Gary Blanchette had been designing mock PBase Magazine covers since September 2004. You can see them here . His covers were pretty popular and fun to see.
While browsing dpreview, I noticed a post by Bill Bates where he mentioned that it would be nice to have something like a PBase Magazine for amateurs. I thought it would be a fun project to start and emailed Bill asking if he would be interested in co-operating with me in creating the magazine. I also suggested that Bill's lovely wife, Wanda, be our first 'feature' of the magazine. If you did not know, Bill and Wanda are 'PBase celebrities', largely due to their excellent "Wanda a Day" galleries. I bet Bill thought I was some sort of loony to send him an email out of the blue with a plan which was rather ambitious considering that I did not have a team, no past experience or anything else.
Naturally, I contacted Gary to ask if he would agree to design our cover artwork and he said yes in a jiffy.
At the same time, I contacted Slug & Emily on Feb 2005 asking if we could call it 'PBase Magazine' and have PBase host it. For those interested in the 'first template' of the proposed magazine, which was used to convince Slug, Emily, Bill etc. of the seriousness, you can see it here. It was awfully nice of Slug and Emily to agree immediately without any verification. Agreeing to such a thing is risky for PBase, because a shoddy magazine would likely have damaged their name!
Once Slug and Emily agreed, we now had to put together team.
Wanda was ever so gracious and offered to proof-read the magazine in addition to being the first model for our premier issue.
We then used the PBase forums to recruit our 'PDF expert' with a call for help here. Larena Woodmore responded, and we had a team ! The PBase forum folks and members were also very helpful and encouraging !
So that was it - our first 'Team' consisted of Gary Blanchette (cover), Wanda Bates (proof-reading), Larena Woodmore (PDFing) and Arjun Roychowdhury (editorials, articles,layout)
We launched our first issue on April 11 2005. What was to follow was (not) Fame! Fortune! Celebrity Status!
Who are the folks who work on the magazine now?
When the magazine first started, I really wanted it to be a 'world wide' effort. The intent was that we would work on the first issue, then someone else would take over for the next and so on. However noble this intention was, there were practical issues, the most significant being -Thousands love reading, hundreds love supporting but a handful actually have time to work to make it a reality
Gary Blanchette, is our cover page artist par excellence
Michelle Lammerse, is our layout editor.
Arjun Roychowdhury(that would be me) is the magazine editor, and takes care of contacting authors,collecting articles and overall magazine responsibility.
Are you PBase?
No, we are not. We are a bunch of volunteers who enjoy no special status from PBase or their owners. Slug (Chuck) and Emily are the owners of PBase. I've never met them before besides being in touch with them over email. So please do not send us emails asking for free accounts or anything else not related to the magazine.
Since you do so much for PBase, why don't they pay you ? Or atleast, offer you special services ?
I am asked this question pretty often. First, *I approached* PBase with this project. They did not ask for it. I should thank them for believing in this effort without any proof. Turning around and expecting any form of compensation from them for this effort, therefore, is to me, ridiculous (again, my perspective only). As far as special services are concerned - if you mean being treated as special customers (whatever that means), again, to me, it is abuse of the nature of this effort.
We started this as something we wanted to do, no one asked us to do it. Whether it has succeeded or not should not change what we expect in return from PBase.
How much money do you make?
Enough to have bought all the team members some nice t-shirts once. Also see here for details.
What tools do you use to create the magazine?
We scour the internet (dpreview, smugmug, photo.net, general google searches) looking for content. All our correspondence is via email to begin with. Sometimes, interviews are conducted over the phone, but we generally prefer email. We maintain a google online spreadsheet with details on article status. Microsoft Word is used for creating the content and then we finish it off with Nitro PDF (we recently switched to NitroPDF from Adobe Acrobat).
Where do you want to take this magazine? Don't you want to make money ?
We don't need to make money with this magazine. In many ways, it is a labor of love, so to speak. We all do it because we enjoy doing it. If money does come by as a result of this effort, so be it. But we want to make sure that the magazine does not turn into a marketing and ad-prolific entity that needs to be biased in order to make money.
In other words, we will ensure the following things are never forgotten: a) The magazine must always be free to download b) Anyone who wants to download should be able to do so, without having to 'pay for subscription' for anything, including PBase membership c) The magazine will contain articles based on suitability and merit - it will not matter if the author is a PBase user or not d) The magazine format will be clean - if we ever choose to put ads, they will be inconspicuous.
So if this magazine is not your livelihood, what do you do for a living?
Please read the "Get to know us" article in Issue #4 of the magazine.