It’s that time again; time for the 30 Hottest Magazine Launches of the Year and 2016 (October 2015 through September 2016) was an absolutely bona fide year for new magazines. Content was diverse and designs were divine and they just kept coming each and every month. Happily, new magazines have shown no signs of slowing down over the years, even with the naysayers predicting the death of print. That magazines were, are and always will be a reflector of our society and a concrete part of it forever is a fact that Mr. Magazine™ said all along and will continue to say as long as there are human beings to hear it.
Since beginning this very daunting task of selecting the 30 Hottest Launches, considering the love I have for all magazines, many have asked what the qualifications for making Mr. Magazine’s ™ list for the 30 Hottest Launches are and the first and foremost qualifying factor is you have to be a magazine. And if you’re not print, you’re not a magazine. Some might think that consideration is pretty obvious, I do; however, in this digital age, you might be surprised at what some consider a magazine.
The next qualifying factor is the time frame. The magazines chosen had to be published between the months of October, 2015 through September, 2016, and there were a total of 790 new magazines for that period that we had actual physical copies of, with 217 of those having regular frequency. The quality content and amazing designs were beyond the pale and selecting only 30 out of the 217 with promised frequency was almost impossible. Almost.
But when Mr. Magazine™ has a job to do, he gets it done. How is the actual selection process conducted, you might ask? It’s simple really, yet as complex as the cosmos. Between the months of October 2015 through September 2016, all new magazine titles with a regular frequency and that we have actual physical copies of are carefully considered for this very important list. The chosen magazines are selected based on a certain criteria.
In reaching my decision on what makes a hot magazine, by far the number one criteria point is the audience’s reaction to that magazine. How did the overall marketplace react and how did its intended audience respond to it? And just as important; how did the industry behave toward it? These questions are the first thing I ask upon selection of the hottest 30. And once I’ve answered those initial questions, then I really get down to work. Remember my mantra: Audience First.
For example, major industry leaders’ launching new print magazines certainly is something that must be recognized because it speaks of the power of the medium. These people aren’t in the business of wasting dollars on something that has no value, especially when those new babies are some of the absolutely best of the best. This time around there was new offerings from publishing giants such as Condé Nast, Meredith and the southern-born Hoffman Media. For companies as distinguished and successful as these to create and bring new titles into this digital world signifies the good health and power of print.
And then there are the entrepreneurs, with their vision and determination to launch their magazine no matter the cost to their wallets and their emotions; they are no less amazing. Some of the best titles I’ve seen in a long time are among our Top 30 and they come from relatively unknown publishers who are not without experience, just without the stolid names that audiences know so well. Magazines such as: Kazoo, Jarry and Pallet.
So, the criteria for selection is based on factors that include creativity and audience reaction first and foremost, and then industry trends and as always, those rogue wildcards out there that just won’t be denied and seem to make some of the best magazines around.
Also, something has to grab my attention to be selected as a hot new launch, based on the comparative analysis of all the other magazines that are out there. To me, every new magazine is a good magazine. Any new launch is a good launch. I’ve always said my connection to ink on paper is a mutual one, but one that chose me first, albeit willingly. The passion that I have for magazines is not one that I can deny, nor do I even want to. We are connected and I love it.
So without further ado; here is the hottest launch of the year as presented at the min: media industry newsletter breakfast award on Dec. 8, at the Yale Club in New York City followed by 29 Hottest New Launches for 2016 in alphabetical order:
Hottest Launch of the Year: Bake From Scratch: Diet-goers beware, there’s a new temptation coming to a newsstand near you. Bake From Scratch is a product of Hoffman Media specializing in all things baking. I said baking, not cooking. Foodies and chefs worldwide know the difference. This delectable art-form-of-a-magazine is portrayed through eye-catching photos that make your inner chocolate and sweet bread addictions come to life. You can almost smell the raw flour and oven heating up through the sharpness of the design and art in the magazine. But don’t fall for it – that’s not actually a peak of dark chocolate frosting yearning to be scooped and devoured; it’s hard to believe, but those photos aren’t the real thing, but this ink-on-paper delicacy makes it seem so. Move over grandma. There’s a new favorite apron-wearer in town.
