Gal•li•vant/Gal•a•vant: Taking risks as an independent publisher
Posted on June 14, 2013
I’ve written on the zine, that which has emerged from the digital age engendering the shift toward the autonomous curation and publishing. To have the platform at our fingertips is to allow everyone and anyone to say, Yes, I want to and I can. Web zines encapsulate the essence of efficiency from financial to physical — there are practically no direct costs involved in putting up issues every week, month, year, or whenever you please. Social media platforms are married to one another such that publicity is a breeze upon clicking on that ‘upload’ button. A myriad of options pop up to ask if the next step would be to share the issue on every single engagement you are tied to on your mobile, laptop and every other 21st century gadget you have on you.
The ease and low barriers to entry serve as a double-edged sword, though. It is easy to start and adrenaline seems to always be on your side. But to follow through is the challenge, especially when the hype has died down and all you are left with are the raw intentions. I reckon that it is safe to generalise that we’ve all started up blogs or websites but subsequently swept under the rug. There simply isn’t much at stake to start and then stop a blog, publication or general site on the infinite world wide web.
As such, venturing into print is a bold step, as the attraction of minimal costs is immediately eliminated. Print publications may seem highly parallel to internet zines. The content that is curated and the audience they serve overlap in a huge amount, but the one thing that pushes print into separation is precisely this: money. We have to carry with us ample consideration for the future and weigh the risks of having plans fall through.
I’ve long regarded the Canadian magazine, Monocle (http://monocle.com) as my bible and have always had the utmost respect for the founders, editors and curators of such publications who bear the foresight and management to balance finances with true and honest content, thus allowing them to speak to a loyal audience that continually enables the publication to stay afloat financially.
Co-founder of Galavant Magazine (http://blog.galavantmag.com) Dilys Ng speaks to me regarding their decision to go print over the web-based zine and notes the elements of finances, sponsorship and money:
“There was never a debate on this, we came from a visual communication background and print was basically what we knew best.
For us, there is an experience that we want our readers to feel when they buy it and it is not something we can achieve on a digital platform.
We have been very fortunate (and grateful) to be surrounded by friends that aided us with sponsoring help. Our sponsors were, and still remain, supportive of our independent publishing industry so that’s always nice to see.”
When asked on the team’s favourite and least favourite thing since the birth of Galavant, Dilys and Nathalia note meeting new artists and writers as their favourite and filing taxes as their least.
Despite solidifying their debut print issue with widespread support all over the world, Galavant looks forward to conquering the web space as well. Dilys notes: That said, we do realise the importance of digital platforms today and we are in the midst of churning out something for the Internet. To me, such a move is not only intelligent but almost necessary. The pervasiveness of the digital is undeniable and all too overwhelming at times, but to move ahead, we have to speak in this new language.
The postmodern calls to attention the very modes of communication that support its birth and existence, and as members that inhabit this time and space, we have to acknowledge the dynamic and search for the fine balance between utility and critique.
The work that goes into the organization, curation and ultimate release of any material is immense. And it is of an interesting dynamic that I am discussing this very issue on OpenBrief, where we face several similar challenges as other independent writers and artists. Money will always be a scarce and tricky resource, and acute curation rests on the sensibilities of the team. Leadership is essential and at the end of the day, we’re all on the same path of strengthening the soft power of the communities we are invested in.
Galavant Magazine is set to publish its second issue — Believers in 2013