Adventures In Publishing
23 November 2016
For the last Riposte Presents event of 2016 we turned our attention to publishing. We invited a line up of women whose magazines and books offer a new way of presenting ideas within printed pages and online. For the line up we invited Liv Little of gal-dem, Lucy Nurnberg and Lydia Garnett of Accent, Liv Siddall of Rough Trade Magazine and Angharad of Grafik who also recently released a book called, “So You Want To Publish A Magazine?” through Laurence King. Each speaker shared their stories, insights and lessons learned from their adventures in publishing.
"Believe in your content"
Lucy & Lydia, Accent Magazine
Our editor Danielle started off the proceedings with a round up of things she’s come to realise since launching the first issue of Riposte. Namely – have a clear vision/objection, stop procrastinating and embrace failure, know where your money is coming from, look outside of your regular frames of reference and focus on the last 5% as that’s always when mistakes are made.
Liv Little talked us through the journey of starting gal-dem as a reaction to feeling isolated at university in Bristol. What grew was a supportive network and online publishing platform created by women of colour. Since launching they’ve posted articles on a wide range of issues, published their first print issue, grown their readership and hosted one of the most successful Friday Late at the V&A where they filled a traditionally white space with art and music by people of colour and hundreds of their readers and followers.
Lucy and Lydia spoke next about starting Accent after a trip to Burning Man and wanted to create a platform to share the stories of the fascinating and inspiring people they’d met there. Accent has grown from a quarterly online magazine to a bi-annual print publication that profiles the incredible stories of incredible people. Their current cover features a topless image of Lucia Lucas – a transgender opera star and one of the world’s only female baritones. Lucy and Lydia shared a really interesting story about the feedback they’d received from a stockist who had refused to stock the issue based on the cover image. He mailed back to say, “Sorry but the person on the cover was neither attractive nor interesting; I expect only a small proportion of people will want to know more about that individual.” – a response that validated why Accent is needed and exactly why Lydia and Lucy want to challenge what is attractive and interesting.
We had a break in between talks for more Tanqueray and tonics and to flick through the selection of magazines that Mag Culture had kindly curated for their pop up shop.
Following the break Liv Siddall of Rough Trade talked us through how she went about tackling the challenge of making a 64 page monthly magazine for a well loved and well established iconic shop and label like Rough Trade. Her handy work is a funny, well considered and clever look at what Rough Trade is, the people who pass through, work their and the music that holds it all together. Each issue perfectly sums up Liv’s outlook and is inspired by some of her favourite magazines – Viz, Private Eye, Smash Hits and Cheap Date. An absolute highlight of her talk was when she shared a list of things to be scared of by one of the Rough Trade staffers. On it were things like “someone ice skating over my fingers, beaks, hanging baskets and the speed of mice.” This list is now a monthly feature where he expands on why these things scare the shit out of him. Possibly the most perfect feature idea of all time.
Angharad Lewis was our final speaker of the evening. She consolidated all of the thoughts and lessons of the evening into an A-Z format. She talked about her time at Grafik as a print magazine and now it’s digital format as well as many of the insights she was privy to whilst researching and writing “So You Want To Publish A Magazine?” She talked about how the indie publishing scene is driving innovation in the industry, how you should work with your friends and embrace mistakes as there’ll always be your next issue to get it right.
Thanks to everyone who came down to the event, to all of our speakers, our printers Park for their support, Mag Culture for their pop up shop and to Tanqueray for keeping the bar well stocked and everyone’s glass topped up.
We’ll be back in 2017 with more events, if you’d like to get involved or have any suggestions of topics/themes you’d like to see discussed get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.