B Magazine: For the first time in decades small businesses are thriving, while mega-corporations are seeing an unfavorable decline in revenue. B Magazine is the backbone and lumbar support to entrepreneurs using small and medium-sized business as a force for good. CEO Bryan Welch is a modern day Captain Picard, leading, guiding and directing his adversaries to success and overall fulfillment in the marketplace. This magazine is a purveyor of all things business, including management, merchandising and above all, morale. Read interviews with up-and-coming businesspeople that are not only looking for a profit, but to make the world today in which we buy, sell and trade a better place.
Beekman 1802 Almanac: Partners in business, in life and co-editors of Beekman 1802 Almanac, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge may be familiar to you in another setting. They competed in and won CBS’s The Amazing Race in 2012. The duo now lives on the Beekman 1802 Farm in Sharon Springs, NY, which they’ve turned into a national lifestyle phenomenon. The Farm hosts a title as a TV show, Mercantile, bestselling cookbook and memoir, website, tourism destination and now magazine. They named the magazine an almanac because they liked the day-to-day planning of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and they also wanted to encourage people to cultivate every aspect of their lives as freely and creatively as they desired. Designed in an aesthetic manner similar to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this contemporary magazine gives way to all things DIY – food, wine, décor and gardening. Also – if you’re anywhere near Sharon Springs, NY, be sure to check out the baby goat farm!
Celebrity Page: Celebrity junkies rejoice! A new magazine, filled with real-life news and testimonials (not the gossipy content that is the norm) is gracing newsstands with its sparkling presence. Celebrity Page magazine branched from Celebrity Page TV, which is broadcast several times daily on the cable network Reelz, after its booming success as a rooted celebrity news purveyor. This magazine displays the essence of Hollywood life, from fashion to ultra-beauty, in just a few colorful and whimsically designed pages. Unlike its mega-competitor People, Celebrity Page has centralized design and in-depth content that will satiate any celebrity lover’s soul. Welcome Celebrity Page to the newsstand’s red carpet, as your well thought-out content will remain in the limelight for years to come.
Classic Sewing: The art of sewing has blossomed from hobby and craft to occupation over recent years, but the love and appreciation behind the art form still rings true. Classic Sewing is the definition of the heart and soul behind application with vibrant, unique patterns and easy-to-follow needle guides on each colorful page. The cover price is robust, $24.99, but the free pattern and mix of simple and intricate design is worth it for any intermediate or advanced sewer looking to advance his or her skills. If you’re interested in smocking, machine embroidery, ribbon work and monograms, it’s all in here, too. Classic Sewing will give you the inspiration and motivation you need to get your foot on the pedal and fingers intertwining.
Color Magic!: Coloring books bring to mind memories of grade school and hours of childhood fun, but today, adult coloring books have become all the rage. Color Magic! stands above the rest by being a creative artistic exercise in, you guessed it, having fun. Coloring inside the lines of each Color Magic! page will in turn help you think outside the box. Although the magazine’s physical stature is small, each turn of the page is durable and strong. These pages could withstand any 2-year-old, as well as any precise artist! None of the drawings are what they appear to be, so use your imagination and start coloring, highlighting and scribbling!
FabUplus: In an era of body consciousness and the oversexualizing of women, the race to be “fit” is almost insatiable in America. Eating healthy, exercising and loving yourself have always been the staples of establishing self esteem, but what if the pounds just won’t shed? The voices of FabUplus say, “Who cares?” You can be fit and fat at the same time, and that’s what FabUplus embraces. Editor Shannon Svingen-Jones is encouraging women to love themselves (and their curves!) wholeheartedly, despite their size. You’ll find finance, fitness, sex and testimonials all from women who have decided loving their bodies is worth more than any BMI score.
Forged: Automotive Americana is creating a revolution in downtown squares, dusty, gravel patches and casino parking lots with miles and miles of classic cars for enthusiasts to drool over. Forged is glorifying the automotive lifestyle and culture, as well as promoting those with oil in their veins to hone their rebellious spirits. You’ll not only see classic roadsters and hot rods squealing from page to page, you’ll learn the personalities behind their owners and how they identify with the rough-and-tough lifestyle. Candid photography and comprehensive storytelling give Forged a creative edge on other automotive magazines. And stay tuned: there might be a few pages dedicated to pin-ups.
