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Mon, Dec 31 2012 2:11:58 UTC

Creating a magazine in the digital age

Magazines have been around for a long time, and for any type of content creator, whether you write articles, draw images, or capture photos, being published in one can be very rewarding. But what if you want to publish your own magazine? It used to be impossible for someone to simply publish their own magazine, it would require a big investment, printing presses, a distribution network, and so on. But these days, anyone can publish their own magazine and be successful, as long as you know how to proceed. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

The first thing you should do is find your niche. You may be good at design, but what will people look for when they pick up your publication, what kind of marketing will you be doing? Like any other product, the success in selling a magazine is to get people to buy it, which includes knowing your audience. It's usually best to create it about a subject you already know. Next, you need to decide whether you want a print magazine or a digital one. Right now, a lot of professional print magazines are having a hard time to survive, because many readers are moving to digital versions. It also costs a lot less to go digital than to go print. If you decide to print your magazine, remember that you will need to hire a printing service, and find a way to distribute it to news stands.

Once you have your niche, then it's time to gather your topics for the very first issue. If you have friends or colleagues that can help you, those can be a valuable resources. Most magazines have at least 30 pages, so you need enough content to fill that up. Some easy ways to get more content is to interview professionals in your field. Once you have your topics, you can then start working on the layout and design. I highly suggest you learn a professional design application like Adobe InDesign. It may cost you a bit of money, but you will get a much better result than trying to create the magazine in Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop.

A typical magazine is very graphics heavy. This means you should fill it with large, high resolution images and graphics. Presentation is key in a magazine, much more so than a book. That's because most people shop magazines and browse through them, looking at the overall look, before deciding whether to buy any. A tip here is to make sure all of your images are high quality. Nothing is worse than having pixelated images degrade the quality of your work.

Once the first issue is done, then you need to find ways to publish and market it. There are many ways to publish a magazine. The simplest is to create a PDF, then distribute it. You could go for a free model, where you try to get sponsors to advertise in your magazine to pay off your costs, and then give away the issue for free online. Or you could setup a sales portal and try to make readers pay a small fee. You can also use social tools to advertise, such as Facebook, Twitter and forums in the niche you're in. Finally, you can also try to get those magazines in mobile formats. Both Apple and Google offer services to publish magazines to the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Be warned however that it is much harder to get approved for a magazine than it is for an app.

In the end, publishing an online magazine can be done inside of a month by a single motivated person, but you have to be ready to spend long hours to create a quality product. Most of the work for making a magazine ends up being talking to contacts, marketing, and networking. The creation process is the easy part.

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