Before I co-founded Travel Without Limits magazine I must admit to not giving two seconds thought to what goes into publishing a magazine. I had no idea of the time, logistics, attention to detail and dedication required to get a magazine to print. I’m currently working on the next issue of Travel Without Limits magazine (next issue is out in September – I have a special deal in the last paragraph if you subscribe) and I can tell you it’s a labour of love. I could work a full time job for the hours I put into bringing that baby to life twice a year. I know that must seem crazy to many of you but it’s true. So, I thought I’d share what it is like and the goals behind the magazine.
Travel Without Limits magazine
In case you don’t know, Travel Without Limits is the first Australian disability-specific travel magazine. Some have told me it is the first (print travel magazine that’s disability-specific) in the world but that’s hard to clarify. The goal behind the magazine is to produce a tailored magazine which covers all needs and abilities. The stories feature, and are written by people with a disability, or those who are caring for someone with a disability. We only use authentic photos of people with a disability. That means we don’t use able-bodied people modelling like they live with a disability. This is often a challenge and one thing I won’t budge on. We sometimes have writers with amazing stories, but they don’t have photos we can use with their words. It’s much easier to work from fabulous photos and help someone develop their story rather than the other way around as I won’t use anything but authentic images.
While some may imagine we have a Kerry Packer-style (an ex Australian media mogul) team working on Travel Without Limits magazine, that’s not the case. I co-ordinate the stories, photos, sell the ads and liase with the various writers. The ads obviously pay for the printing, writer’s fees, a sub-editor and designer.
Selling the ads I have a philosophy, I only approach businesses that I’d recommend to a friend over a coffee. Being a parent to Braeden, I understand how busy our readers are. I don’t want to waste our reader’s time with an advertisement that’s not relevant. I also value our advertisers and want to ensure the ads will engage our readers. For that reason, I work with them and give them a brief. As a parent I want a business to tell me how they will solve a problem, whether that’s how their accommodation will work for my family or if they are an equipment business, I want to know how we can use Braeden’s NDIS funding to access the product and what problem it will solve for him.
When one issue of the magazine goes to print, I’m already working on the next. Sometimes I’m working on it beforehand. Travel Without Limits is published in March and September and given I source the stories, news and sell the ads it takes a while to get it all together. Each story, even the short news pieces, require high resolution images. These are sometimes difficult and time consuming to get even from large hotel chains. Ideally, I always want to showcase the accessible rooms and I know this won’t shock you, but they often don’t have photos of the accessible rooms, only the standard ones. This is a good opportunity for me to educate the business on the benefits of having the accessible rooms photographed and having those images on their website.
Each advertorial arrives in my inbox and I check the copy (wording) and images. If there are any issues or I don’t think the copy hits the mark, I’ll go back to the advertiser and let them know why I think they should add or delete something. Once we are happy with everything, I upload the images and copy to different folders in a drive for the designer. The designer works his magic and I send the designed advertorial off to the client for their approval. Often it’s at this point that there are changes. Sometimes it’s wording that the client provided that on reading again they don’t think sounds right. The advertorial goes back to the designer for the change, back to me and then back to the client for final approval.
Did you know that we donate the back cover space of Travel Without Limits magazine to a charity? The back cover is considered prime real estate in publishing because people usually either put a magazine down on a table with the front cover or back cover showing. We like to shine the light on some of the lesser known charities or those that need a boost. So, if you know of a charity which would be a good fit, I’d love to know about them for a future issue.
The small details
Each issue I like to have a new subscriber page image which is usually Braeden and Amelia with the magazine. There is no greater fan of Travel Without Limits than Braeden. He looks at each issue from cover to cover and it always looks worse for wear for the regular flicking through. We can always tell when he finds the pages with himself from the delighted sounds he makes. Nothing like having good self-esteem.
We also have a new family shot each issue for my editor’s letter. They are small details but I like to keep everything as fresh as possible.
At the end of each design day, I receive pages of the magazine to see what I think. Our designer is absolutely awesome, and I love his work. It’s exciting when it gets to this stage because I can see the months of work coming to fruition. At this point I start reading everything all over again. Sometimes in the transferring of the copy words can get split up or something may have been missed in the original read through. By the time the magazine goes to print I have read every single word multiple times.
One of my least favourite jobs is photo captioning and crediting. Every photo needs a caption and, in some cases, needs a photo credit provided to the photographer or the person providing the image. It’s a fiddly job.
There are lots of other bits and bobs that happen but ultimately I love what I do. I’d love to see Travel Without Limits soar to great success and this is where I ask for your help. We hear lots in the media from disability advocates about the lack of representation of people with a disability and that’s one of the problems we hope to address with the magazine. We want to show the world that people with a disability love to travel and that the ideal trip looks different for everyone. We also want to ensure that people with a disability are aware of the accessible and inclusive opportunities that exist. There’s no point in a hotel or a destination having amazing facilities if they don’t let the right people know about it.
How you can help spread the word
I’d love your support whether that’s by subscribing to the magazine or telling others about it. Please consider giving a gift subscription, or think about sharing news of the magazine with your school, disability organisation or work place. I put so much love into this magazine I really want to see it soar. You can get a feel for our stories by visiting the Travel Without Limits website.
We would also like to hear about anyone who might have a story to share. You don’t have to be a great writer, we can interview you and write the story. If you’ve got a fabulous photo of yourself travelling and you live with disability, we have a reader’s photo section in the magazine where we publish these.
You can subscribe to Travel Without Limits magazine here. If you subscribe by Monday 15 August, I’ll send you a copy of the current issue for free. Your subscription will start with the September issue so that’s three issues for the price of two. I personally send out any new subscriptions and I love adding a message on a card to each new subscriber. I’ve just seen the first stories designed and they are looking amazing. I’m really excited to share another issue with our readers.
So, that’s what it’s like publishing Travel Without Limits magazine. I best get back to writing my stories for the September issue, I don’t want to let the editor down!