It’s been just over two weeks since I joined the Paper Crafts team and let me tell ya…it’s been awesome! So much fun, energy, and passion goes into creating each and every issue. But that’s not to say that the job has been a cakewalk—there’s a lot to learn!
Last week we asked what you wanted to learn about Paper Crafts and we received questions galore. One that kept popping up was about the magazine’s timeline—some of you wanted to know how early we start planning an issue, while others wanted a more detailed month-by-month look.
Well, these questions caught my eye because wrapping my head around the magazine’s production cycle has been one of the most challenging parts of the job so far. It’s crazy to think that the world just ended Halloween while we at the magazine are in the thick of spring and summer. It’s a real time warp! It gets especially mind-boggling when you consider the fact that we’re working on numerous issues (all in various stages) at the same time. So, I thought it would interest you (and help me) if I gave a quick tutorial about how we plan each issue.
Here’s the rundown:
- Sixth months before – The editorial team meets to concept the issue. We don’t leave the conference room until the entire issue, page by page, has a plan. Within one week we send out the call for submissions.
- Five months before – All project submissions are due. Just a few days after the deadline we judge the submission scans, which is definitely one of the toughest things we do! We then send out acceptances and give selected designers about three weeks to send in their actual projects.
- Four months before – We hand the projects over to our talented writers who create the articles found throughout each issue.
- Three months before – We begin the editing process, making sure the instructions and supplies lists are good to go. We then hand over all material to our design team who begin working their layout magic.
- Two months before – We begin the final proofing process, working hand-in-hand with the design team to make sure each page is perfect.
- One month before – We send the issue to the printer and await its arrival.
As you can tell by this brief rundown, a lot goes into producing each issue. While it can get pretty hectic, there are many rewarding times amidst the craziness. I asked my friendly colleagues what they enjoy most about creating each issue. Here’s what they said:
Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Schaerer: “Having just filled in as managing editor for the past several months, I have to say my new favorite part of the production cycle is final sign-off before sending it off to print (whew!). But my perennial favorite part is, of course, seeing the freshly printed issue.”
Managing Editor Kerri Miller: “Seeing the projects in person for the first time.”
Trends Editor Cath Edvalson: “My favorite part of the magazine cycle is when we sit down to concept an issue. I love the idea that each magazine is a blank slate and we get to tuck columns and features inside it that we know our readers will really love.”
Creative Editor Susan Opel: “Without a doubt, I love sending e-mails to the designers to notify them that their project will appear in one of our issues. It doesn’t matter if they are a brand new or seasoned designer, their enthusiastic e-mails in return are such a joy!”
Online Editor Kelly Smith: “My favorite part of the magazine cycle is always seeing an issue in print. It may sound odd, but since we work so far in advance, my brain has already moved on to the next big issue. So when an issue lands on my desk, fresh from the printer, it’s like an unexpected gift.”
Graphic Designer Holly Mills: “My favorite part is receiving my desk copy of an issue. I love thumbing through the new pages and seeing the final product of many hours of hard work. I like to comb over the tiny design details and think about the places which we’ve done something good and other areas I want to improve. The conversation in my head usually goes something like ‘yes, yes, doesn’t look too bad, okay…wait, no, fix that next time, yes, yes…’”
Because I’ve only been a member of the Paper Crafts team a mere two weeks, I’m not sure which part of the cycle I’ll like best. I’m happy to say that it’s all been a joy so far and I’m excited for the learning and creating ahead of me!
P.S. What else do you want to know about your favorite magazine? Leave a comment here and it just might be answered in a future blog post!
P.P.S. In case you were wondering what’s written on the Post-It note on Holly’s computer screen, it says: “Sometimes the only sense you can make out of life is a sense of humor.”