It took me a while to fully appreciate Andie Byrnes' idea but, once I did, I realised it's a wonderful idea and something I have been wanting as both a reader and a writer. It can only happen though with your support:
- Writers - a magazine can only exist if people are willing to write for it. We'd welcome both experienced and inexperienced authors - and can provide editorial support and coaching if needed. Please contact either Andie or me if you are interested.
- Readers - the bigger the likely readership, the easier it will be to attract writers, so please leave comments here or on Andies's blog if a magazine is something you would want to read. It will also help Andie and I to plan the bandwidth we need.
For those who are interested in knowing more, please click here to read on.
What makes a great online magazine? We'd be interested in your thoughts. I thought I would share my own initial thinking here.
- Strong Focus - our focus would be Ancient Egypt and Egyptology.
- Regular Editions - we are planning monthly editions. While other frequencies are possible, we think that it is best to have set editions rather than slipstreaming articles on random days like a blog. (We will probably have a companion blog for articles which don't meet the editorial policy - eg for book reviews.)
- Visually Appealing - the site needs to look attractive and be an enjoyable place to visit. Moving around the site should be intuitive and easy.
- Print Layout - some online magazines are in PDF format. We've rejected that because people cannot link to individual articles but it should still be possible to print an article to read on paper on the train. The print option should be neat, layout well on paper and not print un-necessary items like sidebars and menus.
- Quality Articles - articles should be well-researched, informative and accurate. They should be of a reasonable length, not short news reports, and the standard of writing should be good so that people find them enjoyable to read. (Andie and I can coach less experienced writers if necessary.)
- Editorial Policy - in order to support quality, editorial standards need to be set and applied. Occasionally that will mean suggesting an article goes on the companion blog rather than be featured in the magazine but maintaining a reputation for quality articles on the magazine is important for authors. There needs to be a clear visual and functional distinction between the featured articles on the magazine and anything else published alongside.
- Indexed - this is my pet requirement and is what can set an online magazine above print-based magazines. It should be easy to find an article about a particular subject - that is, the magazine should have a strong index taxonomy (rather more than tags/labels that are used on Blogger blogs like this one). Articles should also suggest some potentially related articles so that new readers are encouraged to read the archives.
- Free - it goes without saying these days that an online magazine should be free and available without subscription.
Of course, if you think we are wrong and that an online magazine isn't a good idea or there are already too many sites, then telling us that is important too.
I don't want to keep posting progress reports here, although I'll post again before launch if we proceed, so if you would like to know what Andie and I decide to do and follow any developments, we have set up a site news blog at http://egyptological.wordpress.com/. (That's not the magazine; nor is it an example of the format we expect for the magazine which would be much, much better!)