So you want to start a magazine!

Well, you are not alone. Almost every one and his/her cousin want to start a magazine. You have heard my take on starting a magazine and you have read the chapters in your text book about the subject matter. Now, it is time to read someone’s else views on the matter.

Here is an article I found on line
for you to read on How to Start a Magazine. Read it, compare it to what you read in the book and find another article dealing with the same subject and post in the comment section.

Starting a magazine begins with an idea, but ideas come by the dozen and are usually worth a dime or less. It is the execution of the ideas that counts. So, come one, come all tomorrow to class prepared to share your ideas and what type of magazine you are going to start you on the journey of becoming a Magazine Maker.


About Samir "Mr. Magazine™" Husni, Ph.D.

Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine™, is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer of Journalism at the School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Husni is the author of the annual Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 28th year. He is also the author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today's Marketplace published by Hamblett House, Inc. and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine, published by Kendall Hunt, Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, published by Kendall Hunt, and co-author of Design Your Own Magazine. He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of the magazine groups of the Morris Communications Company, Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader's Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, Sail Magazine, American Airlines Publishing, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Finnish magazine group Sanoma Magazines, Southern Progress magazines, New South Publishing, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Vance Publishing Corporation, the Florida Magazine Association, The Magazine Association of Georgia, the National Society of Black Journalists, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the American Press Institute. He is "the country's leading magazine expert," according to Forbes ASAP magazine, "the nation's leading authority on new magazines," according to min:media industry newsletter; and The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "the planet's leading expert on new magazines." Dr. Husni has been interviewed by major U.S. media on subjects related to the magazine industry. He has been profiled and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as the major newsweeklies and a host of trade publications. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, PBS, and on numerous radio talk shows including National Public Radio's Morning and Weekend Editions. Dr. Husni has also served as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving major media corporations including Time Inc. and American Express Publishing among others. He has been a judge of The National Magazines Awards, The Evangelical Magazines Association, The City and Regional Magazines Association, and The Florida and Georgia Magazine Association Awards. Dr. Husni is the President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations. Dr. Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. When he is not in his office reading magazines, Dr. Husni is at the newsstands buying magazines.
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12 Responses to So you want to start a magazine!

  1. Alex Pence says:

    As anyone with sense about them would in this digital age, both the article and the textbook address electronic media and the difference between working for an online “magazine” vs. the traditional print. The main difference is that the author of the article actually considers an online storehouse of information a magazine, while Dr. Husni does not—and I tend to agree with the ladder. What is different about an online magazine than any other webpage with photos and content? Also, the article talks in depth about costs, pricing, and other money-related subject matter, something that has not been discussed at length up to Chapter Six in the book.
    Another great website I found for all young entrepreneurs interested in fame and fortune is, whose tagline reads “because this is the hardest part.” The website offers updates on all the latest and greatest launches, as well as tons of relevant and helpful advice on everything related to being fresh meat in the magazine business. I learned a lot in a short time just from surfing this site for 15 minutes—great find!

  2. Jajuan McNeil says:

    The article that you gave us to read and an article that I found on the Internet basically cautioned about the same thing. Finding a way to charge. The book on the other hand does not. It pretty much tells you to be daring and make something that people won’t mind paying for. It’s all about the execution in the magazine. If the person that starts the magazine is always worried about how the bottom line looks and how they will “trick” a person into paying for the content, not providing the best content, but giving “good enough” content.
    The main differences in the articles is that the person writing does not look at the magazine as a displayer and communicator of important information in the articles that were on the Internet, more like a business model that is worried about money. The book looks at magazines as an experience that a person should be able to have each and every time they open the periodical.

  3. Elizabeth White says:

    Both the book and this article provide good advice on how to begin starting a magazine . A common factor in everything I’ve read regarding beginning your own publication is the fact that you must find a new idea or a new way to present an old idea, and make this idea appealing to readers in an original and creative way. It does not matter how good your design is or how talented your writing is if you do not have an idea that grabs people and pulls them in. Here is a very simple article I found online which details in 6 steps the author of the article’s opinion on how to start a magazine:

  4. Erin Duff says:

    Both the book and the article I found online point out the importance of reaching a specific demographic base. Both sources state that trying to reach everyone without a specific demographic in mind will ultimately fail. Specificity is good because a specific group of people will always want to read about a specific topic.
    I think this concept is highly accurate and sensible. People relate to specific hobbies and things that interest them, which in turn prompts them to buy and continue buying those certain magazines. It is also more relatable. It gives the reader the sense that the material in the magazine was meant for their enjoyment alone. Specificity, which leads to being relatable, is a major selling point.

