Thursday, November 25, 2010

Win Tickets to the Cannes Reel Fundraiser!!!!

AMPA is giving away two tickets to the Cannes Reel Fundraiser at Flames Central (Calgary) November 30th! The tickets include dinner, the reel viewing, and some fabulous table companions:

The Calgary Marketing Association presents the Cannes Reel of the world's best (and funniest) commercials at a fundraising event for the National Advertising Benevolence Society.

Not only is this event sure to entertain, it will also serve as the CMA's annual Christmas party -- a great opportunity to network with the media, marketing professionals, and creative agencies.

To enter, simply email with the subject CANNES. The winner must be a resident of the Calgary area.

The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association is a proud sponsor of the Cannes Reel Fundraiser.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tree Free for Synchronicity

by Andrea Cubala

[Update: Despite their intentions of moving to an online edition, as of January 2011, Synchronicity magazine has announced that they will no longer be publishing]

After being in print for 20 years, Synchronicity magazine is adopting a completely "tree free" attitude. Starting on November 30th, the magazine goes purely digital with monthly online editions. It seems the magazine focused on mind, body, spirit, and earth has checked in for a rejuvenation treatment, and will emerge ready to connect with the whole world.

To mark the fresh start, Synchronicity is working on a new website that will be launched on December 1st. But if you don’t want to wait until then, sign up now for a free online subscription. To read more about Synchronicity’s transition, check out their blog or sign up to receive E-News.

On a more personal note, I’m excited about their new website! If you take a look at the earthy photos, serene colours, and user-friendly layout of their transition website it’s clear that their new one is something to look forward to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

50,000 Words In 30 Days

by Andrea Cubala

On November 1st, I opened my laptop and starting writing. With a story in mind (the same story that’s been in there for years, waiting for a push) I typed at 1,667 words every day to make sure I was off to a good start in completing the goal: 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th. Well, it’s day twenty and where am I? About 16,007 words short… Seeing that number makes my heart hurt. But the stress is worth it.

Why do I do it? I came across Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) last year. Run by the Office of Letters and Light, Nanowrimo’s home base is in Berkeley, California—but the location doesn’t matter because anyone can participate! The premise is simple: write 50,000 words between November 1st and 30th. There is nothing to win but your own satisfaction. Last year, I got to 38,000 words and I can honestly say it was an extremely satisfying experience. Pushing your creative limits, getting to know your characters, and watching your imaginary world unfold before your very eyes are just some of the perks along the way. Plus, you get a taste of what it’s like to be a true writer; one who continues even in the face of adversity.

I know it is now more than halfway through the month (please, don’t remind me) but don’t let that stop you from joining in. Challenge yourself. Write 10,000 words and see how it feels. Or even just 5,000. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beyond the Block

by Allison Onyett

We’ve all been there: sitting in front of a blank computer screen, watching the curser blink at us impatiently, without a thought in our head – writer’s block. We’ve all heard of it, many of us have struggled with it, successful writers have been haunted by it occasionally during their careers. Hollywood has even made a feature film, Stranger than Fiction, on the topic, proving that we’re not alone.

There are endless suggestions and tricks for overcoming writer’s block. A simple Google search brings up countless websites devoted to the topic, offering insightful suggestions on how to get your creativity flowing again. For example, I’d recommend which, among other things, offers 101 ideas on how to get past your mental roadblock and caters to various forms of prose. I was equally impressed by the extensive amount of free content devoted to helping writers produce quality work.

I also came across many articles that suggested allowing your originality to break free through other art forms, such as painting, drawing or simply “playing.” This makes perfect sense to me, since as children we often generate ideas through creative play. As adults we tend to forget to make time for “play,” a leisurely way to practice being inventive.

Personally, I find that as soon as I stop focusing my ideas start to come naturally, which is why I’ll go for a run or take a long shower if I find myself struggling. I also always carry a notebook in my bag, which I started doing when I noticed my purse overflowing with ideas scribbled down on napkins, post-it notes, and old receipts. I’ve also found that bouncing ideas off of a friend is a great way to generate a topic. Lastly, yet probably the most obvious, is reading. Growing up we learned at school that reading and writing go hand in hand. So when you’re stuck writing, try reading. Another author’s work can be very inspirational – hearing their tone, word usage and subject matter can often conjure up new ideas of your own.

All in all – there are many useful suggestions out there to help us get beyond the block. What works for one person may not for another – so on that note, I’d love to hear what works for you. Who knows, you may save a fellow writer from those stressful hours of staring at a blank screen.

MagaScene 77


AMPA’s Adventures at LitFest and More

October was a busy month for AMPA. Here are the highlights…


Power of Magazines Ad Campaign from Mags Canada Could Benefit You

Paper No More Synchronicity Goes Digital

Is There a Strategy for That App? Digital Editions Today

Bursaries a Benefit with Mags Canada School for Circulation


FreeFall Chapbook Winners Launch November 18

Tax Matters for Freelancers November 25

Cannes Reel Fundraiser with CMA November 30

Fine Art of Schmoozy at Latitude 53 December 4

Awards/Calls for Submissions

Alberta Literary Awards

Oilweek's Class of Rising Stars

FreeFall Prose and Poetry Contest


Communications Coordinator, Alberta Conservation Association

Web Traffic Coordinator, RedPoint Media Group

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Magazines Canada Ad Campaign

Magazines Canada has launched three new advertising campaigns that will remind the advertising community and industry influencers about the power of magazines.

