What Are the Duties of a Magazine Publisher?

Magazine publishing is the process of getting a magazine from the initial manuscript stage to the final publication. Although a publisher can be involved with editorial aspects of a magazine, traditionally the publishing role is primarily to deal with the business side of putting out a magazine, such as revenue, interacting with paper manufacturers and talking to public-relations people and the press.


Drawing revenue for a magazine is one of the biggest responsibilities of a publisher. Magazine revenue comes from three sources: advertising, subscriptions and news-stand sales. Persuading companies to advertise in a magazine can be difficult, especially for new magazines because many companies plan advertisements 18 months in advance. To target advertisers, a magazine publisher might need to travel and make presentations to companies. Finding advertisers can be easier if a publisher targets companies related to the topic or niche of the magazine. All magazine publishers must estimate how much of their revenue should come from these three sources and determine whether their costs will be covered by their revenue. A good publisher will have lined up sources of revenue for the first few years of publication until a magazine becomes profitable.


A magazine publisher is often in charge of hiring staff to complete all the duties involved in putting out a magazine, such as editors, writers, executives, lawyers and graphic designers.

Fashioning a Vision

Along with the editor-in-chief, the publisher will often be involved in determining the vision and focus of the magazine. Will it be a niche magazine? Should it shift its focus to cover new, emerging issues? Should it target a different demographic? All these will be questions the publisher might be involved in determining.

Determining Costs

From issue to issue, the publisher will need to determine the costs of publication. These costs include the design and layout of the magazine, the process of writing and reporting, and printing costs, which will depend largely on the number of pages and the quality of paper chosen for the magazine. Publishers will also help decide the distribution of the magazine and the number of copies to be printed.

Organising Content

It is the publisher's responsibility to pull together editorial, such as features, news pieces and personality profiles, and advertisements. Publishers will have to work with advertisers to ensure their ads are submitted in the proper format. For this reason, publishers need to be able to deal with creative types and business types.


Magazine publishers will also need to talk to paper manufacturers and printers to get the magazine out. Publishers will select a printing company, probably one that specialises in magazines, and arrange delivery and pickup times.

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