Friday, April 24

Magazine Publishing

Today's guest in the round corral, Debi Stanton, lives in Scipio, Indiana with her husband, Ray and their four miniature dachshunds. Debi is the Publisher/Editor of 
Pen It! Magazine, a magazine for Writers which she started in January, 2009.  Currently the magazine has columnists and subscribers from across the United States.  Pen It! is a bi-monthly periodical that has developed a good following locally and across the US. 

To Print or not to Print….

In today’s world, almost anyone can be a magazine publisher if they hav e a great idea and determination.  Magazines are popping up all over today’s market.  Most people publish a magazine
for love, because unless you have a huge circulation, there sure isn’t much money in it.  The larger circulation you have, the cheaper it becomes.  But, how can you grow your circulation, if you can’t afford to print the magazines?     E-Zines can be the answer.

If you are passionate about a topic and want to share that information with the world, or at least your local community, then by all means, give magazine publishing a shot.  Look at other local magazines and see if there are similar periodicals already in print.  If so, ask yourself what you will be able to offer that would pull readers to your magazine away from those already out there.
Some things to keep in mind when you are first looking into magazine publishing:

1.       Do I want a printed magazine or an e-magazine?
2.       What will my costs be if I print?
a.       Does the magazine need to be in color or just black and white? There is a price difference for printing
b.      Print type; stapled or bound spine, postage and other distribution costs.
3.       What is my market?  Who will be my subscribers?
4.       Will it be possible to secure advertisers for the type of magazine I am publishing?  In other words, who else would be interested in marketing to your readership?
5.       What are your state’s requirements to get a business checking account started?  Some states require a legal business name or at the least a d/b/a.  Paypal is a great way to handle payments and you can obtain a Paypal debit card.
6.       You need help, so solicit other writers to submit articles, stories, etc.  It is too difficult an undertaking to try to do it all yourself.  Believe me, I tried for over a year.
7.       Advertise:  List your magazine on Facebook, Twitter, the local newspaper, and anywhere you can get your name out there.
8.       Edit! Edit! Edit!   This is so important.  Your magazine must be edited and it must be as flawless as you can get it.  Once you have edited, it is a good idea to have someone else run it through with another edit, just to be sure.  
9.       When editing, try not to do too much to edit another person’s work.  Writers will stop submitting work to you if you change their work too much.  Once edited, send the work back to them to let them approve before publishing it in the magazine.
10.   Keep a database of subscribers, expenses and advertising sales for tax reasons.

I am the publisher of Pen It! Magazine, which is a quality literary magazine for writers.  We are in our 6th year of publication.  A couple of years ago, we had to make the leap from exclusively printing and mailing our magazines to offering an E-Subscription.  The cost to print and mail each magazine was so astronomical that we were losing money. 

We had to send the magazine out to a printing company and it would take a week to get them back.  When you are on a deadline that is not good.   So, about three years ago, I moved the magazine to exclusive E-Zines and reduced the price of a subscription substantially.  I saved a bunch of money, but also lost subscribers.  Writers want to see their work in print.  They are proud and they want to show it off.  So once their subscriptions expired, many did not sign back up for the E-Subscription.

Then I discovered CreateSpace through Amazon.  What a fabulous mechanism to get your work out there.  I had self-published several books on CreateSpace and finally began using the site to publish the magazines.  I saved about a dollar per magazine, even with shipping, and was able to return to offering printed magazine subscriptions.  So, now I offer both.  An E-Subscription runs $15.00 and a printed subscription runs $40.00.  (I am running a special through April for $10.00 for an E-Subscription and $35.00 for a print subscription). 

You can solicit advertisers to help offset costs.  How many magazines do you look at today that are more advertising than they are quality information?  I did not want that for Pen It! Magazine.  I wanted it to be writer-focused.  We have a few advertisers, but for the most part, the advertising we sell is to local authors trying to promote their books.  Since writing is normally not a lucrative profession, I try to keep the costs reasonable and charge $15.00 per year for a business card sized ad.  Very reasonable!

So, above all else, before you decide to publish a magazine, but sure it is something you are passionate and knowledgeable about.  Is there an interest out there for your magazine idea?  Will you have enough information to sustain your publication for years to come?  Will advertisers be interested in placing an ad in your type of magazine?  Who is your target audience?  Once you have answered those questions, then go for it, take a chance…but above all else, have fun!

I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at  Thank you.

On the fiction front, her latest release is The White Sofa. Rebel Ink Press, available on Amazon,
Barnes & Noble, Omni Lit and All Romance.

Flipping on, the next canvas was just as eerie, although the scene was different; a dark house, late at night with only one window illuminated. Scary, Sam thought. She immediately flipped to the next canvas. She nearly jumped out of her skin as a red-faced demon glared back at her. With wide eyes and mouth agape it seemed to be lunging at her. He had horns that were twisted so the points were prevalent and seemed to draw your attention to the fact that this creature could gouge you to death. 

Quickly moving on, the next painting was a single iridescent moon in the middle of a solid black canvas. The moon appeared to be oozing into the background. That was enough! Sam shoved the paintings back against the wall and looked at the portrait of the little girl again. “What the Hell happened to her that she could move from painting the innocence of a child to pure evil?” she muttered. “What went through my sister’s mind? I just don’t understand what drove her into this madness.”


  1. Thanks for joining us today, Debi! That's interesting information about the magazine. Good luck with your new release--I love that cover!

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  3. Thanks, Liz, it is an honor. I'm excited to speak with your readers about Magazine publishing and my new book The White Sofa. The cover of The White Sofa was done by hand especially for me by my friend and illustrator, Korey Woods. He is a very talented illustrator.

  4. thanks for visiting, Debi, great information!

  5. Thank you Kristina. Do you publish a magazine? Just curious

  6. Not sure how many of your readers/writers are also cooks, but I just started a new blog based on my cookbook, Recipes From a Country Cook. They can access the blog at:

  7. Great to see Debi Stanton being highlighted! It is wonderful to have a magazine that publishes our poems and stories and a place to read what others are writing. The ads are truly helpful. Thanks to WordWranglers and to Debi for being there for folks like myself who benefit from seeing our writings in print. Debi has a good heart! It's obvious she 'cares' for her readers and life in total. I highly recommend "PenIt Magazine" if you want to see your work in print!. Good place to let people know what you have for sale. (aka advertising!) Way to go, Debi!

  8. Thanks Pat for that wonderful post. I love supporting other authors. In fact, that is why I started Pen It! Magazine. Pat is one of my loyal supporters and I appreciate the feedback.

  9. FYI, Pen It! Magazine is sponsoring a Writer's Conference tomorrow, April 25th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Columbus, Indiana at the YES Cinema, near downtown. The fee is only $30.00 at the door. We have 4 fabulous speakers: Bonnie Omer Johnson, Paul Hoffman, Vickie Weaver and Dan Snow. There is also a book sales table full of information and books from local authors. Track on down to Columbus and attend. You don't want to miss this one.

  10. I'm glad you added the description of your new book. It sounds intriguing.