Happy Wednesday folks! Sorry that this is the first post in a couple of weeks. I've been super busy as per. Talking of busy, I'd like to introduce you all to a lady who surely never sleeps! She holds down three jobs, writes for two blogs plus various publications, studies Journalism AND has founded her very own magazine. I'm exhausted just typing all that! Everyone say hello to Florence Grace!
This particular post is all about starting and producing your own magazine, something I didn't even realise was possible until I came across Florence.
If you've ever had a yearning for this, now is the time to sit up and pay attention... Over to my interview with the founder/editor in chief of LoveFrom...
Firstly Flo, could you please tell us a bit about your background...
I attended an all girls grammar school, completing GCSE's and then A Levels (with my two main subjects being English lit/lang and Communication and Culture).
I was accepted in to my first choice uni, London South Bank, to study photography but I just didn't feel right... I knew nothing about cameras or photography, I just enjoyed taking photos! So I decided to defer for a year, allowing me time to study photography at my local college.
When I went to enrol, they shifted me from photography to a brand new university level course called Creative Business. This involved studying a creative subject (for me, photography) and learning how to make a business from it.
Throughout the course I began blogging and doing my radio shows, along with numerous other media work experience days and the likes, and realised photography wasn't what I wanted to do at all... Media work was.
I used my course materials as a starting point for my brand Love from, Florence Grace, which branded me as a 'content creator' meaning I could specialise in freelance writing, social media work and also start my magazine!
Towards the end of the course, I knew this was what I wanted to do, so I very nervously withdrew my university application. I just didn't feel I needed a degree to do what I was already doing successfully! However, not long after I saw an online discounted NCTJ diploma, and thought 'hey, here's a great qualification that journalists value more than degrees, it's discounted and I can do it in my own time, so why not?' I enrolled on this course and still do this in my free time now. I specialise in Magazine Journalism.
What on earth possessed you to start your own magazine? Or rather what was it that inspired you?
I was trying to break into the media industry and started this with a blog. I found my love of writing from my childhood came flowing back and so I really wanted to get a writing job for a magazine!
I managed to get a few voluntary positions for small or up and coming magazines, which is great don't get me wrong! But I knew no magazine would take on someone like me - a then 18 year old with no journalism experience/qualifications - so I thought alright then, I'll start my own!
So that's exactly what I did ha ha! Now that I'm actually running the magazine, I realise that subconsciously I had wanted to fill a niche in the market too. All women's magazines focus mainly on women's bodies, clothes and looks. I decided to steer my magazine away from all of these topics, and whilst we have one article on how to do make up looks and one article about fashion, we talk about more exciting things, like gaming reviews, music, feminism, personal issues, travel... We are predominantly a lifestyle magazine and I don't see many of those kicking about.
Very true. We definitely could do with more lifestyle magazines! Describe how an issue of LF gets put together, from beginning to end.
First of all I pick a cover star. It has to be someone that readers will want to hear about, someone readers will be interested in. I then approach the cover star and ask if they're interested. If they are, I send them over interview questions and arrange a photoshoot or for them to send me a suitable photo to be used for the cover.
I then plot out articles written by both myself and my writers. As Love from... is released at the start of each new season, the issues are seasonal and this helps very much! I check what articles all the writers plan on doing and whether they're suitable, plan my own articles and then set the deadline. During the waiting time, I plan out the page order (although this changes on almost a daily basis, right up to the day of publishing!). I create eye catching titles in bright colours and fonts, source images that I can use legally and design different page layouts.
One by one as the articles drip into my emails I write them up into the magazine layout via copy and paste and then edit them as I go along. I might change the odd word here or there, correct some grammar, things like that. I also insert photos if the writer has provided none.
I go through the magazine, making sure every single page is perfect and then I send it off to print! (Whilst all of this goes on over the space of three months, I also promote continuously over social media, engaging with the audience all of the time so they don't forget about us between issues!)
Where did the name LoveFrom... come from?
It came to me whilst on a walk with my sister as I discussed what I would name a magazine I intended on making in the future. (the not so far off future as it turned out!)
I said, "Well, my blog is called Love from, Florence Grace, and that's me, so the magazine could be Love from... and then the name of whoever is on the cover, e.g. Love from... Rihanna". Low and behold that is the name that I chose. It links back to my blog and me, and so really ties in with my overall brand.
What would you say to a GGD reader who wants to start their own magazine? Where would they start? Can anyone do it?
I would say don't! Ha ha, I'm joking. I mean, it is super hard work... My days are often as long as 18 hours and you have to work all the time. It's not just design the magazine and you're done. You have to constantly create content, hire writers, treat friends who may write for you as employees, even fire people sometimes. You have to promote on social media, try to make an income, try to raise awareness.
It is a huge challenge but it is incredibly fun, you get some great opportunities and you never know where it's going to take you! I would definitely not start the same way as I did (with no clue what I was doing and taking on three random people to contribute a column!) but plan it all out first. What software you'll use, who will write for you, how often you'll release an issue, everything like that. Have a really detailed idea about what you're doing!
Any long term aspirations for both LF and yourself?
To see LF in shops like Smiths and Tesco so that people can pick it up and buy it whenever, not just via the internet and my PayPal!
I also want to increase readership and to be able to pay my writers!
For myself, to keep developing as a writer, a content creator and a magazine editor... Also to get a breakfast show at Radio 1! That is the dream my friends, that is the dream!
And a mighty fine dream it is Flo! Wishing you all the luck in the world.
If you would like to read Flo's magazine then check out lovefrommag.bigcartel.com where you can buy a copy from as little as £1. Alternatively you can order print issues for £2.50 each or subscribe for £10 per year. Flo is currently running a prize draw for those that pre-order the next issue and also for subscribers! If you want to be in with a chance to win a £50 gift bundle then don't delay, order asap!
You can keep up with Flo on a daily basis via her blog LoveFrom,FlorenceGrace or via Twitter @flomatthews_
The magazine LoveFrom... now has it's own website. Click here to be redirected.
If you are interested in getting involved whether it be contributing a piece or advertising then please drop Flo a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or over on Twitter @lovefrommag
Facebook link: lovefrommag
Platform for starting your own magazine as used by Florence - blurb.co.uk
That's a wrap for one evening! Hope you enjoyed the read. Have any of you ever wanted to start your own magazine? Do let me know in the comments below! Catch you all soon...
As always, sending you lots of love
*All photos supplied by Florence Matthews