New Escapologist is a biannual publication. In a normal year you can expect to see two copies released, typically around April and October.
A media student got in touch recently with questions about this. She’s writing a thesis on the survival of biannual publications. How cool is that? In case it’s of interest to the perverts among you, here’s the little interview we did.
How and why do you think a biannual frequency can strengthen your position in the market and enhance the identity of your magazine?
I think it prevents us from burning out too quickly. In terms of quality, we usually have five months in which to produce a hundred-page magazine, which is a lot of time to play with and to get things right. It’s time enough to find a cover-worthy interviewee and time enough to write thoughtful, unhurried essays. In aiming for a long shelf-life, we make sure to fill our space with substantial ‘evergreen’ features and to keep ephemera to a minimum (we don’t print book reviews or super-topical news items or anything like that).
Economically, it gives us five months to turn a profit on the current edition instead of just one or two months so it makes financial sense too. I go into sales mode as soon as the creative process is over, and one hand washes the other. There are big monthly magazines out there, full of presumably lucrative adverts, who don’t survive. We, meanwhile, simply take our time and play a longer game.
Why did you choose to make the magazine biannual in the first place?
It was an issue of capacity. We’re a small-press publication and everyone involved has other creative projects on the go. Too many issues per year would have been too much work, especially if we wanted to maintain the quality and to tend to our other concerns.
Have you ever considered to change the frequency of your magazine and would your today decision be influenced from the general shift from print to digital?
I have considered increasing the frequency, yes, but decided against it. It has nothing to do with print versus digital though, which I think is a red herring when discussing magazine production: content truly is king. I sometimes look to other magazines I admire like the Idler and the Chap. They’re now quarterly and bi-monthly respectively and I sometimes think maybe we should be doing the same. But I don’t think it would be sustainable and I don’t think it would be fun. Small is beautiful. Besides, the lifestyle we promote in New Escapologist is quite unusual and against-the-grain: the magazine should reflect that in it’s production ethic and release schedule as well as it’s content and design!