Book Review: The Art of Making Magazines

The Art of Making Magazines is a series of 12 lectures and esssays put together by various people who have had jobs in the magazine world as journalists, editors in chief, etc.  Each one talks a bit about different aspects of life in the magazine business.  There is talk about editing, fact checking, deadlines and more.

I’ve always been interested in the magazine world and even went to school for a minor in journalism – my dream has always been to have my own online magazine (but I’ll settle now for this blog!) but I wanted to do all the writing and the coding and the design of the site myself.  After reading this book I realize that even if I had all the time in the world, I wouldn’t be able to do it all myself – I’d need to have fact checkers and copy editors to keep my work polished.  So maybe it’s a good thing I kind of have put that dream on the back burner!

There are 12 essays – you can find all the details of them below! I loved a lot of the anecdotes included – a movie reviewer who fell asleep during movies and would write about 2 differnt movies as if they were one, leading copy editors and fact checkers to need to unravel the plots for each to figure out what was going on!  Also, the editor in cheif at Gourmet magazine would go “undercover” to restaurants to see how they were treated versus when showing up as herself and getting treated better than the King of Spain!

Even if you don’t want to be in the industry of making magazines, but you enjoy reading magazines, the book has some interesting insight about how they are all put together.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the editor through NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In this entertaining anthology, editors, writers, art directors, and publishers from such magazines as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Elle, and Harper’s draw on their varied, colorful experiences to explore a range of issues concerning their profession. Combining anecdotes with expert analysis, these leading industry insiders speak on writing and editing articles, developing great talent, effectively incorporating art and design, and the critical relationship between advertising dollars and content. They emphasize the importance of fact checking and copyediting; share insight into managing the interests (and potential conflicts) of various departments; explain how to parlay an entry-level position into a masthead title; and weigh the increasing influence of business interests on editorial decisions. In addition to providing a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the making of successful and influential magazines, these contributors address the future of magazines in a digital environment and the ongoing importance of magazine journalism. Full of intimate reflections and surprising revelations, The Art of Making Magazines is both a how-to and a how-to-be guide for editors, journalists, students, and anyone hoping for a rare peek between the lines of their favorite magazines. The chapters are based on talks delivered as part of the George Delacorte Lecture Series at the Columbia School of Journalism.

Essays include: “Talking About Writing for Magazines (Which One Shouldn’t Do)” by John Gregory Dunne; “Magazine Editing Then and Now” by Ruth Reichl; “How to Become the Editor in Chief of Your Favorite Women’s Magazine” by Roberta Myers; “Editing a Thought-Leader Magazine” by Michael Kelly; “Fact-Checking at The New Yorker” by Peter Canby; “A Magazine Needs Copyeditors Because . . . .” by Barbara Walraff; “How to Talk to the Art Director” by Chris Dixon; “Three Weddings and a Funeral” by Tina Brown; “The Simpler the Idea, the Better” by Peter W. Kaplan; “The Publisher’s Role: Crusading Defender of the First Amendment or Advertising Salesman?” by John R. MacArthur; “Editing Books Versus Editing Magazines” by Robert Gottlieb; and “The Reader Is King” by Felix Dennis

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