As Gourmet went down, Saveur went up. According to Eater, Saveur ended 2009 as the second highest magazine for ad page growth among all monthly mags. Its December issue was up 32 percent in ad pages, according to publisher Merri Lee Kingsly.
Impressive. Too bad she hasn’t raised the editorial budget in response. Instead, the editors have been working their tails off.
For the December issue, Executive Editor Dana Bowen wrote the 20-page cover story, including recipes and all but one sidebar, a feat that must have taken several months in addition to her full-time job.
In the same issue, Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman went to India to pen a feature on India’s Gujarati cuisine, weighing in at a roaring 16 pages. James Oseland, the Editor-In-Chief, accompanied him as the photographer!
So how much of the book did these stories take up? In the magazine layout world, the “well” is the area between the columns and departments in the front and back of the book. It’s where the big juicy feature articles live, and where all freelance writers aspire to be published. The number of ads determine its size.
Before I give you the answer, I’ve got to hand it to the editors for their ingenuity and hard work. They made the best of what must be a puny editorial budget. It’s satisfying to write big features for your own magazine. And to be a decent photographer when you’re the editor-in-chief is a huge accomplishment.
On the other hand, I did a little math. Combined, in-house editors produced 36 pages of the magazine’s 46-page feature well. That means they paid nothing but expenses for around 78 percent of the feature content, leaving just a few pages for contributors. So much for all that growth.
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