• Boss's mum wants to be on the cover of the magazine. She is NOT a looker.
“Unfortunately we prepare months in advance and this year is already locked in in terms of content. Perhaps we can re-visit this next year when we are outlining the content for 2020,” I say smoothly to my boss’s mum.
She looks disappointed.
“Next year?” she asks. “Yes, I suppose we can do that…” she adds, her voice trailing off.
By next year, he’ll be sure to never bring her round again and she’ll forget about it in time. If you missed it, she has some far-fetched idea of putting herself on the cover of the magazine. Conceited much? I get it, your son owns the magazine and this is your dream but come on! Nobody is spending their hard earned money to read about an old granny unless you’re Madonna. Sorry Madge.
This will sell. She’s beautiful, she’s curvy and she’s successful. Men want her and women want to be her. This is always a cocktail for a big seller...Her beautiful home on the hill will be a decider for most buyers; people like to see how the other half live.
I say my goodbyes and head back to my office after catching my boss’s relieved smile. Sure, make me the bad guy. It comes with the job. A cover of a magazine is an extremely big deal. The selection process is long and agonising. We check the person’s impact on society, their popularity, their aesthetics, their pull factor, their topicality, the theme of the magazine that month, so many details are dependent on which face smiles up to you from a magazine stand.
And make no mistake, that face can make or break an issue. People don’t buy magazines because they are loyal readers. Those people already have subscriptions. The real sales come from the casual reader who is minding their own business and comes across a face they are familiar with and curious about. They will stop mid stride, leaf through the magazine and if they are satisfied that there are enough pictures in there of the object of their affection or curiosity, they will buy the magazine.
Those buyers are then meant to find your regular columnists in there who may sway them to look out for the magazine again and maybe one day, subscribe, but mostly you have to do the same dance with them every month.
You have to meet them again with a new face, chat to them as they flip through the magazine, flirt with them as they pause on a page that catches their eye, the all important page that will convince them to take the magazine home. Yes, purchasing a copy from a newsstand is a lot like dating. And you get turned down a lot!
I take a seat behind my desk and look at the mock cover for our upcoming issue. This will sell. She’s beautiful, she’s curvy and she’s successful. Men want her and women want to be her. This is always a cocktail for a big seller. The inside pages have her in provocative clothing for the ones who will leaf through the pages before deciding to purchase or not.
Her beautiful home on the hill will be a decider for most buyers; people like to see how the other half live. I sign off on the cover with the date under my signature. I have to do this with every page of the magazine to show I have gone through every line and have approved it. That way, if there are mistakes or lawsuits, I take the blame for the whole team. That’s why editors are always sued alongside publishers when we mess up.
I look up to my wall where every cover that has sold out is framed. My Hall of Fame. Every singe person on that wall is gorgeous. It’s sad but true. Looks sell magazines. And my boss’s mum is NOT a looker.