We’re happy to introduce the June Publisher of the Month, ALIVE Magazine. Based in the Midwest, and rebranded into a national brand, ALIVE highlights “interesting people doing remarkable things in the middle of America.” We’ll be bringing you exclusive content from ALIVE Magazine throughout the month, be sure to follow along on social and check out their latest issue!
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Tell us a bit about ALIVE Magazine. How did it get started?
Elizabeth Tucker co-founded ALIVE Magazine in 2002 with Attilio D’Agostino as a health and fitness newsletter for their retail stores. They have since grown the media group into a nationally distributed quarterly magazine filling a gap in the media landscape by covering remarkable people in arts, culture, food and fashion throughout the middle of America.
In 2016, they took a bold leap, rebranding ALIVE from a city-focused publication to a national brand. The courageous choice paid off and now ALIVE’s readership has grown to include people all over the world. When rebranding ALIVE, they also made the choice to launch GUIDED: Saint Louis to fill the space of a curated, beautiful Saint Louis city magazine. GUIDED is published six times yearly, and distributed throughout the city of Saint Louis for free.
Novel, a creative agency also run by Tucker and D’Agostino, publishes ALIVE and GUIDED: Saint Louis.
We purposefully don’t theme our issues, because the theme of every issue is “interesting people doing remarkable things in the middle of America.” It’s important to us that we include a diverse mix of creatives in every book. We plan every issue almost a year in advance and I do a lot of research up front to make sure we’re finding fantastic stories that are both visually beautiful and captivating for the reader. But everyone has a great story if you dig deep enough, and our writers and photographers really know how to craft beautiful work.
What gets you creatively inspired?
I think it’s different for everyone on the team. But I think I can speak for everyone when I say that our subjects and the places they call home really drive each story. We never know what is going to happen when we choose a subject. That’s why it’s important that Attilio, our Editor-in-Chief and head photographer, visits each city and spends time with the people he’s shooting. We also get the best recommendations from our subjects: Where to eat, what to buy, who to cover next. We all travel a lot because it’s important to us that we represent Middle America in a real way. There is so much talent and innovation in this region of the United States. The people here are changing culture every day and it’s important that they have their stories told the right way.
I think like many other publications in our space, balancing monetizing the brand while maintaining the brands integrity is always going to be a challenge. We are always looking for advertisers who both share our values and have a marketing budget to support a partnership.
How would you define the aesthetic of ALIVE?
ALIVE really stands out among other publications because our Creative Director, Mark Arnold, and Attilio D’Agostino, are really interested in not only publishing a book that reflects their creative vision, but also that represents the artists well. That’s why you’ll see a mix of moods in every issue, but a common vibe throughout. Attilio’s photography is award winning, and that is reflected on each page. Mark’s design is beautiful, and can at times be simple but also very complex. He’s intentional in how he lays out each page. His design, and the way the copy and images are presented, really helps show the story in an authentic way.
ALIVE has a beautiful Instagram. Do you have any social media advice for fellow publishers?
Thank you! I could go on for days about how important social media is for publishers. The best advice I’ve received is to be consistent, and use each platform in the way it was meant to be used. It’s such a powerful way to amplify and solidify your brand. Engage with your followers, and be true to yourself.
How did you decide to publish ALIVE digitally with Issuu?
Issuu has really changed the way people read ALIVE and has allowed us to reach an audience that may have never seen our book. We chose Issuu because it’s easy to use, but also allows our book to be viewed in a beautiful way.
The relationships that I’ve been able to form with the creatives we work with is incredible. I don’t know of another job where I’d get to speak with a James Beard award-winning chef, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and a Grammy award-winning musician all in the same day! Plus, the people on our team all love each other and genuinely care about our community. Every day is a win.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming magazine editors?
The other day I was asked for advice from a college student that was looking to break into a creative career and I think it applies to all stages of life.
Be kind. Work harder than you think you should have to. Be kind, be kind, be kind.