Guest Newsletter – Sophie Cross

Once a month we invite our Patrons, magazine publishers and enthusiasts to guest-edit our fortnightly email newsletter. The aim is to inspire others with magazine-related content, connect Patrons and build our community so we can learn from each other.

This month our guest editor is Sophie Cross, freelance marketer, writer and brand new, self-appointed editor of Freelancer Magazine. In February last year, she moved back to London from Exmoor, ready to take the travel and hospitality industry by storm (her specialist industry) and by March had lost most of her client work to the pandemic. She took a lot of long walks around Peckham with her dog, Rusty, to decide on her business’s new direction. She spends roughly 27 hours a day on Twitter and marginally less time on LinkedIn

What’s on your mind?

Dare I say it, but in 2020 I pivoted to focus on productising my freelance business. I created online marketing courses and resources for freelancers at Thoughtfully.co.uk and became a bigger part of freelance communities. This move gave me the idea to start Freelancer Magazine, a printed 80+ page, full colour 21cm square mag, with designer Angela Lyons. It’s currently launching via Kickstarter and has already hit its goal. The reaction and support so far have blown me away; Lauren Laverne featured the mag on BBC Radio 6 Music, it was chosen as a Kickstarter ‘Project We Love’ and ‘Fresh Favourite’, and the pledges are still coming in thick and fast. 

Freelancer magazine

What the best article you’ve read this month?

Not a magazine article, I’m afraid, but as I’m thinking a lot about what makes good journalism and representation, finding these daily media criticism articles called Conquest of the Useless by Mic Wright have been helpful, fascinating and shocking. I love them for all the wrong reasons. (Literally.) 

Image from article 'Poisoned ground: The tabloids fuel the toxic culture that ultimately kills women...'

This article, particularly about the toxic and lethal anti-feminist culture of the tabloids, makes you think, ‘how are we still here?’ But we must keep recognising it and calling it out for what it is.

Show us an incredible magazine cover

I’m extremely active in freelancer communities, but I didn’t consider becoming part of the magazine community until I spoke with Nikki. It’s been wonderful to be a newbie learning so much in this super-friendly, talent-filled space and to fangirl other magazines and makers. Rob Ellison, the founder of Tonic magazine, dropped me a message on LinkedIn, and we’ve been in touch a lot since. His magazine is so beautiful. It’s ‘a heady cocktail of drink, travel and adventure.’ I knew it would be good, but it even smells good. It’s very cool. Effortlessly cool. Diana Ross cool. What’s more, it’s a hefty mag, with a soft-touch laminate cover—hard swoon.

Tonic Magazine Cover

What’s your top tip for publishers?

Given that I’m minus-five weeks from publishing a mag, feel free to ignore me completely, but I read somewhere that a magazine needs to think about what your readers would want to buy. I hadn’t thought about it like that. Of course, we don’t want the magazine to be a sales catalogue, but I think having an eye on that is essential to make it commercially viable. 

Illustration by Ovind Hovland with thanks to Ikon Images.

Freelancer Magazine is a business mag so we want to be giving value to our readers, either in in the form of recommendations of things to buy (like books, courses or items to improve work and productivity) or with knowledge that they will be able to, in turn, make gains from, whether that be by getting better clients, better use of their time or increasing their rate. We also think there’s a gap in the market for a magazine for this audience that’s inspirational without being unrealistically aspirational.

Housty, we have a problem

What problem would you like our magazine guru, Peter Houston, to solve in the next newsletter?

My problem is: What’s the best way to start a dialogue with readers of a print-first magazine?

Can’t wait until next month? Check out last newsletter’s question: “How can we boost the audience of our newsletter, when we have zero budget?”

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