Commentary: Seven Years of Good Luck

Photo by Randy Stern

Rarely do I especially talk about my work in some Twin Cities-based lifestyle magazine.

This year marks my seventh year with Lavender Magazine. It is my other primary outlet for my work these days, with over 17,000 copies in print distributed across parts of five states, around 11,000 subscribers using the magazine’s app on their devices, and about 50,000-plus hits on their website monthly. No matter how you interpret these numbers, they represent a steady and loyal readership representing the LGBT community and beyond.

Recent changes at Lavender have solidified my continued involvement as a contributing writer. The automotive content in Lavender continues to be a keystone column in most of the issues throughout its editorial year. The column attracts a lot of web readers monthly, as well as creating sparks of conversations to those who actually read it.

The biggest change is the Managing Editor of the magazine. Andy Lien has moved upwards in creating new media content for the magazine. Local journalist Chris Tarbox is now in her seat running the print/website content based on themes per issue, as well as the columns that join said content in the magazine.

The first thing Tarbox said about my work is that he loved it. The work is solid and of high quality. I am very grateful he said that because I was a little worried that it was not holding any sway for the magazine. He also told me that I am more of a journalist than just a blogger or a writer. Coming from a fellow journalist, that is some validation he heaped upon me. It is good to get the support from an editor that supports your work – this is the key to success in the media business.

The result of my content is the amount of advertising the magazine received from automotive entities. They see the columns and ask what they can do to get more value out of their advertising buy. This might get into some murky ethical water, but I will say that the advertisers have been great for the most part. This has been seven years in the making.

This past Thursday marked the publication of another automotive-themed issue. I believe I lost count on how many of these I have done over the years, but I am grateful that Lavender has let me take the lead in articles for at leats one issue per year. The first issue in March – known internally as Issue 594 – marks the Twin Cities Auto Show issue, where I bring in a preview of the upcoming show, a "Ride Review" (my regular column), and some other article of interest of the LGBT community within the issue's theme. My focus is to re-introduce the local region of the Lambda Car Club International to the Lavender readership.

Normally, I would do four articles. Tarbox suggested I do something about two-wheeled transport. I passed and suggested that for another writer. I am interested in what this writer comes up with for the issue.

Why am I telling you all of this? For starters, Tarbox's arrival as the Managing Editor brought back a spark to my writing for Lavender. There is a renewed energy for my columns and other articles published in the magazine. Plus, hearing how much support I have from the magazine itself is also motivation to deliver my best work to the readership.

Secondly, I may have added some cache to the magazine. Granted, I have never won an individual award from the Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association, but Lavender was named its "Magazine of The Year" for 2016. I take pride in knowing that I had a small hand in helping it achieve such a lofty distinction.

The other part of this is how Lavender's automotive content ranks up there with similar columns and articles across the spectrum of LGBT media. We are not a small publication by any means, nor are we as large as a national or major market publication. But, I always felt that Lavender’s writing and presentation do hold its own to similar publications across North America.

I also do not see my writing in Lavender competing with local outlets – print, television, radio, web, etc. Our local LGBT magazine can compete with other automotive and general outlets in other markets based on quality and presentation. At least, that is how I see the magazine and its automotive content sometimes.

Perhaps I brag too much. Maybe I have every right to. Normally, I'm a humble person. I simply smile and say "thank you" before I go into Kanye West Mode.

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