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Apr 1, 2021

How Magazines are Made: A Behind the Scenes Look at C2’s Production Line

Linda Hopkins

Photography By

Have you ever wondered how the publication you are reading gets put together? Probably not. I think most of us take for granted the processes behind another person’s work, and we rarely understand or even care to know the ins and outs. But for those of you who might be curious or who may have […]

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Have you ever wondered how the publication you are reading gets put together? Probably not. I think most of us take for granted the processes behind another person’s work, and we rarely understand or even care to know the ins and outs. But for those of you who might be curious or who may have an interest in joining the publishing world as a writer, editor, sales representative, or graphic designer, here’s a peek at what happens every month here at CH2/CB2 magazine.

Maggie Washo, Hunter Kostylo, Jevon Daly, and Mame Bowser

The team
Making a magazine begins with a meeting of the minds. Although we hash out an editorial calendar at the beginning of the year with planned themes and special sections for each issue, details remain somewhat fluid and are fleshed out as we go. Our small but mighty team comes together at least once a month to brainstorm ideas and to ask the age-old question: How can we provide content that readers enjoy and, at the same time, serve our advertisers? We aim for a balance of entertainment and information that we believe will be of interest and constantly strive to present it in new and creative ways. (We’re also open to leads and suggestions from our readers, writers, and advertisers.)

Once themes are established and the upcoming issue is mapped out, assignments are offered to writers who immediately go to work researching, setting up interviews, and crafting the articles with their blood, sweat and tears. While it may seem glamorous to see your name in print, bylines are the byproduct of many solitary hours staring at a screen, where we dabble with words until they somehow fit together, make sense, and sound good in our ears. The best writers I know are never satisfied with the first words that pop into their heads. They often start with embarrassing first drafts that go through multiple rounds of revision: honing sentences, deleting sentences, replacing words with better words, rearranging paragraphs, etc. The finished work, as it appears in the magazine, has often been hours or even days in the making. If you are an aspiring writer, gnashing of teeth is a job requirement.

While writers are writing, sales associates are serving—calling on existing advertisers, delivering current magazines, addressing any problems or concerns, presenting opportunities to new business owners, and doing their best to keep everyone happy. Job description: Please all of the people all of the time. More than pretty faces, our salesladies are our superheroes. Without them, we would be nothing.

In the same vein, we encourage you to patronize the businesses who invest in us. We refer to them as our business partners, because without them, we would not be here for you. We print 35,000 copies and distribute them free of charge each month (30,000 mailed to area property owners and 5,000 available on newsstands and at local businesses) in addition to our digital version, which is accessible at no cost to anyone with an internet connection. If you love us, then please show some love to our advertisers.

Please also enjoy the special section profiles of local business owners. From healthcare providers to restauranteurs, retailers, Realtors, builders, hairdressers, entertainers, attorneys, and all manner of other service industry workers, these are the people who keep our local economy humming and make the Lowcountry an attractive place to live, work, and play. They are also the heart of our community, giving back through financial generosity and tireless acts of service. We live among some of the finest people you will meet anywhere, and here at C2, we love shining a spotlight on them.

The Sales Team: Kim Crouch, Morgan O’Banion, Kandace Wightman, and Kaila Jeffcoat

The leadership
An organization or team is only as strong as its leader. At C2 magazine, that would be our editor-in-chief Maggie Washo, who spends countless hours buzzing about town with a camera on her shoulder, capturing the majority of the images you see on these pages. But that’s just one of the tiaras she wears. A cross between Wonder Woman and the Energizer Bunny, she keeps going and going. Whether she’s attending events, going on Lowcountry adventures and making videos with local entertainer Jevon Daly, directing and producing TikToks, adding stories or posting public service announcements on our social media pages, editing photos, calling on customers, entertaining customers, responding to thousands of emails that pour into her inbox every month, orchestrating a fashion shoot, writing her editor’s note, reading through the magazine, approving pages for print, or putting out assorted fires, she’s all in, all the time—like a boss! She’s the brains and the brawn, the hub and the heart of C2 magazine.

Her right-hand woman Hunter Kostylo is Robin to Batman, Watson to Holmes. Quiet and unassuming, she is a walking, talking Day-Timer, keeping everyone organized while holding a rather impressive number of balls in the air all at once. You may find her assisting with photos, participating in video shoots, and even tidying up the office. But that’s in addition to her graphic design duties, which include creating all in-house ads, assembling and designing special advertising sections, the TOC, the calendar, our This and That section, and more.

