Substrate Magazine is alive!

It took me longer than I wanted to produce, mostly out of fear of the unknown. Despite spending over a decade working in the magazine industry, and following that up with another few years of self-publishing my own books, I was still a bit hesitant to rush this to print.

What if I get it wrong?

What if I don’t like it when it’s done?

What if others don’t like it, and think it’s stupid?

This is my first self-published magazine, but my fifth self-published product, but no matter how many times I do this, these feelings of doubt always seem to creep in. You would think I would know by now to combat those demons by now, but it's a constant process.

At some point though, the work needed to get out. I made a commitment to my fans, and to myself, to make this magazine happen. So I pushed print and waited to see what happened next.

A week after I placed my order with the printer, a box arrived at my door. Some time around 9 am, my wife received the package from the delivery driver, and she placed it on the dining table for me to see when I got home from the gym. When I walked in the door, I zeroed in on the box immediately—the small, dusky-brown container calling out to me as if bathed in golden light.

Immediately anxious and excited, I reached for the taped edge ready to tear open the lid with pointed edge of my house key but paused. I needed to document this for Instagram.

With my iPhone in one hand and the keys in another, I clumsily tried to open the box while recording a video for my Insta-story. The ridiculousness of that scenario did not escape me, and I laughed at the absurdity of it all.

"Just open the box, Dave. You don't need to document everything." I said to myself. Of course, I documented everything anyway, because why not share this golden moment with the world.

The house key tore through the paper tape while I wedged my hand between the box flaps to crack the remaining seal. Folding the lid back, I could see a glint of the blue from the magazine cover just beneath a crumbled wad of crate paper, and my eyes opened a little wider.

Tossing the paper wad to the floor, the short stack of magazines looked up at me, like a child waiting to be coddled. I reached, grabbed a half-dozen copies on impulse, and smiled as I felt the uncoated stock in my hand. I turned to my wife and handed her a copy, and she exalted a moment of what I assume was prideful excitement.

I laid the small stack on the table and snapped a quick photo to share with some friends who have been encouraging me through the process. Then, pushing aside all the copies in my hand except one, I leafed through the pages and began to break down in my head all the things I liked or would change. There's not a lot of things I would do different, but I will be changing some things.

The purpose of this first issue was, from the start, meant to be a proof of concept. Before I stepped into a much larger publication, I wanted to see how if I could pull off the adventurous design. I also wanted to test print quality, color retention, page size, and how the typefaces worked in print.

Although I'm proud of what I produced, I am not satisfied. The truth is, I probably never will be 100% satisfied with anything I print because I will always find something I want to change. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs, "Real artists ship." So I will not get caught up in the shoulda-woulda-coulda of this process.

The next issue will be different, but I'm not letting that sink my enthusiasm for this current issue. I'll be upgrading the paper quality for the next one, and increasing the page size. I'm debating on whether to retain the uncoated stock or go with a gloss paper to give the art within the pages a bit more of a polish.

Polish is an interesting word choice because this issue is almost as far away from polished as I can without hand folding and stapling each page myself. It also has some very noticeable mistakes, like a typo right on the front cover. I'm not sure how it happened; an extra letter made it between one of the words, and because there are so few words on the cover, I didn't bother to give it a closer look.

The beauty of this one being uncoated meant I could give the cover a bit of my own DIY touch to it, by blacking out the extra letter and calling the effort art. I made the thing, so I can do whatever I want.

But yeah, the next issue won't have any typos on the cover.

Until that next issue comes out, I will rejoice the one I have in my hand, and if you want to get a copy for yourself, there are now less than 100 copies available. Once they're gone, there will be no more of Issue v0.1.

You can get your hands on this one under the Products menu > Books & Mags. People who buy this issue will be getting a few extras, just for fun.