What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine? 6 Steps, Note


Putting out a magazine can be both exciting and hard. When making a print or digital magazine, there are a lot of things to think about and a lot of work to do. But magazines are also a great way to work with other people and get better at editing.

Then what should you do first? How does it really work? How much work is left to do? Here are some things you should think about when you start your magazine.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

Several steps in making a magazine are often done at the same time by, among others, the editorial and advertising departments, the printer, and the circulation department.

Because of this, when turning ideas into a magazine, it’s important to talk, plan, and stay organized. Each magazine has its own way of doing this, but there is a basic way to do it.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

Planning and Preparing Content

Often, the end result is used as a place to start. Editors and publishers decide when a magazine will come out, and the printer and circulation department decides when the deadlines must be met for the issue to get to the reader on time. Once these times are set, the magazine’s schedule and plans may be able to move forward.

Most magazines plan the stories for each issue months or even a year in advance. A story idea can come from the editor, the staff, queries from freelance writers, or, in rare cases, manuscripts that were not asked for. In the end, it’s up to the editors of the magazine to choose what goes in each issue.

Staff members usually suggest stories and features to the editor. They are a great source for article ideas because they know a publication’s mission inside and out.

Freelance writers who have questions can also talk to the editor. A well-written inquiry will give a detailed summary of the story idea, any skills that are needed, and a list of books that the writer should read.

If an idea from a query is used but given to another writer, the person who thought of the idea could get a finder’s fee.

Even though many magazines don’t read manuscripts that they didn’t ask for, some have decided it’s worth it to read them. No matter where the idea came from, if the editor likes it, it is given to a staff writer or a freelance writer.

When an author sends a finished piece of writing to a magazine, they usually send both an electronic copy and a paper copy.

Depending on the number of editors on staff, an editor may send a manuscript to a “reading line,” which is a group of senior editors, for feedback and criticism. Before a manuscript can be used, it’s not unusual for it to need some changes.

The writer is told what needs to be changed and asked to make those changes. If after this step there are only small changes to be made, the magazine staff may be able to do them themselves. After that, the magazine will decide whether or not to publish the manuscript.

Manuscripts that have been accepted move on to copyediting. The report will be checked twice to make sure it is correct.

All of the references, statistics, and citations in the work should be checked by the author. A fact checker may ask a writer to cite their work so that they can look into it further.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

The reputation of a publication is at risk because readers expect it to be a reliable source and advertisers don’t want to be associated with a low-quality product. You can also avoid getting sued if you check the facts.

Larger magazines have a whole department of people who check the facts, but smaller magazines rely on editors or copy editors to make sure that each manuscript is correct.

The work is then carefully looked over by a copy editor, who fixes any spelling or grammar mistakes, rewrites any awkward phrases, and fixes any structural problems.

The manuscript must also follow the magazine’s style, which has rules about how to use abbreviations, punctuation, names, titles, and spelling.

The job of the copy editor is to make sure that the manuscript is ready to go to print. Once the copyediting is done, the art department can start putting the manuscript together.

Before a manuscript leaves the copy desk, the art director and the editor or assigning editor will have decided if it will have any pictures or photos to go with it.

A stock photography company might have bought the rights to print a picture from the person who made it, from a freelance photographer, or from both.

The editor in charge gives low-resolution scans of these images, text, and any pull quotes or captions to a designer in the art department.

The art director and editor will then look over the design and send it back to the copy desk for proofreading and any small trimming that may be needed. The layout is ready to go to print once the copy editor, editor, and art director all agree on it.

Research And Write

Give yourself a good amount of time to do research before you start writing. Even if your topic doesn’t require a lot of research or outside sources for the writing part, you should know what kind of work the publications you want to send your work to usually accept.

Before submitting, you should go to the publication’s website and read some of the pieces that have already been published there.

If they have already published work or journal papers that are similar to yours, you may need to think of a different way to go about it. Next, you should sit down and start writing your essay.

Edit Your Article

Once the first draft is done, it’s time to edit. Before you send your article to magazine editors, make any changes it needs to be in the best shape possible. Ask a trusted friend or another writer to look over your essay or magazine article. A person who has already been published would be best.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

Your paper may benefit from having it reviewed by a specialist in the topic of study if it contains extensive scholarly investigation. If you don’t know someone to whom you could submit your work for feedback, you can pay a nominal amount to have it edited by a professional editor or peer reviewer.

Production, Printing, and Distribution

The break of the book is the process of deciding which articles and ads will go where in an issue. It must be decided how big a magazine issue will be and how many ads will be in it compared to articles.

Once these things are set, the production manager starts making thumbnails of each page to plan the magazine.