Galerie: Extravagantly beautiful art and design reigns supreme in Galerie magazine. From breathtaking design visuals to inspiring stories behind famous artists, becoming immersed in Galerie is an all too easy feat. The layout of the magazine is inviting, and the content is empowering for aspiring posh artists and designers. Architecture, home essentials and destinations are also featured in the magazine, with a clarity so precise you can close your eyes and envision yourself there. For each subscription, $5 will be donated to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a professional provider of social support and programming for at-risk LGBTQ youth. Whatever your creative process may be, Galerie will help thrust your ideas to the next level.
GQ Style: Luxury. It’s what the new quarterly fashion magazine GQ Style does, and does very well. Editor in chief Will Welch asks in his debut editor’s letter, “What the hell does luxury even mean in 2016?” He describes it as an empty shell of an idea, but says ultimately he wanted to find thriving in culture. Fashion, literature and celebrity style clout this quality publication by incorporating all things high-end. Flipping through the ultra-color pages of the gender-neutral Style will give you the courage you seek to mosey into Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue and drop your savings account on a wardrobe. And who cares? You look good.
Hola!: Hola! magazine is a celebrity news monthly that is geared toward in-the-know Spanish speaking people living in America. And for those who aren’t Spanish speakers, the same publication is also printed in English. The U.S. version is a product of the longstanding and original Hola! founded in Madrid, Spain in the 1940s. Hola! focuses more on celebrity life, but in the sense of remarkable beauty and fashionista living. You’ll never see an actor or actress stumbling out of McDonald’s with sweatpants on. This glossy magazine has breathtaking celebrity photos that pairs well with each detailed travel and entertainment story. Say hello to your newest celebrity magazine.
Interior Design Homes: Interior Design Homes is a posh, modern and aesthetically unique publication specializing in displaying glamorous interior furnishings needed in your home. Each finely-made, artisan product is the masterpiece behind a creative, some of which are featured in the magazine. Homes draws from the inspiration of these artists’ products from inception to execution. If you’re content with your living space being run-of-the-mill and altogether common, the uniqueness of this magazine may overwhelm you. Embrace your inner innovative. Read Interior Design Homes.
J-14 Decorate!: J-14. Decorate! is a junior version of In Touch Weekly, mixed with the inspiration and DIY aspect of Pinterest. Vibrant pink and purple colors pop from the pages like fresh spring flowers, and the glossy overview makes this magazine a shelf-grabber. For teens who love home décor, this is the magazine for them. The content is made up of outstanding artwork and design, geared toward creative teenage girls. If your teen is more “in the know” then you are and can make Pinterest-type projects come to life, consider subscribing to this magazine next birthday or Christmas – your teen will thank you for it.
Jarry: Jarry, said with a long ‘e’ sound on the end, is a magazine for men who love men and food. In fact, Jarry was created because the editors believed a gay food magazine needed to exist in society. And they were right. Jarry is a one-of-a-kind, lighthearted magazine praising the creativity, execution and abundance of food in the lives of gay America. The magazine features chefs, Instagram royalty and next-door-neighbor gay men proclaiming their love for food. Recipes for gay gourmet are littered throughout, and new age cocktails glitter like jovial centerpieces. If you’re a proud member of gay America, love food or just like to peruse the pages of a very handsomely done magazine, Jarry will be a thrill of a read for you.
Kazoo: Kazoo magazine is a publication for young girls ages 5-10, specifically created to empower their generation and encourage high self-esteem and confidence that will last a lifetime. Jam-packed with science experiments, puzzles and vibrant cartoons, you and your daughter will anticipate the dive into the next issue, and the next, and then the next. When Kazoo founder and mom, Erin Bried was shopping for a magazine for her five-year-old daughter, who liked outer space and climbing trees but wasn’t much for the frivolous content offered on the stands for that age group, Erin decided to create her own brand of girls’ magazine, one geared toward the younger feminist. Hence, the spunky, artfully creative and very informative Kazoo was born.