Perhaps more than anyone else, she sits in the people-pleasing hot seat, juggling the wants and needs of advertisers, sales reps, editors, and the general public. She does it with such calm and grace, you might never guess that she’s on the ledge. She often drowns out distractions by singing. And if you see her wearing earbuds, she may be enjoying one of her favorite murderous podcasts—a fitting outlet for pent-up frustrations inherent to her job. We love our “Hunty” and could not do this without her.

Behind the scenes but critical to our success is our chief number cruncher, accountant Mame Bowser. Because, let’s face it, while we love our jobs, we are not in this for our health. Money may be the root of all evil, but it is certainly the foundation upon which businesses live or die. Bowser is the one chasing down accounts receivable, following up with sales reps, organizing invoices, cranking out tax documents, and keeping us in the black. If you work for C2, you love this woman, because you never wait for a paycheck. Bowser is so fast and efficient, you might get whiplash on the way to the mailbox.

The Writers: Linda Hopkins, Barry Kaufman, Cheryl Alexander, Amy Bartlett, and Tim Wood

The assembly line
Once all the pieces and parts are set in motion each month, articles that come in from our writers and materials submitted or solicited (think Q&As and bios, press releases, etc.) are all directed to the copyeditor, whose job is to dot the i’s and cross the t’s—abbreviate or slice and dice as necessary and comb over them for typos, spelling, grammar or punctuation errors, and formatting or style inconsistencies. At C2, with a few exceptions, we primarily follow the Chicago Manual of Style, a style guide popular with many magazines, as opposed to AP style, which is typical of most newspapers. CMS, which was first published in 1906, goes beyond English 101, with specific guidelines for publishing that include special rules for capitalization, punctuation, typography, and much more. The manual’s content has grown from 200 pages in the first edition to 1146 pages in the seventeenth edition and is constantly updated to reflect new vocabulary and modern usages. Want to be a magazine editor? Start familiarizing yourself with CMS and be prepared to look things up on a regular basis. You will be surprised by how much you don’t know and humbled in the end by the things you still missed.

Once formatted and edited, all raw copy goes into the hands of our talented graphic designers, whose job is to make words on a page look exciting with pictures, pretty fonts, and other creative details—the frosting and sprinkles to the plain vanilla cake. Much like writers, they are known to spend an inordinate amount of time alone with a screen and a mouse, often working overtime to meet deadlines and satisfy their own standards of artistry.

Finally, pages are organized, printed, and put into a binder we refer to as “the book,” often exchanged like contraband at odd hours or on weekends. This gives us a last chance to proofread and correct errors that have happened during production—typically more than a few. That’s because many fingers have touched it along the way, and we are all human, of course.

Meanwhile, Washo and Kostylo attend to finishing details such as adding photo captions, rearranging pages, improving layouts, squeezing in last-minute ads or critical announcements, filling in gaps, etc. Pages are then uploaded to a commercial printing company, and from there, our fate is sealed. This is when we wake up in a sweat at 3 a.m. with sudden epiphanies regarding what we forgot to check or do, what we could have improved, or mistakes we imagine we might have made, knowing it is too late to fix them.

Seven business days later, magazines hit mailboxes and newsstands, and the digital version is posted for online viewing. At that point, it’s open season for your reading pleasure and/or critique. Our hope is that you will be so kind as to forgive the glaring typo or the misplaced comma and see instead all the things we got right.

Is working for a magazine fun? Yes! It can be. We meet fascinating people, attend festive events, and get the inside scoop on many area happenings, all while stretching our brains and flexing our creative muscles. But it’s also hard—sometimes sleepless-night, beat-your-head-against-the-wall hard. There is no room for procrastination in publishing and no time to waste.

Nobody is getting rich or famous here. Paychecks are nice, but the real reward is in the final result. Thanks to you, our loyal readers, the work is satisfying, and we are inspired to do it all over again.

The Graphic Designers: Catherine Colby and Jeff Cline

The future
Some people believe that print publications are on the way out. We beg to differ and enjoy providing a tangible product to those who love getting lost in our pages. However, print is no longer enough. Staying relevant and fresh means keeping up with the latest social trends and constantly feeding content on multiple platforms. Don’t miss the merriment! Follow C2 on You Tube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to stay entertained and informed all month long.

Linda S. Hopkins is a contributing writer and copyeditor for C2 magazine with over 30 years’ experience in publishing.

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