BRINK Magazine as we know it, is gone.
OMG, was that too much? Well here's the thing. I decided in November right before the Nick Wechsler issue/No. 30 that I would be putting the magazine on indefinite hiatus. So why a hiatus and not just fold the magazine. Well for one, we're not big enough to "fold." There's no shuttering and no pink slips to hand out. Another reason is that I put four years of heart and soul into this and I don't think I can just let it go. So a hiatus seemed to be the most logical reason. Plus, I don't know if a year from now I would want to pick it up again and give it another go. If I do "give it another go" we need to come clean about something first. And I'm sure their are tons of other small publications, brands and entrepreneurs that are doing their business this way too. But here's the thing. This may be a secret. It may not be a secret, it may just be a "taboo topic." Side note: love the word "taboo." So, what is this taboo topic?
It is me doing everything in the magazine. Moi.
Not a surprise to those in "the know" but maybe more of an a-ha moment to those that didn't know. There is no "we" or "us" or even that much of a team.
With some exceptions. But all the creative direction, social media, graphic design (any design!), public relations, email marketing, *breathe*, image release requests, answering multiple email accounts, writing and *breathe* so on and so so so on...yeah, that's me. The exceptions being that I manage and select my small team of contributors on writing assignments and imagery. If a contributor doesn't pick up a assignment, well then, I write it. Also, my trusty sidekick Jackie was down for Copy Writing for well over a year, which helped a lot.
This became exxxxxxxxhausting. Over four years of answering emails of agents/etc wanting to know how to get PDF's, reps wanting their clients to be seen, ensuring all the initials from interviews were deleted from the final PDF version, getting hi-res imagery, working with contributors to pull out their very best and ultimately ensure the tone of BRINK was consistent - all this and more for one person, many a night were spent sobbing. Not really. Ok, really. And you know, the thing was, I really tried to stay ahead of the game. I would have those PDF's ready for agents, I would try to reach out to every single rep that reached out and I would work with the contributors to help them create their very best, but at the time time, this was all chipping away at me piece by piece.
The other thing is that the magazine never made any money. None. Not a dollar. If you bought an issue, that money would be the cost of your issue and any shipping accrued. If there were even pennies left over, well that money could go to the monthly website fee or domain fee or something else attributed to helping the magazine run.
More on all the above another time, let's cut to the chase here. What I learned from all of this is what I need from a team to make this publication successful if it does indeed resurrect form the great beyond. Taking experiences from previous work at VH1, vitaminwater and Warner Records and combining that with any new media tips from bloggers, social media whiz kids and brands that were thriving were what I put in the melting pot to get this pub revved up.
The magazine ultimately ended because I could no longer do it all on my own. There was a never a time where anyone wanted to fully contribute to the publication - I'm talking full -ly. This isn't a 50% of the time thing, it's an all the time thing. A few people tried, but after several months they would taper off or become hostile and that's not what any part of the magazine is about - it should be fun. The magazine couldn't afford to compensate anyone, but we couldn't get to compensation until any type of help was on the way. I could not be everywhere all the time. Do you see what I'm saying? Ok, here's what would've been great. In order of most important. I think.
1. Ad Sales
Number one with a bullet. We needed to sell the space to generate income for the magazine, print issues (small quantity of fine until more of a demand picked up) and compensate those who need to be compensated the most. I was paying photographers and contributors from time to time, but that money was coming from me personally. Honestly (sorry guys), big mistake. Especially considering some trials and tribulations I've had the last few months.
This person or team would need to be sharks. They know how to talk to people, work with people, negotiate and ultimately land the deal. Too many people thought they knew what they were doing when they "tried" at doing ad sales for the magazine, but it was almost laughable. I'm the only person in four years who ever landed any form of advertising of the magazine.
2. Social Media
I was doing all the social media across all platforms and trying to create relationships and start conversations with posts, images, memes and more, but it was too much. At times I would lost the brand because I became too confused. At times, I would wonder of a post was "Kyle" or "BRINK"? Also, do you know how difficult it was to come up with halfway witty stuff on all these accounts all the time? Wow, that was a struggle! And get you, the reader, to click a link - tough. I mean, I was tracking links, I know which ones were clicked most. Interesting stuff.
I would want this person - or team - to be on all the networks and work with videographers for short videos/gifs and engaging content that inspires the readers. Keep a human component and be on all the time.
I never really wanted to be Editor, but obviously when you start something, you need to see it though. But I would like a very knowledgeable person to come in or someone smart and eager to learn and to have that person led the team with my guidance to a quality piece of work.
This person needs to know how to talk to people, how to "read" people and how to work with people. It's all about communications and Interpersonal skills.
3b. Editorial Team
Once again a group of highly committed writers and journalists who are thirsty for assignments and can stick to writing guidelines and word counts. Seriously. I don't know how many times I gave a written word count and would come back nearly quadruple what I said to turn in. Edit that please. My god. Its almost directorial to me! Seriously.
This group would be young, hungry and don't say "sure." They say "absolutely!" They say, "you got it!" They say, "what can I do next?!" Exclamations points, give 'em to me.
4. Graphic Designer
My lord. I had never done graphic design a day in my life. From the first issue to the last, anyone can see major changes. It would actually crack me up when I would read comments on Instagram and someone would say, "I love the design work!" I was like, holy s***. There are a few points in the magazine where you see major shifts. The beginning to Feb/March 2011 is one era, then that issue to August/September 2011 is another era and then that issue to Dec 2012/Jan 2013 is another era and that issue ultimately is the final look of the magazine that gets tweaked and manicured. Went through four stages, but really started to find an identity that worked and clicked, but I know that there is so much greater to be had! I know that magazine has much deeper potential and I know there is someone out there is itching to be that person.
This person or group needs to be nerds. Plan and simple. You live, eat, breathe design. You like pop culture and you get off on geometric lines. You are skilled, savvy and know how to work with various programs.
So if these things were in place at any given time (with minimum staff support)...
Ad Sales (1-3 people)
Social Media (1-3 people)
Editor (1 person)
Editorial Staff (5-7 people)
Graphic Designer (2-3 people)
...I would bring back the magazine. Lets re-up the logo, let's clean up the vibe and let's get the message out there, plain and simple That we can do anything we want if we just start.
Note: This post became verrrrrry long winded and long in general than I originally intended, so tell me, do you like this post? More like it? Comment and let me know. Coming up next, secrets behind the last issue and what went into making it happen.