Live With Heart and Soul:Strength, durability and passion come together in this quarterly magazine made with Christian women in mind. Enriching stories of travel, food, love and testimony flood this publication and displays its core values – heart and soul. By incorporating scripture with quality storytelling, the Word of God is alive and well in Live With Heart and Soul. Make time for yourself and your relationship with God with this lively publication. Prepare to laugh, cry and be empowered with each flip of the page.
Living the Country Life: Picture a quiet setting with a ranch-style home atop rolling hills, barn animals to tend to and a garden to cultivate. If any of these descriptions fit your idea of living, Living the Country Life is your go-to magazine. Sustainability, comfort and class weave together through vibrant photos and in-depth literature in this magazine. You’ll find how to host a good ol’ tasting party, along with how to upgrade your barn and arrange and display your very own flowers. Grab a glass of lemonade and sit comfortably in your grandmother’s wicker rocking chair for an evening of quality reading with Living the Country Life.
Lonely Planet: Traveling will forever be a bucket-list endeavor, but are you really going somewhere if you don’t see it through the eyes of Lonely Planet? This magazine is the offshoot of Lonely Planet and lonelyplanet.com, the largest travel guidebook publisher in the world. Editor Lauren Finney reassures readers this magazine was created for the way you really want to travel – immersed, informed and relaxed. If you’re traveling abroad for vacation, be sure to browse Lonely Planet’s pages for a captivating preview. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go with Lonely Planet.”
Misadventures: Misadventures magazine began out of frustration. Most of the big outdoors-tailored magazines tended to focus mainly around men. This unique travel and outdoors magazine caters specifically to women who have wondrous, kindred spirits. Traveling and embracing the outdoors are as natural as breathing to the Misadventures staff, and they portray the beauties of the world through breathtaking photos and heart-wrenching portrayals. If you have mud in your blood, can’t stand an office job and yearn for the great outdoors, treat yourself to an indulging evening of discovery and fun in Misadventures.
My Herbs: Health, happiness and herbs is what My Herbs magazine, a quarterly now available in more than 20 countries, is all about. If you’re eager to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and become rooted with nature, this magazine will give you a good start with raw ingredient recipes and natural remedies to common ailments. Herbalist lifestyles have been around for thousands of years, but they were forgotten when the industrial revolution and modern technology involuntarily took hold in our lives. My Herbs is destined to teach you how home growing and home healing can be essential methods of healthier living.
Pallet: Never drink alone…unless you have good beer to justify it. “Thinking and drinking” is the philosophy of Pallet magazine, which encourages the “thinkers and tinkers” of the world to pair craft beer with each exciting page turn of the magazine. Pallet portrays the world of beer in a detailed and creative manner, just like the original inspiration behind the art of micro brewing. Detailed, long form feature articles accompany each quirky photo in this heavy, colorful quarterly. It’s always beer-thirty with Pallet in your hands, so hone your adventurous palate and drink the best artisan beer that’s ever been created.
Permaculture: The food supply on Earth is undoubtedly dwindling, as well as the forests thinning, but one beacon of hope is shining the way for sustainability: Permaculture magazine. Didn’t learn what permaculture is in 8th grade biology? Not many did. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that’s focusing on creative, interconnected solutions based on how nature operates, and it can be incorporated into any lifestyle whether in metropolitan or rural areas. Permaculture moves way beyond gardening techniques into a central essence of the natural human being. This start up just integrated into North America from the U.K. and is packed full of long form articles dedicated to preserving Earth, from farming to water control, Permaculture is a must-read for any sustainability guru.
Providence: It’s no surprise America’s founding fathers built the country and all its inaugural literature on Christian ethics, morals and principles. Fast forward to 2016. Separation of church and state is practiced deep within the folds of our acting government. Providence is the uniting factor, mixing national security and government policy with our true founding principle – Christianity. Providence reads solidly, is written intellectually and is slated in a Protestant and Evangelical tone, denouncing political correctness and emphasizing Christian morale. It’s published by The Institute of Religion & Democracy and The Philos Project, a group dedicated to promoting Christianity in the Middle East.
