Well, we did it. After a really successful Indiegogo campaign, you people gave us enough love and money to purchases our own printer, paper, ink, and time to get our first official edition of a print magazine out the door. We laughed, we cried, we toiled, and we learned a lot. I thought I would write a quick update about how the process went and what we learned. If you haven’t got yourself a copy yet, check the venues downtown. Hopefully there are still a few left!
Our goal with the August edition of Music Lives print version was really just to get something out the door as a trial run. As a team, we didn’t have a lot of experience in the world of print, so we wanted to learn the ropes and see where the hiccups would happen. Our primary objective has always been to focus on content. We knew that printing the magazine ourselves would save money and not lock us into any hard deadlines, but the downside would be that we probably wouldn’t have fancy paper or professional layout and design. We were are still are okay with this! We figured that if we gave you peeps a solid magazine that you enjoyed reading, you wouldn’t mind if it didn’t have a shiny cover 🙂
All in all, I would call our first edition a success. We got it out the door and copies were disappearing faster than we could print them, which is awesome. Everyone I talked to loved the content and said the magazine looked really well done. For me, that’s a personal win, because I haven’t had ANY experience designing magazines before. A HUGE thank you to Katy Butters, our editor, who helped me learn that good consistency, formatting, and grammar will go a long way!
Our trusty printer managed to work overtime for a whole week without breaking down, which I will also deem a success. We went for a more inexpensive printer and I had my doubts at the beginning, but by the end of the week, she was still chugging along and we managed to get 50 copies out the door.
Where We Can Improve
After praising our printer, I also need to take a moment to reflect on the problems we ran into during the printing process. We really wanted to have as much colour as possible in the magazine to make for a better reading experience. As a result, we ran through a lot of ink. I am now friends with the kind gentleman who works at Inkjet Island in Stone Road Mall (they have awesome 20 minute refill service!) and we have a solid handle on how much ink is going to cost for future editions.
The main problem with the printer that we purchased was speed. We set off to print all 50 copies on the first day, and learned very quickly that it wasn’t going to be possible. The cover took over an hour to print and we were on a limited time schedule. After some practice, we found the best number of pages to print out at one time to get into the production line for sorting, stapling, and folding, and can now get 15-20 copies out in an afternoon.
Looking to the Future
There are a few things that we’ll be improving for future editions. The Indiegogo campaign was a great tool for getting our first round of advertisers on board, but we need a better solution for the long term. In the next few days, we’ll be announcing advertising packages for the magazine, website, and some other additional perks. While we need to find enough advertisers to keep the magazine running, we aren’t looking to make millions off this, so ads will be affordable, and packages will reflect overall support for Music Lives.
We also have big dreams! By the end of this year, we are hoping to register Music Lives as a not-for-profit organization to help bands, promoters, and venues get the good word out there about live music in Guelph. With the formalized structure, we are hoping to provide more services and opportunities for the local music industry to excel and grow.
As always, we love hearing your feedback. If you have any comments, questions, or would like to get involved with what we are doing, you can always shoot Aaron and I an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.
Thanks again for all the love, Guelph. We are so happy to help this amazing local music scene, and look forward to a long and loving relationship with the fans, the musicians, and everyone who makes this city so awesome.