“As today’s consumers and business leaders become harder to reach in meaningful ways, magazines more than ever have powerful stories to tell,” said Gary Garland, Executive Director of Advertising Services at Magazines Canada. “They engage, they connect communities and they sell. Member support of these new ad campaigns will remind the advertising community and industry influencers that magazines are not only open for business but a must-buy.”

The first of these campaigns, a “torn insert,” will run in Marketing and Marketing QC, and is set for release in the November 22 issue (street date November 15). The die-cut insert looks like a ripped page in a magazine. The campaign leverages the high percentage of consumers who tear ads out of magazines for future reference.

The second consumer-based ad campaign features a series of whimsical ads that begin with “Dear Magazine Reader.” The ad then apologizes for magazine ads being so successful at prompting purchase. Each ad ends with, “We’re sorry we’re so engaging.” Members will also be able to create their own customizable version of the ad based on their own experiences.

Transforming the bedroom and bathroom into the new boardroom, the third campaign, geared specifically to business media titles, promotes the power of magazines in keeping business decision makers in the know—wherever they are.

In addition to the print ads, online ads will also be available for the consumer and business media campaigns. An overrun of inserts will also be made available to members on a request basis for use as bookmarks in magazine copies sent to advertisers as comps or proof of performance.

All campaigns have been developed by doug and serge agency in both French and English and will be available for Magazines Canada members under the Members’ Download Library.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November SLAM! Mavericks Celebration and B-House Launch

Thursday, November 25, 2010 -- 8:00 PM -- $5
Auburn Saloon, #163, 115-9th Ave S, Calgary
Hosts: Kirk Ramdath & Jen Kunlire

In partnership with the Calgary Public Library, the Calgary Spoken Word Festival is pleased to celebrate the “Mavericks” (Aritha van Herk’s book Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta) and will present a Wild, Wild West Maverick-themed poetry SLAM!

The SLAM! will feature Paul Marshall as this month’s Sacrificial Poet. For those who do not wish to Slam!, there will also be an Open Mic. So come down, strut your stuff and showcase your work. All styles are welcome.

B-House Publications, Calgary’s “Maverick” publisher, will also launch their latest book of poetry, Lessons in Falling, by T. B. Perry. In his unflinching poems, Perry presents a no-holds barred glimpse at the working life of a contemporary teacher, based on his experiences as a teacher at a Calgary junior high school. He was also captain of the 2010 Calgary Slam! Team that competed in Ottawa in the 2010 Nationals. The launch aspect will be hosted by Eugene Stickland, B-House’s editor-in-chief and playwright.

For more information about SLAM!, visit:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Content-Driven Apps: New Insights for Publishers

[excerpts from "Beyond the Magazine Replica: Publishers Explore New Types of Content-Driven Apps" at]

Publishers are evolving their app strategies beyond basic magazine replicas, experimenting with a variety of new formats and products that have the potential to create new mobile revenue streams.

The apps cut across a broad spectrum of features and content offerings but generally fall into one of three categories: utility app, special issue or content feed. Interviews and other commentary from a variety of consumer publishers – including Consumers Union, New York magazine, Hearst and Meredith – offer some insights into how publishers’ mobile app strategies are extending beyond print content.

Filling the idea pipeline

Most publishers will readily acknowledge that they are still in the very early stages of determining what type of content best lends itself to an app experience. One thing they quickly figured out: Smartphones offer a much different user experience than larger-screen tablet devices. Smartphones are very much utility-driven, with users often looking for specific information to help them complete an activity. Early research on tablets points to a lean-back reading experience that equates more with traditional magazine reading than with the task-driven Web. [...]

A dose of consumer research

Publishers are also pairing editors’ suggestions with consumer research to ensure that a legitimate target audience awaits a new app.

“We did a lot of user segmentation and mapping to determine women’s passion points and their perceptions of relevance and value,” said Lauren Wiener, senior VP of interactive at Meredith. “We have been taking this information to our editors to power product development.” [...]

Read more

Cannes Reel NABS Fundraiser

On November 30th the Calgary Marketing Association (CMA) presents the Cannes Reel of the world's best (and funniest) commercials at a fundraising event for the National Advertising Benevolence Society (NABS).

Not only is this event sure to entertain, it will also serve as the CMA's annual Christmas party - in other words, this is an invaluable opportunity to network with the media, marketing professionals, and creative agencies.

Flames Central (219 8th Avenue SW, Calgary) has been booked for this private event, so be sure to purchase your advance tickets at

The doors open at 5pm, food (included with your ticket) served from 6pm-7pm, and the screening starts at 7pm.

