Live from New York, It's Above the Fold!
Plus, an update on when online sales go live (soon!! really actually truly!!)
LOL at my last email, which said I’d be launching in… late October? How have I not learned my lesson at this point?
Writing with two main updates, the second which I’ll delve into in more detail below:
1) Calling all New York City-based readers: Holy shit, Above the Fold is actually being sold in a store, and soon in two stores! (Both places that are very special for publication-lovers in New York: Casa Magazines in the West Village, and soon, both Brooklyn-based locations of Books Are Magic—call first before visiting for the latter; they might not be on shelves just yet.). Cough-cough, last-minute Christmas gift? Issues are $20, as they will be online.1
2) This happened before I launched online, for reasons I’ll explain below. But please know SAID LAUNCH IS COMING, and it’s coming soon. Diving into that in 3…2…
…Long story short, there was a misunderstanding with the printer, and the first batch of copies arrived with incorrect back cover pagination. At first, I had a bit of a meltdown. Delaying again?
I wrote in the editor’s letter for this issue that when making dumplings, there’s no getting around that lumpy, misshapen one (two, ten, thirty, a hundred?) before your fingers get comfortable and confident with the work.
This project has been no different, every single step of the way. I decided that I wanted to turn Above the Fold into a print publication in May of 2022. Back then, I thought the issue would debut by January of 2023. I moved that deadline to May, then August, then…here we are.
I’m a divergent thinker—my ideas split off like a tree into multiple additional branches and twigs and leaves. It’s a way of being that can be useful for brainstorming, but as anyone that’s worked with me on a magazine can attest, it makes it difficult for me to put a stop to the, er, “branching” process. One story could always be told a slightly different way, a layout rendered in 15 different variations. For a project where I don’t have colleagues to firmly and gently say “enough,” that’s led me to moments of endlessly running in circles in my own brain.2 Phases I wanted to take one month took three or more when factoring in my mental games of ping pong (and yes, I also work a full-time job, which definitely had something to do with it, too).
At first, and sometimes still, I castigated myself for my lack of progress. How could I be so undisciplined, so indecisive, so stagnant? And how could I possibly “go live” with something that, after a year-plus of work, wasn’t exactly perfect?
Anyway, I very recently ended up going to the riso lab to print some cute little stickers that essentially render the printing error obsolete (and, in fact, add an extra je ne sais quois that I didn’t anticipate). Which means that the copies I do have aren’t failures after all, but little markers of progress.
And so, after leaving the lab, I marched them around to a handful of stores, racing between locations on the subway. Fast-forward to now! We’re in a store!
I still ordered a small additional run of “correct” copies; once I launch online (going to wait until the first week of January, after the holiday crush is behind us) I’ll sell a mix of the original, not-quite-perfect-but-actually-maybe-that’s-the-point copies, and the updated hot-damn-finally-got-it-right copies.
Thank you for bearing with me. And soon enough, Above the Fold will not be just a space for meta-level updates on the magazine, but for the actual stories that brought us all here—about dumplings, about the people who make them, and why all of the damn effort is so worthwhile.
My aim is to bring this cost down by issue two—small print runs + paying fair contributor wages/honoraria = higher hard costs on my end per issue; all money I receive for this issue is being put directly into the production of issue two!
I was hardly in this alone, though. I had plenty of encouragement from friends and family and former colleagues. While I wanted to do most of the design heavy-lifting myself, one of the best decisions I made was to enlist designer/design wordsmith Elizabeth Goodspeed as a layout fairy godmother of sorts to help distill my moodboards into a magazine skeleton/kit of parts, with invaluable critiques as I worked through the process. Without her, I probably would still be in the design phase, and I’m not even kidding.