The costs involved in starting a magazine can vary widely based on the size and type of publication, the amount of staff needed, and the plan for distribution. While there may be costs involved in securing graphic designers, most startup magazines pay the most money to their printing company.
The first considerations when starting a magazine are concept and design. Many potential editors save money in this area by enlisting freelance writers, photographers and designers who may be willing to contribute for little to no payment, at least until the publication turns a profit. However, it may be necessary to hire professionals in order to make the magazine appealing to readers.
Next, editors meet with various printing companies to compare costs and choose their printer. Printing costs depend on the size, style and number of copies requested. Deciding on the right printer and the right printing specifications can potentially determine the magazine's future. Often, startup magazines present their concept to investors to help offset the price involved.
The third major expense for startup magazine editors is distribution. While it is usually possible to display print copies for free at stores and other locations, many magazines purchase reader lists so that they can offer complimentary copies in the mail to the right reader demographic and gain monthly subscribers.
Both printing and distribution costs can be greatly reduced when a magazine attracts an audience through their online edition. The transition to digital technology has made the creation of startup publications much more affordable.