Over the last few months I've been lucky enough to be part of the creative process to bring a magazine from concept to reality. Tortoise Magazine has just launched and can be found crawling around Chester.
The idea was to contribute something good for our hometown of Chester, a publication that could highlight some of the lesser known, perhaps cooler things that are going on in the city. Not easy. Chester after all is like many other small cities in the UK. While not as disadvantaged as some, it suffers its limitations, its cliques, its infighting and its deeply embedded 'way of doing things', all of which can so often derail projects such as this.
Over the last 12 months however (perhaps more?) I've noticed a slight change in the air. A small movement of people who live and work around the city have demonstrated an appetite to do more to drive positive change. It is a movement of people that want something better for Chester; they want more culture and more stimulus, more opportunities to pursue the life they want here without having to move to Manchester, Liverpool or London in order to realise their potential.
So, after endless meetings, stress and coffee, after doubting the project and its merits multiple times, we held a soft launch and distributed around the town. We did it!!! After all that talking, we finally got to experience the somewhat strange reality of holding a physical, printed copy in our hands.
It must be said however, we have only been able to bring this to life with the creative and financial help of likeminded people. From the wonderful front cover by Laura Knight to brilliant articles by Chester based writers, to sponsored pages by numerous local businesses, we've been able to make Tortoise Magazine something that has the potential to grow and take on a life of its own.
Many people are asking what the plan for the magazine is. Will it be free? Will it be free for a bit before we ask for a cover price? Will we stick with Chester or branch out? The simple answer to all of those questions is that we don't know.
It's no secret that traditional publishing is in a state of turmoil and creating a magazine that self funds is hard. For now though we aren't thinking about that kind of thing. We're happy to release it into the ether and see what the general appetite for something like Tortoise is.