Non-member: $149

Association member: $49

Students: $29

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Fine Art of Schmoozy

Schmoozy is what the fine art of having a good time is all about: the perfect mix of an art auction, live music, great food and drink, and fabulous company.

On December 4th Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture (Edmonton) presents its 12th annual winter fundraiser, The Fine Art of Schmoozy, from 8 PM until the glasses run dry. Enjoy smooth music, even smoother cocktails, and bid on fabulous works by established local artists in the exclusive silent auction.

Some of the artists featured in this year's auction include: Allen Ball, Brenda Draney, Marc Siegner, Patrick Higgins, Raymond Beisinger, and many more.

Get your tickets now, $25 each, before they're gone. Tickets are available in person at Latitude 53 (10248 106 St, Edmonton, AB), or online at

The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association is a proud sponsor of The Fine Art of Schmoozy.

Template Teaser 3: Circulation Strategy

Finally, a third post in the "Template Teaser" series, this one from AMPA's 2010 Tiny Template: The Circulation Edition. In her article "Party On! Like Any Good Party, Successful Circulation Requires Best-Laid Plans," Malwina Gudowska turned to Eithne McCredie, vice-president of Abacus Circulations Inc., for her insights on circulation strategy:

"...for new magazines, most are launched out of a passion for an interest area, but McCredie warns that it should never overshadow circulation and distribution planning. She says that no matter how passionately you believe that readers with the same interest will naturally gravitate to your magazine, without the right circulation plan, they won't.

Before launching, do plenty of research on your potential market and count yourself lucky if your magazine has a competitor because then there's already a market. Do the research on the competitor looking at circulation, ad rates and demographics. Once you've figured out your target group and how you can get to it, look at every possible circulation source."

You can learn more about circulation strategy, and gain other valuable information about magazine publishing, in Tiny Template: The Circulation Edition

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Evolution of the Magazine

by Allison Onyett

As most business owners know, when launching a product it is of utmost importance to evolve with the trends and keep up with your market; the publishing industry is no exception. In recent years, the trend in publishing has been the digital edition – a magazine or newspaper reproduced and delivered electronically. In most cases it is almost identical to the print version, yet will often contain hyperlinks to various websites and related topics.

There are many advantages to producing a digital edition – some magazines are even solely available online, such as the local Calgary fashion magazine Conglomerate. Ultimately, a digital edition is also more cost effective to produce and environmentally friendly to distribute. As the market evolves and new electronic devices emerge, it would seem that an increasing number of consumers are choosing to subscribe to the electronic format.

However, you may also be questioning the viability of this new trend, and wondering if the market has evolved enough for currently distributed publications to justify the investment in and/or immediate production of digital editions. Is an online presence enough? What is the future of print magazines?

If you are involved in the publishing industry and are concerned about the evolution of the magazine, I would recommend doing some serious market research. You could get started by participating in the November 9th webinar hosted by FOLIO, “The State of the Digital Edition”, where you will have the opportunity to debate and learn about the aforementioned concerns and other related issues.

Personally, I still like the idea of flipping through the pages of a magazine and folding the corners of articles and advertisements that catch my eye. After staring at a computer screen all day I find it refreshing to turn away from its florescent lights and curl up with my favorite magazine. For these reasons, I’m not sure that I ever would subscribe to a digital edition, despite its many economical and environmental advantages. Is anyone with me on this, or am I part of a growing minority?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tips for Writing a Magazine Feature

On October 23, AMPA sponsored the LitFest session "Creating a Winning Magazine Feature," with writer and editor Lawrence Scanlan offering his advice on how to create a winning magazine feature from pitch to publication.

Scanlan can speak with considerable authority on the topic, as a former magazine and newspaper editor for publications including The Whig-Standard and Harrowsmith, a former CBC Radio producer, and the author of six best-selling books, including Wild About Horses and Little Horse of Iron. He has also won three National Magazine Awards for his journalism.

The seminar began with a discussion of "the pitch" (ie: selling your story to the editor). Scanlan advised writers to be clear and concise, offering just enough information upfront to pique the editors interest and appeal to the editor as a reader. Knowing and appealing to the specific audience of the magazine is of absolute necessity. Another sound tip: pick up the phone! It's easier to reject or ignore an email than a phone call, so send a pitch via email and advise that you'll follow up with a phone call in a few days time. 

As for the creation of a feature article, Scanlan suggested that writers invest time in their research, even if this means putting in the effort to dig through archives to provide that added touch and detail. He also shared his interview techniques, including taking notes during an in-person (recorded) interview: the very act of note-taking, and breaking from the pressure of eye-contact, will aid in putting the interviewee at ease. 
 Reassure the interviewee that you, or your fact-checker, will run any quotes by them prior to publication.
Some final tips from Scanlan: never underestimate the value of a good peer review, and always read your article aloud to ensure a sense of rhythm.

--- Rebecca Lesser
AMPA Communications & Programs Coordinator