Monday, January 16, 2017

Monthly Magazine Timeline Part 1

From Kate's Writing Crate...


          My schedule as a working editor and writer:

          We publish two issues every month, one each for two different towns. The page counts are based on the number of ads sold. We run about 50/50 ads to text so if 23-25 pages of ads are sold we run 48-page issues. Page counts are always divisible by four as sheets of paper are folded in half and printed on both sides. However, our printer only goes up or down in eight-page increments so sometimes there are more ads than text (a tight issue), sometimes more text than ads (an open issue).

          Since the ads are sold for each issue from, for example, January 1st-January 18th for the February issue, I do not know the actual page count until three days after my monthly deadline of the 15th, I assign articles on my best guess of the page count, but I have to have enough extra copy to fill four to six pages in case the page count goes up eight pages due to an increase in ads. This copy does not need to be timely so profiles of artists, seasonal essays, and book reviews are good to have on hand, but often I have to write an extra article or two in a day or two.

          Specific dates for one issue: By the 26th of December, I assign articles to contributing writers which are due by January 15th for the February issues mailed to every home and business in town by February 1st. This gives the writers about three weeks to contact people, interview them, and then write and rewrite their articles. I start looking for assignment topics in November, but usually discover them in December. Anything published in the magazines has to be local. These articles are about residents with interesting jobs, who are coordinating public events, or visited great location destinations (for example) along with children accomplishing amazing things like one eight-year-old boy opening a lemonade stand he set up all over town with help from his mom to raise money so every student in need in his school could buy a book at the school’s book fairs.

          From December 26th-January 15th, I copyedit information about February events and club meetings as well as news bits about award-winners, events, business news, charity donations, and photos of cute kids at parties or in scouting programs for publication which are submitted all the time.

          Copyediting means I reduce the information to basic facts: who, what, when, where, cost (if any), why (if it’s about a charity or fundraising event). The events are either open to the public or for different groups in town like gardening club, women’s clubs, school events, concerts, the arts, performances, etc. The news bits run about 80-150 words with a photo usually.

          I also copyedit for the magazine’s style. For example, time is 8am, not 8AM or 8 A. M. Dates are listed as February 6 not 6th. Numbers under ten are written out, ten and over are numeric. Space is at a premium so we use the version that takes up the least amount.

I copyedit information from local libraries and senior centers, too, which are emailed to me by January 15th about that month’s activities, lectures, performances, and trips. These run in two different columns.

On January 15th, I receive all the articles I assigned as well as all the regular columns on sports, family life, gardening, food and wine, essays, and books. The articles average 1,000 words, but range from 800-1,600 words. Columns run 850-1,000 words. Articles run with photos. Some columns do, some don’t. Photos have captions unless space is tight.

          I write my articles between the 10th and 15th of the month. I do the interviews earlier in the month by phone, email, or in person to get all the facts and quotes. Sometimes I wait until the 18th to finish my articles to see how many pages I need to fill then write longer or shorter articles.

          On the 15th of the month, I begin editing. The covers also have to be chosen.

To be continued in next week’s post.

Weekly Word Counts as promised:

January 1-7       4,316
January 8-14     3,843

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