The editor and art director of an issue describe what’s in it. The fact that most parts of a magazine always go in the same place makes it easier to plan.

But the map will be changed many times during production to account for last-minute changes to how commercials and stories are scheduled.

The job of the production manager is to make sure everything is ready for the printer. While the editorial pages are being put together, the production manager gets materials for the advertising pages.

Even though these pages are often made by different ad agencies and design studios, it is the job of the production manager to make sure that all ads are delivered on time and formatted according to the publication’s rules.

Advertisements can be sent to the magazine in different ways, such as on film, electronically, or as preprinted pages that are then bound into the magazine.

Before the production manager gives the materials to the printer, the printer has already scheduled press time, ordered paper, and made any other necessary preparations. As soon as the printer gets the materials, the prepress process begins.

Images with a low resolution will be replaced with versions that are better quality. At this point, we’ll also make any color changes that need to be made to the photos. Now, they can start making movies for the magazine.

The publisher has to give the printer the go-ahead before the press can start. So, a proof is taken from the movie so the magazine can approve it. There are many ways to make proofs, from blue lines to digital color proofs.

At this point, the order of the pages is checked, and any mistakes are looked for one last time throughout the whole publication.

Even though the printer will charge you for any changes you make at this point, this is your last chance to make changes without spending a lot of money. As soon as this proof is approved, we can send the magazine to the printers.

The production manager or the art director may be there at the start of a press run to check the quality. This is called a “press check,” and it involves working with the press operators to make sure that the pages will run in register and have good color quality.

Once the magazine rep has approved the press sheet, they will sign it and save it so that the printing process can use it as a guide.

After the magazine pages have been printed and given time to dry, they will be folded, trimmed, bound, and made ready to be given out.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

The job of the circulation director is to get magazines to the people who want to read them. Larger magazines have “circulation” departments that get the magazines ready to be sent out.

They are in charge of signing the agreement and keeping subscriber records up to date. Most magazines for second-class mail are already sorted by address labels and bar codes.

If a publication wants its mail to be delivered quickly and cheaply by the USPS, its circulation staff must understand and follow its rules.

For single-copy sales, the circulation department may work with a national distributor to get printed issues to stores.

A big magazine will be sent to wholesalers all over the country by the national distributor. A wholesaler will keep track of how much they send to grocery stores and convenience stores in their area.

The wholesaler will let the national distributor know that copies that weren’t sold were sent back to them. When the publisher wants to know how many copies were sold, the national distributor can give it to them.

Maintaining Editorial Focus

The publisher and editor of a magazine must know who they are writing for if they want it to be successful. The publisher keeps track of how well the magazine is doing by looking at how many copies are sold and how many people sign up to get it.

The editor’s job is to use the results of any polls or surveys of readers that the magazine does itself or has done for it to create content that the magazine’s audience is likely to like. When making decisions, the editor of a magazine must always keep the publication’s main goal in mind.

Most magazines are either for regular people or for business people. There are a lot of different groups in the consumer classification.

Each one tries to reach readers based on where they live, what they like, their age, gender, income level, race, or any other unique quality. Advertisers can reach people who are interested in their products by putting their ads in consumer magazines.

Consumer magazines, which are easy to get a hold of, make most of their money from ads. Even though advertising is a big part of how trade journals make money, their subscription prices are usually much higher than those of magazines for people with general interests.

It’s important to think about what kind of magazine you’re making when you’re making one. The schedule is the most obvious sign that a magazine’s focus has changed.

For example, a news magazine is not like other magazines in that it’s hard to guess what will be in it. Special reports and investigations need to be put together quickly if they are to still be newsworthy when the publication comes out.

Fashion magazines have a bit more of a schedule, since their fall and spring issues tend to be bigger to fit the fashion shows and new styles of the season.

Because the seasons change every year, many fashion, lifestyle, and outdoors magazines want their photo shoots to happen a year in advance. For example, if a fall issue needs outdoor scenes, the photographer can’t take pictures of the leaves changing in May.

A lot of things, including the editorial schedule, depend on what kind of magazine is being made. The steps a manuscript has to go through and the number of people who work for a magazine can also change.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

A test kitchen staff is often part of a magazine about cooking, for instance. Their job is to test recipes before they are published to make sure they work and taste good.

They also come up with story formulas and give ideas for story ideas. While the editors and copy editors work on the content, the test kitchen will look at the recipes.

Some magazines may need a field expert to look over a manuscript to make sure it is correct and relevant before it can be published. For instance, articles in fitness magazines are often checked by doctors to make sure they are true.

