She’s the Renaissance woman who’s photographed everyone from Pete Doherty to M.I.A, plays in a ceilidh band, campaigns against climate change and has published a book of fashion illustrations. But what Amelia Gregory is really known for is her magazine, Amelia’s Magazine. As we prepare to give one group £2,000 to create their own online anthology, we asked this publishing star for her advice…
I think the most important thing when you’re producing a magazine is to pick something you love.
A lot of people start a magazine from a commercial standpoint and they want it to be cool. But the key thing is knowing what you like and what you want. You don’t necessarily have to have lots of contacts. As soon as you start producing a magazine people will come to you with stuff.
From the beginning, although I had contacts in photography and fashion, I always included other things, like music and illustration. I’d been styling a lot of bands so had met people through that. I don’t think music, fashion and art are particularly separate to each other.
I wish I’d known how much it would take over my life. I had this crazy idea that I could do a magazine three months on, three months off and continue my photography career.
The people who do well in this industry do tend to have financial backing. Money has been a constant struggle for me. I have very low overheads because I do everything from home, I don’t employ anybody and I don’t pay myself. But I only just turn over – it’s been that way for eight years. I do think it’s a good idea, if you’re setting up a magazine, to go in with someone who is interested in finance.
I had no idea about the actual production of magazines when I started. I spent about a year going round the country, visiting printers and trying to persuade them to sponsor me.
I also didn’t know anything about graphic design, so I had to get someone to help me mock up a PDF of the first issue. Someone put me in touch with the designer from Frieze magazine and he put together a 20-page example for me, which I showed to printers. But I’ve learned as I go along.
We’ve had a blog from early 2007 and moved fully online in 2008. For all the blogging parts I use Wordpress, although it is very much a bespoke one that has been fiddled around with in the back end by my designers. I always knew I wanted an online presence; we’ve had one since 2004. I was streaming music before Myspace became big and you could always buy the magazine online or find links to the contributors.
I don’t look at other people’s blogs; I rely on people contacting me. I get hundreds of emails everyday. I’ve never been one to follow what other people are writing about. I particularly like it when people contact me themselves, without a PR or anything. It’s not going to get you the most readers, but then that’s not what I’m about.
Be prepared to be in for the long haul. The only reason I’ve managed to last this long is because I’m bloody pig-headed and I don’t particularly want to earn lots of money. Most people would have given up years ago.
Amelia Gregory was talking to Nell Frizzell.
If you would like to create your own one-off, online anthology, with £2,000 funding and mentoring from IdeasTap, then visit the Anthology brief.
Amelia Gregory’s Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration is available now. To find out more about Amelia’s Magazine, visit the website.