1.30am brainwaves of links and lost data.
- The painful re-call of 9months of research saved haphazardly in early facebook messages and in the body of 100's of emails.
- The re-sourcing of high res images.
- The chasing of missing text and promised artwork.
- The madness of editing between a word doc and Indesign and losing tracks of change in both.

And so we have accepted what is possible this time. Lilly has already begun a shared dropbox with folders for our next issue: we have several incredible artists confirmed, but stop ourselves from diving into future to stay and get this first flight off the ground. It is painstaking work. Every time we think we are close, it gets further away. The designed version will come back to us for proofing, and already (don't tell Maree) we have made several changes in the main body of words. Our fabulous copy editor Karen, has fired two versions back to us in quick succession enabling us to meet our deadline with Maree. Our team is not exactly close knit in terms of proximity. I am in Perth, Lilly is in Sydney, Maree recently crossed the border to land in Queensland, and Karen is in Melbourne. We have ten children between us, and as such, the room for error and the unexpected is massive. Time-frames are tight. We work when we have the energy, and accept defeat when the small worlds running around us take over.

It is almost the end of July. We are on track for a September launch. JUST. We weigh up quotes from printers in both Perth and in Sydney and talk with potential distributors. We volley 'dummy' copies of blank paged mock-up mags to each other to check the paper stock and debate over the virtues of staples verses spine 'perfect' binding. It is relentless. And sometimes a bit impossible.

The next issue will see a different and more efficient process. But this launch edition will be literally sewn with bits of our heart-strings.

Bring on the rain.


  1. Oh my goodness guys - so exciting! Having been involved in mag production I feel your pain and cannot believe you are corresponding between 4 cities! Can't wait to see it. And it definitely gets easier!

  2. all of your hard work will pay off - i am looking forward to seeing it! :)

  3. Oh I can't wait until September! You guys are amazingly passionate. To do this with all of those kidlets and with so many miles inbetween. Incredible! What a team you guys are. The rewards will be so very, very wonderful...and we get to reap them too without the stress and pain of hardwork that you guys have had to endure. Lucky us! xx

  4. Thanks so much for responding and for such lovely encouragement - very much appreciated. Lilly and Jo xx

  5. Oooo I can't wait for the big reveal!! I know it will be stunning if Maree is involved in the design. Looking forward to reading it.
    Suzie xx


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