Before anyone has any wildly ‘40s Hepburn-esque fantasies, it’s a small start-up business based in Tullamarine, comprising one menopausal publisher, her wisecracking pal and a Mac operator with a fascination for PC fonts.
I was originally brought on board to clean things up. To ‘make the magazine my own,’ to give it direction, firmly clasp the rudder and sail the leaky ship into the stormy horizon, shouting ‘tally ho, ladies!’ Oh what fun that would have been….if good intentions were all that were needed to run a magazine.
As always, things haven’t gone quite to plan.
The publisher was astonished to find that when you get an editor on board, not only do you have to ask them to do the work, you have to pay them at some stage. Not that she’s a non-payer, no indeed! But much like the well-oiled engine that is Connex, services were cut. The very first thing to go was the production meetings. Then my column, then much of my writing, then…the editing. And the result – how shall I express this politely – resembles less a magazine and more a family newsletter your spry great auntie cunningly puts together on Powerpoint.
Thus my plans were scuppered.
But did I call it a day? No I did not. I had put in too much hard work to submit to this mutiny. After doing what all mature businesswomen would do – whinged to my mates – I gave the publisher the drum. I said in no uncertain terms that the situation had to improve, and gave her my terms. Thus far, she has agreed.
And over the past two weeks have I been giving them a giant serve of Boo!
Now that everyone I’ve talked to has said as one: “give her the arse! She’ll only waste your time!!” But throughout this whole process, I’ve learnt a great deal about how I operate – about tactfully yet firmly giving people the drum, what makes a good layout, why articles are structured in a certain way, what is the point of an introduction (over just launching into any random topic), and why it’s a good idea to have a thing called ‘standards.’
It’s an uphill battle. And I’ll drop it in a shot after the current issue, if things don’t go my way. To be honest, I am dealing with someone who has a Melrose Place-ish idea of the glamorous world of publishing. She wants to swish down a gleaming corridor in an immaculate suit, nod to the heads of various ‘departments’, flirt with the gruff-yet-loveable investor then swing out for a late lunch at 2 with her girlfriends, never to return, but not before reminding everyone of how busy she is. I think we would all like that.
But the reality is that she’ll call me up, huff, ruffle papers and sigh deeply, then say: “now why did I call you again?”
I’ve got a box in my head – amongst the various yellowing files – called ‘flaky professions under immediate suspicion.’ Thus far, I count actors and actresses, models, anyone working in television, account executives, sub-editors, artists, PR managers, ‘baristas’ and ‘mixologists’, social workers, life coaches, Human Resources people, eco-tourism operators, architects fuckit that box is getting LARGE.
It will take but a slight tremor of the hand for me to include publishers.