One evening, a winter or two ago, I attended a meeting in London. On this cold Thursday in February, hosted by Marcus Webb & Rob Orchard of the excellent Delayed Gratification Magazine www.slow-journalism.com/, the thirty or so in attendance discussed all things relating to Launching An Independent Magazine. It was a very interesting meeting and I recommend anyone who is thinking about doing just that to go along. I learned a lot, even if I haven’t applied all of it yet…
One of the many pieces of information I remember was the very simple epithet of: Exist, then evolve. It’s a great little line and allows magazine creators to not have to leave the country if they don’t produce The Perfect Magazine at the first try. You won’t, you just won’t, but if you keep doing it, you will get better.
So, a year or so later, having just released AMW.3: The LOST/FOUND Issue (on sale here: www.amwmagazine.com ) I look back at our first two issues and smile, and not because they make me laugh with their amateur look and design, but because they show me how far A Million Ways has come since then. I smile at all the submissions we have received over the last year; at all of the emails to all these new and wonderful writers we now know and get to work with; at all of those late nights agonising whilst searching for the perfect photo to illustrate a story…all of it.
It just makes me smile because I get to do this every day, and all of the stress of the submission window, the decision process, the editing process and then the final stressbomb of production closely followed by the weird calm once it is sent to the printers, all goes away once you hold that first issue out of the box and you see it was all worth it. It is. Every minute.
So, over the course of the last few months we’ve learned some new lessons and we’ve totally re-designed and now re-launched AMW, and we have nearly sold out of our initial print run. It’s a beautiful issue and we’re very proud of it.
But, our process isn’t without flaws and we acknowledge that it wasn’t perfect. I’ve been guilty of several things which really annoy me about the whole submission process, not just for us, but for submissions to all magazines in general. I’ve been called out, and rightly so, by a couple of writers who pointed out that for all the good we do by producing a beautiful magazine, it can be undone by a weak link in the process and relationships we have taken time to develop, can turn sour over such weak links.
So, we’ve had a few coffees and we’ve talked about it, discussed the issues, and made changes to our processes to make things clearer and easier for everyone. We’ve done this just as we go into the opening of the submission window for AMW.4 (more to follow on that). We are starting as we mean to go on.
Exist, then evolve.
I shall be posting a NEW MANIFESTO up on the website in the coming days, detailing the changes to our process, as well as our commitments to each writer that chooses to submit to us, and for the last issue there were over 200 of you. But, we need to be held to a standard and so we’ve created one and we hope that you understand why we’ve made certain changes and introduced some new things too.
I’m sure it will evolve, but first it must exist.
Dan / Richard / Jen