How (Not) To Start a Local Magazine – Part One
When Melissa and I began the process of starting Rethink Monthly almost two years ago, I remember paper choice being one of the biggest decisions for me. Normally, I would say that choosing the right printer would be the first place to start but, fortunately, I already had a good relationship with a local printer whose work I admired. So, for us, this wasn’t really the first step.
Finding the right printer is vital. Having a good relationship with your biggest supplier is of the utmost importance. Like the old adage goes, If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back – the same is true when having a good working relationship with your printer. If you pay on time, recommend others to them, keep them in the know well in advance of any changes you’ll need to make, they will be happy to help meet or exceed deadlines and go above and beyond in the printing process, making your product the best it can be. You need them just as much as they need you, so make sure you do whatever you can to solidify a great working relationship. For us, this step was already in place. We needed to move on to creating an image.
So, before figuring out how many copies to print or the amount of pages in our publication, I felt that paper choice was vital in making our publication a success and therefore the decision on what type of paper to use needed to be determined first. Most Christian publications are done on the cheap – not that I blame them, its just that a large budget usually isn’t attainable – so the quality of paper and lack of color seems to be the first to go. For us, lacking in paper quality was not an option.
But… (and here comes the reason why this is a How Not To post)
We decided to go with 60lb. Gloss Book paper right out of the gate – the most expensive paper that our printer offers. I was so determined to make sure the quality of paper was top notch, that I didn’t really think about the long term effects. It wasn’t cost effective. It was beautiful and glossy and shiny but we were spending too much money. A few months later I realized that we could get the same results even if we changed the quality of paper. We went with 43lb. ElectraCote – much thinner paper but the colors seemed to pop more. So, even though we downgraded paper, we improved our image and saved ourselves a ton of money. If I would’ve spent the time looking into this before we printed our first publication, I could’ve saved our company thousands of dollars.
Live and learn. Finding a printer is important. Finding the right type of paper to print your publication on is equally important. Next comes content and design.