Tamia Stinson from Cincinnati, Ohia, is a double agent. By day, she’s a marketing and branding specialist, by night an online magazine publisher.
“I got my “real job” through a temp agency and I’ve been there for about five years. The blog and magazine came from an almost physical need for a tangible creative expression, I had to let it out; my lifetime love of fashion magazines.”
29-year-old Stinson, created an online magazine as a vehicle for her love of fashion. She just hit publish on her second issue. “This is sort of embarrassing, but originally the magazine was going to be a promotional vehicle for me and my blog, sort of a monthly digest of posts with a little behind-the-scenes information, unpublished photos, design tips, that sort of thing. Then I decided maybe I’d include one or two other bloggers, the idea just snowballed from there.
“One of the things that always pushes me along is the fear that I’ll regret not at least trying to make a go of doing things I enjoy. I would rather try and fail than not try at all.”
Three tips for creating a magazine:
- You need to really commit to publishing something you can be proud of. I gave that a lot of thought before deciding to create Style Sample Magazine.
- Make sure you know and understand your target audience and give them what they want.
- Do some research so you know what resources you have at your disposal because that will have a big impact on the quality of the publication.
“Once all is said and done–reviewing submissions, communicating with contributors, proofreading and editing articles, photo editing, design and layout, marketing, etc, I’d say each magazine is about a 30-hour project. The lovely bloggers who contribute are my saving grace when it comes to producing amazing content and promoting the magazine on their own blogs. I do need help, though, so I’m starting to work with another local blogger on design and layout.
“I’ve always loved fashion magazines and the web has made it possible to do so much for so little money, so I figured I’d start my own.”
How Stinson targets to her audience
“I participate on fashion and style-related message boards, social networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as several fashion-related networks, join communities where other fashion bloggers hang out, add the blog site to various listings, write press releases, comment on other blogs and more. Plus, the bloggers who contribute are kind enough to post it on their own blogs, so it gains traction that way as well.
“I draw inspiration from other more established magazines, websites, and print graphics when designing the layout. As far as software, I use OpenOffice to lay out the pages, Photoshop Elements and Inkscape for graphics, and Google Docs for editing text. I’d love to be able to buy a professional page layout program in the future, but for now everything I use has been free. All it costs is a lot of time and love!
Is self-publishing better than traditional publishing?
I’ve only experienced the do-it-yourself side, but I’d have to assume self-publishers have more control over their content and distribution. It’s also much more accessible and depends not on who you know, but what you know, which is the way things should be.
I’ve always loved magazines–my apartment is full of them, and some date all the way back to 1993! Producing an online magazine is obviously less expensive than producing a print magazine, though you can buy print copies of Style Sample online, too. The proliferation of software as a service providers and the ability to put your content online for free has really democratized the publishing industry.
I’m not sure if blogging itself is the end of the line for journalism, though I do think that online and mobile/portable content are the way of the future.
However, blogging is a great medium for both true journalists and people like myself who use it as a form of self expression.