Why I started a magazine in the digital era
Never in a million years did I think I would one day be producing a magazine. I have no background in any of the skills required, my only writing experience being university papers, a food blog for a few years, and then CreatedHere interviews. But here I am, putting together Issue #5 of CreatedHere magazine, still so excited to share the incredible stories of artists and makers from my province. I'm learning to take opportunities when they arise and run when an idea strikes you, even if it means that it feels as scary and impossible as walking on water.
It all started when I participated in theArtsLinkNB accelerator program a couple of years ago. I went in with the intention of growing CreatedHere, I just wasn't sure how. I was meeting so many artists and posting stories online, and I wanted to help get their work out there in a more tangible way. We had to present our work on the accelerator's Demo Day, and everyone else had paintings and films to show but all I had was a website. How would that work, with people scrolling individually on my tablet? I had put together some curated gift packages, but they seemed peripheral to my real mission to share stories. So I found a crappy design program and put together a magazine with photos and text from interviews I had already done. I printed 20.
They were fairly well received, I sold a few, but mostly I really loved holding these stories in my hands. The photos came alive on paper like they never had on the screen. I was hooked.
So I printed 250 more copies.
That summer I had the chance to sell the magazines at both Craft NB festivals. It was a bit exhausting to give my elevator pitch every 2 minutes because no one knew about CreatedHere or the magazine, but it gave me good practice. I also asked different shops and galleries to carry the mags. How intimidating to display my work alongside the work of the artists I was featuring!
I've been told "Print is dead". Newspaper subscriptions are tanking, people get all their news, content and connection they want online these days.
Never see it again.
Why buy something on paper when you can just scroll through it on your phone? Seems like a legit question but doesn't add up when you look at the trends or what people are actually buying. People seem to craving physical experiences at a time when they are saturated with virtual ones.
Print magazines in the form of book-like periodicals definitely seem to be making a comeback. Modern mags like Kinfolk, UPPERCASE and Maker's Movementhave shown that there is definitely a market for quality printed material among those who have a desire to hold beautiful things in their hands and not just see it in their Instagram feeds. Being able to flip through, feel the pages and hand it to a friend fits perfectly with the highly tactile nature of all things handmade.
It has been interesting to see people's reactions to the magazine vs the website. The magazine has become a bit of a collectible, especially if someone knows a writer or artist who is featured. Of course people are flattered when they are featured online, but when they see themselves in print it's a whole new level of awesome! Artist Colin Hugh Smith was featured in the very first issue, and I chose one of his floral paintings as the cover. I ran into him uptown while distributing copies to a couple shops and he was so ecstatic to see his work on the cover that he hugged me at least five times and bought several copies on the spot. I love making people feel great about what they are doing by sharing their stories in a way that is a part of the tangible, touchable world.
Four issues later, I am currently working on Issue #5, which will be full of exclusive contributed content by New Brunswick creatives all about fibre arts and healing through creativity. I am so excited to see it come together!
When it comes right down to it, I am making this magazine because I believe it matters and these are stories that I want to see out in the world. I wish I could give each copy away.
However, paper and ink don't grow on trees, so here's my pitch. If you have enjoyed following my story and those of the artists I feature on CreatedHere, do consider supporting this project by subscribing to future issues or purchasing back issues.
You'll be inspired by all that is created right here in New Brunswick by our artists and makers.