Part 11 at the publishing series. NWA Express yourself. Getting tired of this yet? What’s the point of making a magazine? For a mag like GR, it’s to get what you want out there. We started as a zine, and I’d like to think that we retain some of that rawness at least in spirit or concept.
Some mags start by being decent. They’re putting in what they want, and how they want it, but soon, it seems like a popularity contest. Questions like, “What content needs to be in there to get more ads?” is all about the money. You’re now in a mode to make the magazine to appease advertisers and not yourself. Ultimately, your readers will know you’re full of shit. The new readers you get who aren’t smart enough to know the difference, are great since they spend their money on you, but that wasn’t your audience to begin with. At this point, you’re in the magazine business to sell it one day soon.
A comments like, “Oh they’re good? Let’s write about it” is another kiss of death. The comment is something that happens when you don’t care about what you’re writing about, and you’re more concerned with being popular and being part of a trend, rather than publishing what you want to write about.
One of the reasons why GR started was because there wasn’t anything out there which fit my interests. Writing gigs weren’t coming my way, so a magazine had to be created. Luckily, an audience developed over time, and we’re still able to do what we want. Some Asian American magazines came and went, and their problem was that they didn’t say anything, and they tried to express words for everyone. If you’re trying to make something unique, then it’s best to stay with your tastes, since ultimately, that’s what will make your product special.
Going the MOMA and seeing paintings that you’ve seen before is sort of like visiting an old friend. I’ve heard Souther say that once when he came over to my house and saw one of his works on my wall. Now I know what he’s talking about, except maybe in his case, they’re not friends, but his children!