Because they focus on photography and other visuals, magazines like Artforum are more appealing to people who like to look at things.

If the people you want to read your work are picky, you may need more color proofs and careful press checks to make sure the final product meets their high standards. Since many art magazines use better paper, each issue costs more to make.

Technological Advancements

Since the middle of the 20th century, technology has made a big difference in how magazines are made. Most magazines are now digital, and page layouts are made with PCs and software.

This has led to the end of a number of jobs and ways of doing things. Before the personal computer came along, manufacturing was done in a tight chain, with each person doing their job in a specific order.

Since desktop publishing came along, these lines have become less clear as everyone on the team takes on more responsibilities in the making process.

Now, an editor can add text to a layout and an art director can do things that used to be done by the production staff. People who work in a desktop publishing system have to figure out who is in charge of what so that the staff doesn’t fight and things are clear during the production process.

The number of people needed to publish magazines has gone down because computer software has made many tasks that used to take a lot of work easier.

Magazines save money by putting out fewer issues with a smaller staff, but now more than ever, employees are expected to do more with each issue. Now, one person can edit, format, and number the pages of content at the same time. This gets rid of bottlenecks and speeds up the process.

Since technology has made making a magazine faster and more efficient, editorial and advertising deadlines have been pushed back. News magazines can add new stories as soon as they happen, which helps their advertising departments sell more ads.

This, on the other hand, makes it harder for the production team to meet the tight deadlines. A new problem has also come up: technology that changes quickly.

Publishing production staff often have to train and learn how to use new technologies in order to do their jobs, since new software and systems are always being released and used.

Even though changes in technology have made some things less clear, magazines are now made faster and with fewer problems.’

A new kind of magazine has also grown because of the rise of new technologies. Several magazines about computers have become very popular, and others have added online shopping, Internet resource guides, and reader letters to the things they already cover.

As this new computer culture becomes part of readers’ everyday lives, it’s only natural that it makes its way into editorial content.

At the same time that magazines can’t ignore the growing computer culture in their articles, publishers have to think about the future of printed media versus electronic media.

Most people who work for magazines now don’t see electronic media as competition, but as another way to get their stories out there. Most publishers have been slow to completely switch to an electronic format, but they have started to use the new technology in some way.

Around the middle of the 1990s, magazines started to think about using CD-ROMs to reach their readers. Editors now have to deal with the fact that a compact disc (CD) can hold not only text and large images, but also animation, video, and sound. Now, magazines could talk about a whole new set of things.

What Is the Process for Publishing a Magazine?

With the help of indexes and cross-references, readers can quickly find the exact information they need among the text and images. The person reading can do things with the digital pages. Even with these benefits, problems like incompatible computers and slow hard drives still exist.

This is a good way for magazine publishers to sell special one-time publications or software that goes with their magazines. For example, cooking magazines have used CD-ROMs to give their readers recipe software that lets them access a huge database of recipes and add their own to the archive.

Online publications already have a lot of good things going for them, and now there are more good things to say about them.

Compared to a printed magazine, the World Wide Web gives you access to more types of information, such as audio and video. However, its speed is its best feature. There are less moving parts than when a magazine was printed.

This means that editors can change a page whenever they want and as often as they want, so there are no “old issues” or stories that are out of date. Magazines can now be as important as TV and radio, which used to be the only two media that were.

Also, editors may be able to talk back and forth with readers right away, which lets them deal with problems and comments right away. An online magazine’s readers can talk to each other and the magazine’s editors in a chat room or forum.

Even though it’s hard to argue against these benefits, most printed magazines aren’t switching to online versions. Instead, magazines are getting bigger by adding online versions.

Consider Costs

Costs for printing and making must be taken into account. When they first start a magazine, most people don’t have all the skills and knowledge they need to make it exactly how they want it. It is possible to get help with the layout from a designer, as well as from a photographer and an editor.

Sometimes you can find writers and artists who are just as eager as you are to share their work with the world. You may have to buy ready-made templates or use a free Blurb magazine template.

Check out our interview with Paris Kim, who made the magazine Marjorie, to learn more about how to make a magazine and how to work with other people.

Print on demand helps keep costs down because it doesn’t require a big print run to get started. Instead, you only make books that people ask for.

Start a Kickstarter campaign if you need money to publish a book or magazine. See how this has been done in the story Fake Geek Girls Like Us. You could include the work of your first backers in your first edition, for example.


The process of publishing a magazine may be tedious and time-consuming, whether you’re a professional freelance writer or an aspiring essayist trying to get published for the first time. You’ll need more than just a captivating tale and unique voice to have your article published. It’s not over until you put the final words on paper.

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Pat Moriarty
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