Southern Cast Iron: A necessity in any southerner’s kitchen is undeniably cast iron skillet ware. Frying, blackening, baking, you name it. It always tastes better coming off of a hot, seasoned cast iron pan, skillet or Dutch oven (especially if it’s been passed down from your great-grandmother). Southern Cast Iron is a magazine dedicated to promoting “recipes, maker and experts using iconic cast iron cookware to create delicious food.” Its art directors worked fervently to produce a jam-packed collection of entrancing baked goods, and a detailed story pairs well with each turn of the page. From beginners to gurus, every cast iron owner needs to snatch this hot commodity. But, be careful. Use your oven mitt.
Spoonful: Spoonful is not your average cookbook, much less your average cookbook-turned-magazine. If Mary Poppins’s advice rings true in “A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down,” then a full dose of Spoonful will diminish all woes, worries and weariness, while replenishing the soul through good food and comp’ny. The thick-bound, durable quarterly specializes in not only food, but also the essence of lionizing artisan cooks and the act of entertaining a hungry group. The simplistic design, coupled with entertaining content and photos are must-sees for any aspiring cooks to fully grasp the inspiring phenomenon’s that are good food and laughter.
SwimSwam: Summertime swimming is a leisure activity for most avid beach, lake and pool goers. But swimming to a select few is the essence of success in life. SwimSwam magazine is a photo-heavy quarterly that projects Olympic greats, college hopefuls and dream swimming destinations with finite clarity and delight. You can find training tips and techniques from coaches and Olympians, as well as year-in-review countdowns for all things swimming news. For a magazine that’s just getting its feet wet, SwimSwam is a stroke of media genius.
Tablet: Warning: this magazine may not be for you. These words are largely displayed in bold typeface next to Editor Alana Newhouse’s letter from the editor, and she’s right. Tablet is a Jewish news, ideas and culture magazine that is forthright in saying the content in between its covers is vastly different from most of America wielding its blinders. Its online counterpart, The Scroll, also features articles from the magazine. The large fold magazine has the feel of opening a freshly printed map, but with the detail and long form writing similar to the Bible. Tablet’s provocative approach to reiterating Jewish history and storytelling is like a breath of fresh air not only for Jews, but also for those who enjoy a laugh and a cry all in the same read.
The Clever Root: Marijuana culture is under much scrutiny in the United States today, but The Clever Root Managing Editor Karen Moneymaker and her comrades are embracing the culture shift and stemming the opposition. This magazine holds both the reader and grower community accountable to value what goes into our bodies and how it’s formulated for consumption. Artisans don’t always come in the persona of traditional means. Marijuana growers are just like local farmers growing cotton and soybeans. Marijuana chefs are just as valuable as those in the local bakery where you snag your coffee and cream cheese bagel each morning. Growing, consuming and advocating for safer cannabis methods is the main concern of The Clever Root, as they strike the match in becoming a recognizable and respected industry.
Tread: There are two ways to live life: On-road or off-road. Tread magazine is a must-have for those who choose to live life like the latter. Whether it’s a tightly controlled Jeep 4×4 or a mountainous utility vehicle with tires the size of steers, your off-road adventure capabilities are endless. Tread fuses a modern day, mechanical viewpoint with that of simplistic lifestyle and spirit from days gone by. Trek the terrain through pages and pages of visually stimulating layouts and content in Tread. Remember, it’s not where you go. It’s how you get there in an off-road vehicle.
Women’s Golf Journal: Golf is a sport of dedication. It requires quality equipment, sound mind and body and the focus of a monk. The sport has seen a shift in male dominance to female triumph. Women golfers are thriving and taking names in golf, but they’re also mothers, daughters, friends and revelators in the workforce. Women’s Golf Journal empowers women to be better athletes, no doubt, but it also empowers them to be better women through self-love and confidence. You’ll find profiles of famous athletes, travel anecdotes, health tips, food and drink recipes and fashion and beauty aids. Home, career and sport life can be hard to balance, but Women’s Golf Journal is impactful and reassuring in helping women remain a tight grip on the iron.
A Mr. Magazine™ Note: The aforementioned list and blurbs could not have been possible without the help of my able and capable staff Angela Rogalski, Anna Grace Usery, and Austin Dean. Thanks a million.