  5. Elizabeth Evans says:

    Just as we discussed in class, good ideas come by the dozen and it is in the execution of those ideas that counts and makes an impact. Both the text as well as this article present advice on starting your on magazine and emphasize the importance of targeting a very specific audience and knowing that audience inside and out. Here is an article I found that provides detailed descriptions and good background information on starting up a magazine:

  6. Elizabeth Pearson says:

    Through reading both the article and the book, we learn that creating a magazine is not an easy task. If I read online article correctly, it said they “cant speak to the needs of a print magazine, so I’m going to assume you’re interested in an online magazine and move on.” This really didn’t sit with me well because I don’t believe a magazine can exist solely online. I believe that online can enhance the print version, but an “online magazine” is just a website in my opinion. I agree with chapter five in the book that describes “what is a magazine?” It’s printed, bound and arrives periodically at our doorsteps. As it exists in a physical form, we are able to have a hands-on relationship with it, whether it is for 20 minutes or 2 hours. While I found those two opposites in the book and article, they agree that as magazine makers that we must develop an idea and target a specific audience.

  7. Rochlynn DeBarbieris says:

    The article and information from the book both seem to stress that fact of the need to comply with the growing technology so that readers can access magazines efficiently and effectively. The problem stated in the article and also touched on in the book is that readers are wanting to obtain more at their convenience but pay less to nothing for it. Although readers do not see things this way, the author in the article explains in detail the pricing that goes into each publication in order for a successful magazine and most importantly for the publication company to survive. I do not think that a magazine can exists solely online for I feel that a magazine looks and feels differently on print and gives the reader a more interactive hands on experience that they can’t receive from a screen. The book discusses that magazines have a life cycle and the growing technology’s may “blur” new concepts but publishers must adapt to the new day and age. I think both the article and the book state very valid points as the number of magazines publishes increases daily it is very important to gain the competitive advantage in such a competitive industry.

  8. Maggie Giffin says:

    The article, “How to start a magazine,” consisted of false advertising in my opinion because I do not believe an online “magazine” is a magazine at all. I believe what makes a magazine a magazine is the experience of holding the bound pages in your hand, engrossing yourself in the article, then tossing the magazine onto the common room coffee table for others to enjoy as well. That is impossible to do with an online magazine loaded onto a laptop? I agree with the section in the book that covers the difference between online and print magazines; can we not come up with a name for these so called online magazine, just like television wasn’t called “radio on a screen”.

  9. Lance Ingram says:

    After reading the posted article I have to think the author could have come up with a better title. As I read I couldn’t help but think “10 ways to go bankrupt” or “how to spend money on a blog.” What the author described was not a magazine. Several times throughout Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, Dr. Husni mentions the words, “print,” “ink” and “publication,” all of which (except publication, which is still a stretch) are traits only of print magazine. An online “magazine” is nothing more than a glorified blog. It’s unrealistic to categorize an online magazine and print magazine as the same thing. Also, as I was reading the online article I couldn’t help but think that this was a failed business idea. It seems that the costs are too high for a starting business to actually sustain itself. Not to mention the author even states that it is more expensive to start an online magazine. I believe that the best way to start an online “magazine” is to start a blog and hope that it gets enough traffic that one day you can be paid for your posts.

  10. Meghan Skeffington says:

    I didn’t really agree with the article “So You Want To Start a Magazine”. I do agree that is hard to start a magazine and that failure is very likely, however with that being said, I don’t think that you should just automatically give up and have an “online version” with mediocre writers. First of all, I do not believe that an online version of a magazine is actually a magazine, it is a website. Also, you can still have awesome writers that aren’t considered “pro”, just because some people haven’t been in the business as long doesn’t mean that they are not as good writers as professional ones, yes professional writers have more experience, but a good editor will be able to find great writers that are just coming into the business.

  11. Ren Turner says:
    In this article from magazine launch, it details a very basic concept that can easily be overlooked. That is that magazine publishing is very difficult to get into, primarily because the industry is already packed full with magazines that have been around for years and have deep pockets. Competing with these people is not only gutsy, but hard.
    But that’s where the advice from Dr. Husni comes in play in knowing what you are doing and who you are targeting for the publication. The article that Dr. Husni linked too seems to acknowledge this as well as know your staff and your advertisers, etc. But she seems to believe this same doctrine that holds true for print, holds true for websites. This is where I disagree with her because a website that is only a website holds very limited value to a consumer as well as an advertiser.

  12. Natalie Dickson says:

    One thing Dr. Husni emphasizes for good magazines is that they need to be “experiences.” This includes all the senses. Perhaps this is superficial, but from just a brief glance at Ms. Mohanraj’s website, it seems she missed at least one major sense: sight. The website design did not look very professional, nor did it catch my eye. If her “magazine” simply relies on text, then her “magazine” is missing 4/5s of what goes into making a magazine that actually stays with a reader. It seemed that her website was just a collection of short stories thrown together in some type of aggregation. There wasn’t much presentation or design. Although, I do think it is important that she pointed out the cruciality of knowing exactly what kind of material you are presenting and what kind of response from readers you will get. Her website was going to be a collection of top-notch stories by top-notch writers, and that’s what she went for; she wasn’t afraid to pay the going rate for it either. I think the same principle could definitely apply to a print magazine. If you want top-quality stuff, you have to be willing to spend top-quality time and money to get it.

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