Last Tuesday, I met with Tom Franciskovich, who is the publisher of the newly created SLO Life Magazine, to ask him what publishing one’s own magazine is all about.
His office was in a small professional building on S. Higuera Street. I was escorted by the secretary into a conference room, where I was offered water and asked politely to wait for the publisher to arrive.
Tom is a middle-aged man, with the dark hair and the ambitious, inquisitive eyes that one might expect of a reporter or a politician. He introduced himself and sat across from me at the conference table; it all felt very professional.
I began by asking the first question on my notes: “So what exactly does publishing entail?”
That was all the prompt that Tom needed. He proceeded to enlighten me about his profession and his magazine, anticipating all my questions before I asked.
The SLO Life is circulated mostly door-to-door to many homes around San Luis Obispo. It has 32 pages and is published seasonally, although hopefully it will expand to a larger page count and monthly circulation in the future.
As a publisher, Tom has to orchestrate the actual look and feel of SLO Life. He wants to focus on the people in our town, so the cover is always a bold photograph of an interviewed person. Tom expressed his desire to reach many types of people for his readership audience by interviewing the average or less-famous people in the community. The articles are compact, with many colorful photos and diagrams. Each page has both articles and advertisements, which usually work in harmony–restaurant ads in the culinary section, realtor ads in the real estate section, sports events in the community section, etc.
Tom explained that publishers have to be conscientious about both their readers and their advertisers. Interesting articles are just half the requirement–attractive advertisements are vital to the magazine’s success. Just as a publication must hold the attention of its reading audience, it must also hold the attention of advertisers, who make an investment in the publication and expect it to benefit their businesses. Tom called readers and advertisers the “two audiences” of publishing.
Originally working in advertising for several prestigious publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Tom now embraces the freedom of publishing his own magazine. He often dabbles in reporting and interviewing, because that’s the fun part. He is also proud to create a tangible product when SLO Life hits the press.
Thank you, Tom, for your time and inspiration. I hope your family enjoys living here, and good luck in publishing SLO Life!
the SLO Life Website: