Let's deep dive into indie mags, shall we? 
Coverage, an indie magazine newsletter by Dan Rowden

Issue 5 — March 1, 2018


Yo mag peeps. Hope you're doing well.

Back to regular programming after last edition's focus on Fare's Helsinki issue!

Since you last heard from me, I've moved house, meaning the standard brown backgrounds you've seen on @dansmags are no longer 😱 I don't know what to do! That was a really cool backdrop, had some lovely angles, and really made the magazine covers pop. Sad times. (But the new digs are lovely!)

Anyway, back to magazines and Coverage. This issue contains some more unique content, which is seemingly where this newsletter format is taking me. I started with a clean slate and no real ideas about what Coverage would become. It's always fun to link out and discuss articles from the web, but I really enjoy talking with magazine makers. I can't help it, and it seems to make great content for you all.

Below I talk with Positive News and hotdog, hear about the origins of Omnom, and get some mag recommendations from the creator of a new magazine subscription service. 👍

Fantastic stuff. See you in two weeks!


PS: Don't forget you can read all previous Coverage issues at coverage.email


Origin Story

Omnom is a new magazine (just releasing their second issue this week!) focusing on plant-based food, and how we can lead more ethical lives.

But where did the idea for Omnom come from, and where is the magazine headed next? Over to editor, Helena Murphy...

“We wanted to publish a travel magazine. So of course, we ended up writing about ethical food and lifestyle.

“I had been vegetarian for around a year and Ben had cut down severely on meat. For the first time in our lives, we were inspired by food: constantly looking up new recipes to create and cook together. Before long, experimenting in the kitchen had become a shared passion and, not long after, we both made the decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle. From there, Omnom was born.

We felt there was a place for an ethical-focused publication that was approachable and open to all kinds of people and lifestyles. We never wanted to be vegans writing for an exclusively vegan audience; instead, we wanted to create content that appealed to everyone.

“We wanted to show that being vegan can be easy, cost-efficient, healthy and—even better—insanely delicious. But most of all, we wanted to break down the stereotype that all vegans are judgemental, militant or depriving themselves of the good life to make a moral point. Our community is just made up of normal people and actually, we’re pretty easygoing. 

Having focused heavily on food in Issue One, we wanted to move beyond what goes on the table in Issue Two. While food is at the heart of what we do, we found that veganism seeped at the edges into other movements we cared about: the zero waste movement and how to reduce our impact on the planet, growing food from home, buying cruelty-free makeup and clothing and learning how to be vocal activists about all of these causes. As these various movements evolve over time, we see the magazine growing alongside them.”

⚡️ Issue 2 of Omnom is shipping this week. You can pick up your own copy (£9) today at readomnom.com/shop/omnom-issue-two


Five magazines not to miss, from Mag Shuffle founder, Christo Hall

Have you heard of Mag Shuffle, the new pick-and-mix magazine subscription service?

It's quite a clever system: pay monthly or yearly, then choose your magazine each month from Mag Shuffle's broad selection of the best titles. Founder Christo Hall selects, reviews and recommends magazines to help you find the perfect mag each month.

I asked Christo to recommend some magazines to help you on your next trip to the local newsagents or book shop. Here are five mags he is “currently smitten with.”



I'm not particularly a food enthusiast, yet this Spanish food mag has me hooked. A sign of a really good magazine is one that, despite a narrow focus, can draw in the interest of a reader not very familiar with its topic. Tapas is a highly original and unrivalled combination of food and pop culture. The covers are always pleasingly embossed, the photography creative and comical, and the features eye-opening.


Real Review

Here's a topic for which I am an enthusiast (in another life, I write and edit articles about urbanism, including for LOBBY magazine). Real Review is dense but the ideas explored in its pages always endure. Its focus is art, architecture and politics and one of its memorable aspects is its intriguing folded design.


Run For Your Life

I don't know if this is a magazine that will be a regular. Editor Luke Leighfield has said that it may just be a one off, but this first edition is a superb collection of stories about those who run. The emphasis here is on the people, expressed through longform essays and understated portrait photography.



Another new title, this Danish biannual magazine published its first issue in the second half of last year and it was an impressive debut. Mayday tackles social and political issues through essays and interviews, with flair and poise. Its goal—to embrace uncertainty with optimism—is certainly timely. Magazines like Mayday, along with the likes of Delayed Gratification and Positive News, give me hope.


The Believer

After a two-year hiatus it's back! I get so nostalgic thinking about The Believer, it's probably the first magazine of any substance that I really got into, and I'm sure I spent more time reading this magazine than my university text books. For me, it's always had the perfect balance of structure and surprise, and while I've only read one of the new series of magazines, it didn't disappoint.



Hotdog in the DM

Instagram DM is my fave place to interact with magazine makers and other fans. It makes everyone in the mag world so accessible, and I see it as a real game changer. 

Over the weekend I chatted with Megan Conery of poetry mag Hotdog, which I’d received through the lovely Stack this month. Here’s an edited excerpt of our convo (I kept the emojis), in which we talked about scale, distribution and doing things right.


Love it.


How many did you print?


Why do you ask? 🤔🌭❓


Just interested! The mag seems to have grown up over the first three issues and it’s... quirky.


Hard to judge the scale of a magazine like this


Re: scale, why does that matters? Does that change your reading of it? Or impression of it?


Scale doesn’t matter. But scale does affect how people perceive things, like small-run fashion or large-scale magazines like Monocle.


It doesn’t change my perception of a magazine, esp something like hotdog, because the passion and enthusiasm shines through and scale is irrelevant when reading it.


Fair enough.
Issue 1= 100 copies on newsprint (sold out)
Issue 2 = 300 copies, glossy digital print (10 copies left)
Issue 3 = 5000 copies (3750 for Stack) litho


For us, hotdog exists in a space that isn’t just a magazine, it’s a community, a piece of art, it’s living, fallible, flawed and human. It’s been great seeing it out with Stack subscribers—I’m sure a lot of Stack subscribers weren’t aware of us. Some were that was cool too. Our contributors didn’t know about Stack (we didn’t want any content to be impacted with the knowledge that a different audience would be viewing it) and once people started to get their deliveries, we found out some of our contributors were subscribers. So,they were pretty stoked when they opened the package. Which was lovely! I actually haven’t opened mine yet … I’m too nervous. LOL


We pay our writers and artists. Something that is super important, as a writer, a designer, &c (this is Megan btw), non-payment is a plague in independent publishing and the creative industries. It’s a huge barrier of entry.


We like to have a laugh, a lot of drunk tweets. But, when it comes to the magazine, the people we work with, and the people who submit and don’t get in. We take shit very seriously.


Great to see the growth and Stack is a great platform to find new readers


Your Stack-buying contributors must have loved that! Good idea to keep it a secret


Yea it’s been really lovely. It’s wonderful to see the work in this issue is resonating with new people. We base success on our contributors being happy with the finished product without them, we wouldn’t exist. People can feel honesty and integrity and hotdog is an honest expression of multiple voices. So, as of now, all three issues have been roaring successes. 💜 But, we’re still totally flawed, human and figuring things out.


Thanks for messaging. Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully, if you’re not a poetry fan, you feel a little more comfortable now. Go read some poetry! And write some too! 🦆


Yeh no worries. I love chatting magazines with magazine makers!


If you haven't already got your copy of hotdog, head over to hotdogmag.com to purchase issues 2 and 3.


Positive news from Positive News

Sean Dagan Wood is the editor-in-chief of a positivity-rammed magazine. I'm super interested in his magazine's idea of publishing only "positive news" and wanted to dig a little deeper.

(The full interview will be published online soon)

Dan R: “Change the news for good” is printed large on this latest issue’s back cover. Do magazine publishers have a responsibility towards promoting positivity?

Sean DW: I think all magazines should take responsibility for the impact of their content. That doesn’t mean they have to be positive like us, but I think we all have a duty to consider how the information we select, and the way we frame it, might affect people’s thoughts, feelings and actions.

It’s about taking more conscious choices around what we put out into the world as publishers and editors, rather than going along with accepted ideas about what a magazine should be. There is a culture in news journalism of focusing excessively on the negative, but this is counterproductive as it too often leaves people feeling hopeless and helpless. That limits our potential as a society, when there is in fact a bigger picture.

For us, we slapped our mission large on the back cover because it is at the forefront of what we do. We want to be profitable, we want to be the best at what we do, we want to reach as many people as we can and get their attention, and we want the magazine to look awesome. But this is all in service to our purpose of informing people in a way that is inspiring and empowering.

DR: What inspiring message or thought has stood out for you in this latest issue?

SDW: My favourite article in the latest issue is a feature about young conservationists—teenagers from the UK who are passionate about the natural world and about protecting it. Our editor, Lucy Purdy, interviewed them about how they feel about nature, and commissioned some lovely photography of them out in the field studying wildlife.

I didn’t anticipate how impactful the article turned out to be. I was inspired by how clued up and optimistic they are, and how—despite the environmental crises that they are inheriting—it is their love of nature that shines through and which drives them.

And despite that they are clearly digitally savvy, using social media to support their conservation work, the interviews and portraits we shot were really human. This revealed a different picture of teenagers than some of the stories we might usually hear in the news media, and it made me feel hopeful about the future in their hands.

The latest issue of Positive News is available online from shop.positive.news (and probably your local WH Smiths!). Scroll down for an exclusive discount!


Wisdom from Adam Moss, editor of New York Magazine

Here's an interview that recently caught my eye from Samir Husni, A.K.A. Mr. Magazine. Make sure you put aside a good 10 minutes for this one; it's a long, full-on interview with Adam Moss, with a ton of insight into New York, the magazine he edits, plus some market analysis and useful advice for other editors, like this:

Listen and watch. Don’t get too entrenched in your ways. Adapt.

That said, at the same time, know who you are and know what your magazine or brand, if you will, is, and make sure that as things change, you’re true to the essence of what you’re making.



A discount just for Coverage readers ❤️

This week, I'm proud to announce I have a discount for Positive News' full back catalogue, including the latest issue pictured above.

Use the discount code COVERAGE33 at the Positive News online shop.

Go! shop.positive.news/collections/positive-news-magazine-back-issues



Follow my magazine adventures...









Subsail makes selling and managing subscriptions 
super easy for indie publishers ⚡️


Coverage is a magazine newsletter from Dan Rowden 

Say hi — hit reply! 😄

Sent with love from Mauritius 🇲🇺

UnsubscribeView in your browser

Powered by EmailOctopus