Indie Publishing
Field Notes

We love sharing our process of making a print magazine and building a sustainable indie publishing brand. New here? Start with our list of popular posts.


Free copies for students and tech newbies

Posted on Oct 12 2017 in News

The problem with most indie magazines is that their price is often prohibitive to students and people trying to get a foot in the door. I'd love to see more copies of Offscreen in the hands of STEM and design students or participants of the many coding classes out there. I believe Offscreen can offer them an alternative perspective on the tech industry and emphasise the importance of humility and empathy in their future contributions to our community.

With every issue I set aside a certain amount of 'free copies' to give away for such causes but sending them around the world is expensive. On average it costs me around $6.50 per copy to cover postage, fulfillment, and packaging.

To reach more folks who can't afford Offscreen I'd like to run a little experiment: Companies can sponsor free copies for $5 a piece. All sponsors will be published (and linked to) on this blog, receive a social media shoutout, and get a mention in a future issue of the Dispatch.

Before I reach out to sponsors though, I want to call on educational providers to put their hand up. If you work at a school, college, library or if you run tech classes for underprivileged people, I want to send you a bunch of free copies!

You are eligible if you..

  • are an educational provider (academic or community-driven)
  • have a website (to verify you're legit)
  • have an official shipping address (I can't send copies to your home)

→ If that's you, apply here. (Form is now closed)

In this first step I'm only collecting addresses of education providers. In the next step (if there is enough demand) I'll be calling on sponsors to chip in with getting those copies delivered. I'm hoping to give out up to 500 free copies in total.

If you like this idea, please help spread the word and share it with friends who teach or run classes. Thanks!

Back to work

Posted on Sep 26 2017 in News

After a busy and intense seven months I was finally able to launch the newly designed website and issue 16 in March this year. But there was little time to celebrate. In publishing, after one issue is always before the next. A couple of weeks after the big reveal, I began planning the content for issue 17. When that issue launched in July I was definitely ready for a break.

And so in August my partner and I got on a plane to Europe. We caught up with family and friends in Germany, hiked through the South Tyrol region in Italy, swam in crystal clear lakes in France, and of course indulged in the region's abundant fresh food. (I occasionally posted photos on Offscreen's Instagram account.)

Before taking off, I scheduled several issues of my weekly newsletter (although the Dispatch did take a two-week break in the middle of our holiday too). I tried to stay offline for much of the holidays, but couldn't avoid checking my emails every now and then and making sure Offscreen orders were being fulfilled as usual.

I'm back in Melbourne now and excited to get started with issue 18. In fact, I've already confirmed three out of four interviewees. It's going to be a cracker of an issue! (Make sure you're subscribed.)

Before I left I told some of you to get in touch again when I'm back from my holidays because I didn't have time to respond properly at the time. If that's you, please follow up on your email. My inbox is depressingly empty.

Yeah, not really. 😉

Issue 17 now available

Posted on Jul 18 2017 in News

🚀🎉 Today we're launching Offscreen Issue 17! 🚀🎉 There'll be two major shipments this week with the first one happening later today. Order now to be part of the very first batch leaving our warehouse in Berlin.

If you have purchased anything from us before, please check your inbox. The email shows whether a previous purchase of yours includes this issue. Obviously, as a subscriber you will automatically receive every new issue, but it's worth checking your account occasionally anyway to make sure that your shipping details are up-to-date. Can't find the email? You can always check your order history/status on

Issue 17 includes insightful, intimate interviews with...

  • Tom Loosemore – Founding member of the UK’s Government Digital Service, the government organisation behind the groundbreaking GOV.UK.
  • Heather B. Armstrong – Known to most under her pseudonym 'Dooce', she's one of the web's most successful bloggers.
  • Jason Santa Maria – Design and typography aficionado and co-founder of A Book Apart, he's currently creative director for Slate.
  • Ashwini Asokan – Co-founder of Mad Street Den and outspoken proponent for creating an ethical and legal framework around Artificial Intelligence.

You can find all the details on our issue details page.

This issue would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Abstract, Adobe Typekit, Adobe Creative Residency, Craft, Harvest, Hover, MailChimp, and SiteGround. And of course, a big 'thank you' to all Patrons of this issue.

Don't forget to share your feedback and photos via Twitter and Instagram once you've received your copy in the mail. Any questions, just contact us. Enjoy your read!

Unsplash + Offscreen: Show us your favourite way to log off

Posted on May 23 2017 in News

Unsplash, the photo-sharing site that lets you download and use thousands of free photos without any restrictions, has become a bit of a phenomenon. What started as a side project attracted tens of millions of downloads in its first year alone. Today more than 250,000 photos are downloaded every single day.

