Many of us are aspiring writers and wait for a chance to prove our talents. I recently had such an opportunity. The Assamese society of Ramjas College publishes an annual magazine called ‘Luit‘. So when I got the chance to head the magazine along with my co-editor Harshita Hiya, it was an opportunity for us to see whether or not we were capable. Frankly, I found out that I was not but learned a lot in the process nonetheless.
Editing and publishing a magazine is not all about writing. It also takes good planning and management skills, dedication and the desire to get it to happen just the way you want it. I learned a lot from this experience and it is difficult to sum it all up in a short article but there are a few important things that one has to keep in mind if one wants to publish a magazine.
Layout of the magazine.
This includes everything from what the cover page will be like, number of articles, designs on each and every page (will they be different or the same), the font size, what type of font, the type of paper to be used and so on. This is the first thing to do because everything will have to be within the budget and pretty at the same time (unless it is sponsored and there is no limit on spending).
If the magazine has a theme then the type content is automatically decided. Usually after one has all the articles, he or she can decide what to include and what to leave out. The quality of articles decides the success of the magazine.
There might be many enthusiastic writers who are willing to write, in which case, it becomes easy to fill the pages. Then again one might not be so lucky. It is often tough finding people who are willing to contribute and tougher still, to find those with decent contributions. You might have to dig up contacts, ask favours and in a worst case scenario, write a few of them yourself to fill the pages. Also it is important that you set a deadline for everyone and yourself. Otherwise time management goes for a toss.
Consulting people with experience.
This has to be done if you are doing it for the first time. Learning about others’ experiences will help you work better and avoid the mistakes they made. Another benefit is that they might get you in touch with someone who might be willing to contribute.
Finding a decent publisher.
This has to be someone who fits your budget and is willing to deliver the copies to you on time. There are some who possess the software and are willing to create only the layout with you. Then there are others who only print and these people work only after they have the soft copy (layout) of the magazine.
This is the most important part of editing. You have to be very careful in acknowledging each and everyone who had a part, however small, in making the magazine a success. This includes everyone from the core team to a teacher who gave a vital piece of advice. Giving each the adequate recognition is what makes you a good Editor.
Editing ‘Luit‘ was one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had. Of course I made quite a few mistakes and some of them really huge but I would love to do it again!