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FAQ for New and Would-Be Publishers


1. How do I find writers?

Attend industry events (e.g. Word on the Street), place a listing in the annual Writer’s Market, place advertisements (for instance in other magazines), consult writers’ associations (such as PWAC), and network. Read widely for writing that you enjoy and don’t discount the power of CARD (Canadian Advertising Rates and Data) as a resource that writers consult. The Editors Association of Canada and the Writers Union of Canada also have searchable databases of editors and writers available to the public.

2. What do various editorial positions mean?

For job descriptions on each editorial position found at most magazines, consult our Editorial Positions guide.

3. I have content. How do I start?

Editorial is very important, but is only one of the three "pillars of publishing." The others are circulation and advertising. Publishing a magazine requires all three in order to make content widely available to an audience.

Successful magazines build an editorial plan. Think about what kind of editorial fits together thematically, what suits different seasons and times in the year, and create a framework for your editorial that will be pertinent and comprehensive to your readers.

4. How do I reprint things from other sources?

Knowledge of rights and permissions is important in publishing. Contact Access Copyright to learn the fundamentals. Don’t reprint anything without permission, including photographs. For more on rights, listen to our Copyright 101 webinar for a primer on copyright.

5. What is a typical editorial-to-advertising ratio?

Most mainstream consumer magazines contain about 50 to 60% advertising compared to editorial. Arts and literary titles often have much fewer ads, and some contain no advertising at all. How much advertising your magazine carries depends on your publishing strategy.

Magazines Canada’s membership guidelines state: “There must be a clear distinction between advertising and editorial content, and advertising must not be tied to editorial. An average of no more than 70% of the magazine, calculated over a yearly publishing cycle, may be devoted to advertising. Advertising supplements must be clearly marked as advertisement or advertising supplement in compliance with the Canadian Magazine Industry Code of Reader & Advertiser Engagement.” For more information on the code, visit The code can provide a good departure point for understanding why maintaining a good ad/edit ratio is highly important to your magazine’s credibility and readership base.

6. Do I need insurance against libel?

Some magazines have it, some don’t. Libel insurance is expensive and is almost always sold in tandem with other kinds of special insurance, for instance errors and omissions. Learn about the legal aspects of publishing, and if you’re really concerned about the potentially libellous nature of your material, retain a lawyer who can give you advice. For further reading on libel, take a look at our resource Know Your Libel Basics.

7. Do I need to make a prototype of my magazine?

Many business plans include mock-ups and creating them will help to flesh out the idea behind a new magazine.

8. My content is excellent. How do I find readers?

You need to learn about circulation, the science of finding readers. Keep reading….

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