Building a new print magazine, newsletter first

Build a newsletter, develop a community and then print a mag.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

In a nice postscript to Friday's post about the success of print outdoors magazines, comes news that Alex Roddie, whom I mentioned in that post, has a new one in planning.

But don't expect to be popping into magCulture to pick up a copy anytime soon:

Alpenglow Journal is destined to be a print adventure magazine, most likely bi-annual or tri-annual, because I believe that real stories are best read on paper. However, it’s going to take time to get there. And it won’t be quite like any other adventure magazine – certainly not the ones I currently work with.

He has a years-long plan to get there. And where does it start? Go on. Guess.

It will begin as a newsletter. For the last month or so I’ve been getting reacquainted with Substack, figuring out how other writers are using it. Initially everything will be free while I concentrate on building a base of subscribers. But I want to be upfront about this: I will be putting up a partial paywall quite early, because this is an essential part of my plan for the journal.

Yup. He's going to build a member base through paid Substack memberships. Then he'll start commissioning pieces when he gets enough paying members. And , eventually, he'll produce the print magazine.

The interesting thing about the idea to me is that he's doing it the other way around from many publications. They tend to launch, and then build a community with the publication as the social object the community gathers around. Here. the activity is the social object, and he builds the community around that until it's big enough to sustain a print title.

This will be really interesting to watch over the next few years.

Building Alpenglow Journal: a new type of outdoor publication
Friends, it’s time to talk about the future. In my last Substack update, I wrote that I was working on plans for a complete relaunch of The Pinnacle. I hinted at a pivot towards something different – something I hoped to launch in July. Although I’m not quite ready to
future of printprintmagazinesmagazine publishingnewsletterscommunity strategy

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.