Our Publisher of the Month feature is back! This month’s publisher is Chickpea Magazine, a quarterly vegan digital and print publication. We did a quick Q&A with editor Cara Livermore to kick off the month –– stay tuned for more Chickpea content throughout November!
Tell us about Chickpea –– how did this magazine get started?
We started as a Tumblr blog meant to act as an outlet for us to explore our newfound veganism. We didn’t know how to cook, and I wanted to go deeper into photography post-college, so it seemed like the perfect thing for us. That Tumblr (hipsterfood, back in 2010) got big, and we wanted to morph it into something more substantial and slow than a standard internet blog, so Chickpea was born.
What made you decide that digital was the right platform?
We actually started out print only, and stayed that way for almost a year. But print is expensive, and time-consuming, and inaccessible for many. It was a no-brainer for us, once we actually thought about it. We’re definitely still in print, but most of our customers buy digital only.
What are some of the biggest challenges of being an independent publisher?
Obviously money, but lately it’s also been lack of time. It’s hard to do everything we want to do, and do it right, when you wear the hat of editor, writer, photographer, designer, customer serviceperson, salesperson, oh, and for us as a food magazine, dishwasher. Time management is huge for us.
What is the best part of creating a magazine?
It has to be hearing back from readers about how they resonated with a story, or how they cut out the pages to make their own art project – basically anything that affects someone’s life in a positive way. It feels really good.
How did you find issuu, and why do you use it?
We love having one place where everyone can see what we’re all about in an accessible way, and Issuu has done that for us since the beginning. And, having a place to find other new publications is also really inspiring for us.
Do you have any goals for Chickpea in the future?
Our ultimate goals are to be able to keep going, go deeper with our writing, and to build a real sustainable business that pays everyone (ourselves included) a good wage, on time. We’re not huge on big splashy store deals or anything, we just want to keep creating and impacting others.
Any advice for up-and-coming publishers?
Go slower than you’d think you need to. Do it right the first time. Get a business plan together. If you plan on doing it for a long time, be super passionate about it. Money doesn’t come easy for publishing, at least not for most of us, so you have to love it and be challenged by it and be interested in it through and through, or else you won’t be able to stick through the hard times. Oh, and have a sense of humor about it. We’re in publishing, not an emergency room.