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How to Create a Magazine for Free


Writers, editors and artists who want to start their own magazines do not need to spend thousands of dollars on operational costs. Recent advancements in publishing software, all-in-one printers and digital cameras have made it possible to make magazines from home. The average person can create a magazine for free with the help of a computer, a few friends and a little creativity.

Solicit stories from friends and family members with interesting stories. These stories should revolve around a single question or issue in order to maintain consistency in the magazine's editorial vision.

Pick through old poems, school papers and editorial letters as filler material for your free magazine. An editor can insert quotes and entire sections of these documents to guide the reader through the magazine's myriad offerings.

Draw from stock photography and digital images in your hard drive to add visual elements to a free magazine. There should be a cover photo as well as an appropriate photo for each story to help readers mark different sections of the magazine.

Locate free software for portable digital files (PDFs) to create online versions of your free magazine. PrimoPDF has free software compatible with Microsoft office applications that is ideal for an editor looking to distribute his work to larger audiences.

Develop a page template in your word processing software to replicate the page layout for each magazine. An editor who maintains consistent fonts, borders and page breaks adds a professional touch to his magazine.

Tinker with your home printer to figure out page sizes and settings that allow for the best magazine layout possible. Most printers can handle 11 inch by 17 inch paper, which can be folded horizontally to create an 11 inch by 8.5 inch magazine for optimal reading.

Test out different methods of binding a free magazine before distributing copies to interested parties. Most self publishers use heavy-duty staples along the folded edge of magazines to keep pages together during delivery. Your magazine may be small enough to be bound with a strong rubber band that runs through the center pages of the publication.

Gather your closest friends and colleagues together for a magazine assembly party before sending out copies. Each person should be assigned to a specific task including folding, stapling and applying mail labels to make the process go faster.

Tip
  • Run each edition of your free magazine through a gauntlet of proofreading and editing sessions. Each story, letter and poem should be given to at least three people to prevent spelling errors as well as factual mistakes that ruin the credibility of a new magazine.
Warning
  • Begin the long process of finding distributors months ahead of publishing your first magazine. Editors should approach independent book sellers, music shops and other small companies that may be amenable to carrying new publications. These editors should expect plenty of rejection and the possibility that their favorite businesses may not want to carry unknown magazines.
About the Author

Nicholas Katers has been a freelance writer since 2006. He teaches American history at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. His past works include articles for "CCN Magazine," "The History Teacher" and "The Internationalist" magazine. Katers holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in American history from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, respectively.

Photo Credits
  • Photo by Álvaro Daniel González Lamarque