I'm an Unsplash fan too. In fact, I use photos from Unsplash for this very blog. So when Mikael Cho reached out to ask whether I'm interested in running a little campaign together, it was an easy decision.

Under the theme Life Off Screen we've started a new collection all about our favourite ways to log off. My first shot: I love browsing book and magazine stores, so I've chosen a photo of a recent visit of our Berlin stockist, Do You Read Me.

I'm now calling on the Offscreen community – you – to submit your photos of your favourite things or activities that you turn to once you turned off your device. What's your favourite way of spending time away from your screens?

How it works

  • Use the link below to upload your photos. (You'll need to create an account if you don't have one already.)
  • Add 'Life Off Screen' to the photo story (its caption)
  • All photos must adhere to Unsplash's Submission Guidelines.
  • Your photos will be reviewed, generally within 24 hours.
  • Once approved your photos will be available to use for everyone for free without restrictions.

Submit your photos now

With a bit of luck your photo will also be selected as a top-ten pick and appear in Unsplash's newsletter (sent to around 400,000 recipients) and on Unsplash's homepage. As a top-ten pick you also get a load of free Unsplash swag.

I can't wait to see what you come up with. Happy snapping!

Results of our reader survey

Posted on May 10 2017 in News

A couple of weeks ago I asked you to fill out our reader survey so that I could get a better picture of my audience and collect some basic feedback along the way. 554 of you submitted answers. Thanks so much! You can view the results of the multiple choice questions here:

View survey results

Of those who answered the two open-ended feedback questions (one on Offscreen Magazine, the other on Offscreen Dispatch) the vast majority had nothing but praise. I'm always flattered by this (thanks again!) but of course it's the critical feedback that helps me improve and make changes. Though, the contradictory nature of the responses really surprised me. Here are some verbatim answers:

On the focus on tech

A few of the interviews lately have been less tech-industry focussed which is fine and understandable, but isn't my personal preference. Not a huge issue, though!
– vs –
Broaden the industries you cover in the magazine and also cover photography, art, illustration, typography, etc.

On the new binding method

Bring back the glued binding. This new one looks so very wrong.
– vs –
I like the redesign, especially the binding.

On the length of interviews

I love the longform articles. Such a treat to have some well curated, deep discussion. The tone of voice is ace too. More of these would be welcome.
– vs –
Interviews can be very long and it's not fun for readers with limited attention span. Perhaps more bite-sized articles and features would be good.

On featuring well-known people

Focus on industry leaders. Julie Zhou was a big name which attracted me to that last issue.
– vs –
Interview less known people, from non-english speaking countries. I was a bit disappointed to see Julie Zhuo on cover of the new mag. She's too 'mainstream'.

On diversity

Keep it up with the diverse voices please!
– vs –
More diversity! The magazine is still mostly white guys in the U.S. Let's get some gender/racial/ethnic/geographic diversity in there.

This is just a small selection. Reading through the hundreds of entries, it felt like almost every piece of feedback was immediately annulled by the next. To be honest, I'm not sure if I actually can take anything away from it. Perhaps that by landing in the middle I'm doing it right? I'm not sure.

Some other responses that caught my eye and that I wanted to briefly touch on here:

On Offscreen Dispatch

I actually preferred the old layout due to the use of imagery for each link. Helps provide context and captures attention.

Many of you mentioned that they preferred the old layout of my weekly newsletter (then called The Modern Desk) because it showed more images of the products. That's actually not true. I've always only showed images of the tangible products (and not the digital ones). It might be the layout overall that gives that impression.

Sometimes there are some really cool products but the 'reviews' don't seem like you actually used them.

That's correct. I don't review any of the products in the newsletter unless I clearly say so. There is no way I can find the time to buy and review 5–6 products every week. All of the items in the newsletter are purely suggestions – things I've stumbled upon and want to share because they caught my eye.

I canceled it because it makes me click to read. I like newsletters to contain all information without having to open my browser.


On sharing more of the behind the scene

Add more background knowledge about managing/producing/designing Offscreen.

Several of you said they wanted to know more about what's happening behind the scenes. This is something I actually really enjoy sharing. If you have been following me for a while you will know that I write and share a lot of what's happening behind the scenes right here on the blog. If you aren't aware of the depth of the blog yet, have a browse and then grab the RSS feed to always get the latest posts. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to blog as much as I'd like recently.

I'd prefer if you gave away the content for free and find another revenue model.

I also wish we could end capitalism but sadly we're not there, yet.