Oprah Take Notice: Linda Magazine Wants You!
Lucky me, here I am in the absolutely lovely town of Oxford, Mississippi, full of sunshine, literary culture, history, everything Ole Miss, and the wonderful independent bookstore Square Books. Also full, this week, of lots of magazine folk in town for Mr. Magazine and Publishing Executive columnist Samir Husni’s annual ACT conference, this year with the theme: “Never Underestimate the Power of Print in a Digital Age.”
Today’s presentations began with a Rebecca Darwin, President and CEO of Garden & Gun magazine, who started out by quipping “I feel like I’m at an AA Meeting: ‘I’m Rebecca and I believe in print.’” Darwin described how, after a career at New York magazines including the New Yorker, she found herself living in Charleston, SC, and conceived of and launched the award-winning Garden & Gun. Asserting that magazine people are creative people, she described a process that, while itmade use of research and market data, also left room for a healthy dose of instinct and intuition. “If you do too much research, you usually talk yourself out of an idea,” she explained.
Darwin was followed by a bevy of fascinating presentations (still going on!) including: Kevin P. Keefe, VP, Editorial & Publisher of Kalmbach Publishing Company, where he runs an operation that is succeeding on multiple platforms, Ali Ghanbarian, publisher of the stylish and innovative magazine Soma with a core readership of trendsetters in the creative community, and Jeramy Pritchett, who followed an unusual path and, like Ghanbarian, followed his passion in founding Blindfold magazine.
Lisette Heemskerk came in from the Netherlands to talk about her work as publishing director of Linda magazine, the largest women’s glossy in the country. She described innovative marketing techniques that might not fly in the U.S. (rewarding contest winners with a day spent with a male escort, for example) and the use of “planned scandal” to attract attention.