Monday, June 11, 2012

[Interview] The Coffin Factory Folks

In this interview, Laura Isaacman and Randy Rosenthal talk about The Coffin Factory, a magazine that has been described as "a nexus between readers, writers, and the book publishing industry."

How would you describe The Coffin Factory?

The Coffin Factory is the magazine for people who love books.

We acquire stories, essays, and poems from at least a handful of more-recognizable authors and publish their work alongside those of lesser-known writers, whose work we believe is as compelling and thrilling to read.

The high-quality design and content from writers and artists from around the world signals to our readers that each issue is worth reading cover to cover, just as they would a book.

What role do you play in the magazine?

We are publishers, editors, art directors, and we do the design of both the print magazine and website.

What are the most challenging aspects of the work that you do?

Publishing a printed, visually engaging magazine that features some of the best authors and artists in the world on virtually no budget.

How do you deal with these challenges?

We keep our chin up.

What do you like most about the magazine?

The white space. There's tons of it.

When was the magazine set up?

The idea for the magazine began in April of 2011. The first issue was in stores in October.

Why was it set up?

We believe that quality literature and art are essential for the existence of an intelligent society, and we want to perpetuate an intellectually engaged culture.

Who was involved in setting up the magazine?

Both of us. We also have two wonderful Managing Editors who helped to develop the idea as it grew from a baby into a toddler.

What was the nature of their involvement?

They converted us from Scotch to Bourbon.

Are all the people who were involved at the beginning still there?

Yes. Because they share the same passion for literature as we do. And we have a fun time putting an issue of our favorite authors together, and being able to share that with readers.

What were the most challenging aspects of the work that went into setting up the magazine?

Entering the publishing business without any experience in the publishing business.

Why do you think this was so?

Because we had no experience in the publishing business.

How did you deal with these challenges?

We're still learning the publishing business.

How has it been received?

Very well.

Who is your target audience?

People with good taste.

How do you find them?

They find us.

Where are your contributors coming from?

From all over the world. We're pretty sure we have the most diverse list of authors and artists in any North American magazine.

What would you say about the range and quality of submissions you are receiving at present?

We receive a lot of submissions. And the writers that are familiar with the magazine's particular aesthetic taste submit very good work.

What is The Library Donation Project?

The Library Donation Project is our effort to introduce young readers to the world's most exciting contemporary writers. We are donating 1,000 magazines to universities across the country, with a goal to raise $3,000 to help cover the cost of shipping.

What motivated The Coffin Factory's involvement in the project?

We hope that the next generation of readers will know that it's cool to be smart. It's important to try and save the younger generation from participating in the degeneration of language, which, sooner or later, will affect the level of our nation's intelligence. Can't be a superpower if you're super stupid.

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